The Monsoon Diaries

Changing the way we travel: no time, no money, no excuses!

Our Next Trips!

Azerbaijan, Armenia, Japan, Nauru, Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Tasmania!

You Are Not Alone: Join The Monsoon!

Meet The People Who Have Traveled With Us!

Read The Blog

We blog LIVE, everyday while on the move, whether it’s from Antarctica or North Korea!

Where Have We Been?

40+ trips: 160+ Countries in 7 years, without skipping work or school!

Featured Trip: North Korea (Aug. 2011)

Vice did their take, here’s ours.

Featured Trip: Antarctica (Dec. 2013)

Perhaps our most remote expedition yet!

The Monsoon Diaries

Changing the way we travel: no time, no money, no excuses

Our Mission

“Better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times.”

We’re your everyday students and young professionals who ignore the “Yeah, but…” excuse, kick the bucket list, and jet-set around the world without taking time off. In the past 7 years, we’ve taken hundreds of our readers (aka “monsooners”) to over 150 countries on our monsoon trips without skipping class, quitting work, missing shifts, or breaking the budget. For those of you who’ve heard it before — “I don’t have time or money” — we find ways around all of it and make it work: We monsoon.

Unlike other travel sites where we just write about how to travel without having much time or money, we’ll also take you there ourselves — join the hundreds of other monsooners on our unique style of international travel where we bring the solo backpacking experience to a group — or in other words — “group travel for people who hate group travel.”

So take a leap of faith and live your best life today. Let the trade winds catch your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. Monsoon.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Until Our Next Adventure!









Aug. 25-31, 2018


Nov. 11-18, 2018


Sept. 1-18, 2018


Dec. 28, 2018 – Jan 16, 2019

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Where We’ve Been

Meet Some of Our Travelers:

When I was traveling with The Monsoon Diaries, I experienced the world like I never had before. The feeling from the adrenaline rush from constantly being on the move, seeing the boundless beauty that exists in the world, and building meaningful friendships with people who were once strangers was incomparable. I was challenged intellectually, culturally, emotionally, and politically. I learned how much there is to see and experience in the world, and how much I appreciate my youth for giving me the energy and flexibility to go see it. I got a small taste of what that clear mind and rejuvenated soul feels like…
. . . I want to take a second to thank this guy for being such an important person in my life. Calvin, you have become one of my best friends over this past year and easily my favorite travel buddy. From when we first met in Russia last New Year’s Eve to these past few weeks in Australia and New Zealand, I’m so glad I’ve gotten to experience so much of the world with you. You never fail to challenge me and remind me the importance of self-love and embracing all the opportunities that life presents because life is short and there’s way too much to do and see in this world. I would never have embarked on this journey around the world if you never came into my life and helped me find the confidence to just do it if for no other reason than I deserve it. I am constantly grateful for your friendship, support, and guidance. Whenever and whenever our next travel adventure takes us, I know it will be epic.

Taylan Stulting

The Trans-Mongolian, Tibet, Scotland, The Balkans, Australia, New Zealand

It really has been an incredible experience and like I said before, I don’t even see how you are human. You do so much and still find time to give people like me, experiences of a lifetime like this. So, as much as I can’t thank you enough, thank you, thank you, thank you!! Haha it’s been the craziest, most awesome experience of my entire life so I appreciate everything.

Mikey Massey

Southern Africa (11 Countries)

[Remembering] this, after only a few days of home life, brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for a life changing experience. The highs and lows of the last two weeks are the reason why it would be the best two weeks of my life.

Melissa Le

Spain, Morocco, Portugal, Gibraltar

I will miss you folks. Thank you so much for your kindness and making me immediately feel like a part of the framily. I hope we keep in touch and wish you all safe and wonderful continued travels. Looking forward to sharing photos and more.

The thanks are to you [Calvin] for all you have and continue to do with leading us.

Nadi Kaonga

Finland, Malawi, South Africa, Namibia

I’m so glad I didn’t shy away from this. I’m so glad I didn’t say no to you and this trip. I’m grateful for the nudge. And I’m grateful for you, and everyone else that opened my eyes and made my vision a little clearer. I’m most grateful for myself because I feel like I just took 100 leaps forward from all the steps I’ve been taking back. There’s a liberation that comes with loving yourself, and I got to taste and feel a tiny, tiny part of it from this trip this past weekend. All of this self-realization and self-confrontation was step 1. . . . Thanks for giving me the chance to see the part of myself I tried to not see for a long time.

