Testimonials

. . . . 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.

Jan Ferrer

Ukraine, Poland, Germany, Cuba

To Calvin! ….for a fun and memorable Balkans monsoon. And this is for everyone Miss you guys already!

Rucha Deshpande

Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania

Hey all! I am back in Athens thank you for taking care of me the past week in health and sickness. For those continuing their travels hope you enjoy the rest of the trip!

Sidian Lan

Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania

. . . Not that you need the ego boost, but per usual good job with the trip. Thanks for bringing us all together to make it happen . . . Like I learned so much – both about the history of the places we visited and myself.
Taylan Stulting

A Year Of Radical Healing

Props to Calvin for pulling another successfully trip off! To those I didn’t get to personally say goodbye, it has been a pleasure to meet and travel w all of y’all I hope to see you guys in the future soon. Enjoy the rest of your travels and have a safe trip home.

Alfred Yeung

Cuba, The Palawan Islands, East Timor-Leste, Luxembourg, Malta, Tunisia, Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania

Thanks for an amazing trip! Let’s all hang out in NY sometime! ❤❤❤

Beverly Tchang

Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania

. . . They even planned a trip to tour Central Asia together. Tan would later reflect that this two-week trip through Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan was the culmination point in which he realized he found his life-long partner. Six months later, Tan proposed to Helen in a quiet tea house in the hills of southern Taipei. . . .

Tan Nguyen & Helen Chou

Central Asia (5 countries)

Sorry for the delayed response. You asked a very simple question but I have a lot to say. Wanted to give you a heartfelt reply cause I’ve been reflecting since the plane ride back to NY: It feels great.

While I was getting ready to board Thursday night at JFK, a huge billboard near the gate read “People don’t take trips. Trips take people.” Sounded pretty catchy and all. After I landed back in JFK yesterday night, the message took a deeper meaning. I’ve traveled before, but for once…I feel like this trip took me. Trips always seemed high maintenance for me. From packing a shit-ton and planning every little thing to being cautious of everything that comes with being in a new and foreign place. Was always busy asking myself, “What could go wrong?” But this time, I found myself asking, “What can go right?”

It felt more effortless and low-maintenance this time. The company was great. And I feel great, most importantly. I realized a lot about myself. A lot I’ve been suppressing or telling myself not to think or feel because it’d upset the opinions and thoughts of everyone else around me. Never stopped to really think for myself and feel for myself; but for my parents, my best friends, my friends, and boyfriend.

Since I didn’t know how to not burn myself on fire to keep others warm..I grew comfortable and accustomed to the idea of the warmth I was giving off and receiving…even if it meant I was doing it in an unhealthy way by sacrificing a part of myself and my own happiness. Felt super nice letting go of all the baggage (literally and figuratively). . . . when everyone wanted to go chill and drink, I wanted to bike so I did just that. . . .

. . . . And I guess that’s what self-love does for you. It allows you to give others so much love without expecting anything in return from others because you are already receiving sufficient love from yourself. You don’t need anyone but yourself. You can want them, but you don’t need them. You can live without them, but you choose not to. You are the one giving love to yourself. . . .

. . . . 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

Happy Birthday, Calvin. The guy who showed me Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Russia, Mongolia, China, Tibet, and NYC.

Happy birthday to this risk-taking, rule-breaking, Peking-duck-loving, break dancing, piggy backing, train-missing (“how was I supposed to know there are 5 train stations in Beijing?”), bag-abandoning, international-NYE-party-making, modern-romancing, Registan-guard-bribing, hookah-loving, vodka-pouring, champagne-popping, yogurt-stealing, inappropriate-joke-making feminist and sex-positive individual with whom I’ve seen two dead bodies (Lenin and Mao!) and shared many beautiful memories and with whom I hope to share many more. You’re the best co-traveler anyone could ever ask for, always bringing up the mood even when things get a little crazy. And you make my travel videos a thousand times more hilarious.

Come visit me in Vanuatu, ‘kay? It’s one of the few countries you’ve yet to see.

Melissa W.

Central Asia (5 countries)

I left the country for the first time ever spring break. As people know, West Point doesn’t have many opportunities to have big travel plans, but thanks to Calvin D. Sun I was able to work (through the magic he taught me) a trip overseas for the first time in my life! Thank you so much Calvin! . . . . You all have been so kind and generous to me and I owe you all next time you’re in NYC!

I was able to travel to Madrid, Ibiza, Tangiers, Meknes, Casa Blanca, and Rabat! In total for traveling expenses I spent less than $500! I am so lucky to have people like you in my life and have the experience of a new culture as well! And on top of that: I made friends with a world famous Egyptian Opera Singer!! My spring break is going down in the books as the best one yet! I love you guys!

Michael Volpe

Morocco

Made it back! Thanks again for everything. It was an amazing time.

Samin Rai

Luxembourg, Malta, Tunisia

I had a lot of fun on this trip. Thanks brotha.