Ann Wen

Luxembourg, Australia, New Zealand

I wanted to thank everyone for sharing this experience with me. Calvin reminded me the night of Ruchika’s birthday that NO ONE, not even my future husband, will ever understand or have shared the moments I shared with you all — my first trip outside of the U.S.A. and discovering myself through backpacking.

I’m so blessed to have met each and every one of you. I made a comment to some of you that it’s amazing how 17 different personalities managed to get along; there was not one person on this trip that I did not enjoy spending time with.

Continue to travel the world, get to know yourselves even more, and thank you for sharing your stories with me and allowing me to share parts of myself with you too. You ladies and gents are beautiful people!

Maria Villa

Ukraine, Poland, Germany

. . . Although the vigorous tempo seems intrinsic to [my friend] Tiger, he attributed this style of travel to his friend Calvin, who had inspired the itinerary for his trip…“Buffet style,” he drew the picture: just a quick sampling of places because, as Calvin reasons, you can always go back after you see what you’re drawn to. Calvin had already taken groups to Iran and North Korea, Tiger informed us. He was planning to do Cuba over Thanksgiving weekend. And he scheduled all of this on breaks from med school. Even as I was undertaking my own adventures, I remember feeling envious of such an intrepid and enterprising spirit.

. . . Perhaps the most remarkable consideration concerning Calvin’s compelling argument to travel is that there is no compelling argument from Calvin. He does not push unwilling souls to take the plunge. Instead he inspires by example, moving along his (loosely) planned route on his own accord and, much like the force of nature for which his travel approach is named, leaves you to (re)act as you see fit.

[Calvin,] you have created something really special – it is likely that I never would have seen Poland/Ukraine/Cuba had your vision not been the impetus to booking those trips, not to mention the invaluable friendships that form from sharing such a wonderfully intense period of time together. Case in point, all the different configurations of reunions you guys have had in the month since Cuba, Maria extending her family’s hospitality, etc… yep, truly something special.

Jan Ferrer

Ukraine, Poland, Germany, Cuba

I grew up as a second generation Asian American in Michigan and had never traveled outside of Michigan much, nonetheless the U.S. I didn’t have too much of a desire to until I became a young professional entering a new stage of my life. I had just started a full-time job and was itching to see what more life had to offer. Calvin and I had met during my undergrad years and I saw a Facebook status that the Monsoon Diaries was going on a weekend trip to Ireland. I thought to myself, “A weekend trip… Ideal because I don’t miss work, I get to see the world, and hell, why not.” So he helped me find a plane ticket, answered all of my anxiety questions in a realistic manner, gave me useful travel trips, and took my travel abroad virginity. Although we only spent literally 24 hours in Ireland (10 a.m. to 10 a.m. the next day) because of the flight time, I had one of the BEST/top journeys of my life.

If you’ve never traveled before and you’re scared – it’s okay. The only person stopping you is you. Traveling with the Monsoon Diaries is affordable, flexible, and fun. There are a variety of trips you can choose, all ranging in activities, locations, and duration of the trip. The friends I’ve made from my two trips (Ireland and Bulgaria) are respectable and I still keep in contact with them. If you’re looking for a pack, but still want to wander off – Monsoon Diaries is great with this too. Through Monsoon Diaries I’ve learned the experience of travel is incomparable. Grab your camera, passport and go!

Brenda Duong

Ireland, Bulgaria

My trip was coming off the back end of yacht week in Croatia (craziness) – I was exhausted and over traveling in general, but the energy of the group, the diversity of the personalities and the sheer enthusiasm everyone had for this adventure was contagious! Was this a vacation? No. It was a trip, a balls to the wall, minimal sleep, overnight buses and ferries, hostel bunk beds, walking and walking and walking and exploring trip.

And it was AMAZING! Late night karaoke (I was momentarily famous and that is something I will never forget and a tale for another time) dance offs, getting lost, arguing with racist bus drivers, laughing until crying, piggy back rides, deep late night conversations, and early morning goofy ones, coffee coffee coffee, and just seeing so much in such a short time. I felt that the people on the trip are some of the best, most genuinely curious of the world we live in, and most appreciative humans I have ever met. I get all the feels, the warm and fuzzies in my chest, when I think of the memories made. Everyone wants to travel, see the world, its the “in” thing to do now… oh how I roll my eyes when people ask how many countries I’ve been to. It’s not where you’ve been it’s how, and with whom. It’s the human connections we make in this world and not the continents we stand on.

If you want both… monsoon all the way.

Shannon Murphy

The Baltic Crescent

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