Koichi Sakamaki

Luxembourg, Malta, Tunisia

Thank you for these weekend trips. And for showing me they are possible.

Mihaela Kracun

Luxembourg

7 days: 3 countries, 6 cities, 9 new friends, countless photos/souvenirs and bravo to The Monsoon Diaries for an experience of a lifetime!

Steph Hart

Luxembourg, Malta, Tunisia

I quickly realised that spending another 3-4 years in school researching trans necropolitics (I pick uplifting research topics, I know), only to (hopefully) enter academia afterwards, would be detrimental not only to me personally but also my research. I needed space from academics and research and school in order to engage in radical healing, finding a way to truly love myself so that I could thrive and come back to my research with fresh eyes, a clear mind and a rejuvenated soul…
 
…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…
 
…After trying out about five different rough itineraries to get a ballpark figure for how much this would cost, getting advice from Calvin (the founder of The Monsoon Diaries and our fearless leader on the Trans-Siberian/Mongolian trip) and running numerous different possibilities of budgeting and funding options, I discovered that this impossible dream might actually be possible. But the only way to find out is to try. And, as Calvin reminded me, if I run out of money, that’ll just be part of the experience…
 
…I’m attempting to pursue radical healing through a slightly unconventional method. I’m going to try to carve out a little more space in the world for my community by merely existing in spaces and engaging in activities that aren’t designed with trans people in mind. And I’m ready to set out on the adventure of a lifetime…
 
So stay tuned over the upcoming months as I blog about the planning process and get ready to kick off my journey in August with The Monsoon Diaries in the Balkans.
Taylan Stulting

A Year Of Radical Healing

Today as I was watching a movie and they talking about the Cape of Good Hope and I got goose bumps knowing that I was there. This feeling has happened many time to me since I have been traveling with Monsoon Diaries and YOU. I also saw Table Top Mountain and Denmark in recent movies among others. It’s so amazing to have this personal point of reference when I read and see places that I have been. It’s especially MAGNIFICENT when I get to share my pictures, videos and experiences with my students. I use my experience to encourage them to think about the world as more them their three block radius. Without Monsoon and You I don’t think I would have broaden my horizons when it comes to traveling.

AGAIN A BILLION THANKS and continue to do this important work. Now I’m thinking about my first solo trip and I SOOOOOOOO excited. Can’t wait for the BALKINS! YOU’RE A SPECIAL PERSON!

Michelle Duncan

The Baltic Crescent (7 countries), Southern Africa (11 countries)

When I first looked into spending three weeks with The Monsoon Diaries backpacking through Russia, Mongolia, China and Tibet, I couldn’t be more excited at the possibility. But I was also terrified. It’s not like those are places that are known for being LGBT-friendly but rather the exact opposite. I mean who doesn’t remember the controversy from the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi? I kept questioning whether or not the experience would be worth the fear, discomfort and risk.

Let me go ahead and say it was absolutely worth it. . . .

I found that, for me, merging my trans identity with travel can be a radical act of self-love by saying “fuck you” to the system that is designed to hold us down and doing something for me simply because I deserve it even though we live in a world that teaches trans people that we aren’t worthy. Traveling while trans has taught me that I am worthy and has inspired me to take on the world as an out trans person, carving out a space for my existence to be seen and validated. . . . (more)

Taylan Stulting

The Trans-Mongolian, Tibet

Even as a second-time monsooner, Calvin’s trips still continue to push me past boundaries that I didn’t even know I had! I thought this one to Tibet would not be so hard since I had done pretty well in La Paz, Bolivia during Calvin’s previous trip to South America. I met up with the group after spending a few days in Beijing. We had missed our train to Xi’an but Calvin was already prepared to book flights for the next morning — Calvin’s fostering of comrades/camraderie is very unique to his trips and refused to leave anyone behind.

The trip to Tibet was intense; between the altitude sickness, brutal cold winds in Shigatse, and constant scaling up monasteries, I was ready to fly home by the last day. Despite all of this, the experience allowed me to show a lot of compassion towards myself; during my trip, I was convinced I had to figure out a lot of things on my own since most of the people in the group felt very comfortable with each other. The people I met on this trip were very supportive and luckily, Calvin created flexible itineraries in case we wanted to rest a bit more than the others.

The people you meet in the Tibetan cities had a welcoming curiosity about people who were not from Tibet. Even if you could not speak Mandarin, a smile and a wave of your hand was worth more than any RMB you could offer to the “Future Buddhas” in Tibet. Even if I was not fluent in Mandarin, I was grateful for Calvin encouraging me to use what I remembered in the Bazaars in Lhasa. That was a big step for me, in terms of guiding other members of the group on how they should approach bargaining with locals. It’s been 6+ years since I’ve used Mandarin but it was one of the best moments of the trip for me.

Also, most people think Calvin’s trips are not complete without a hookah session; however, the real truth of it is that his trips are not complete until you have delved into the deepest parts of yourself during the group conversations and realizing you are already more than you thought you were (from the beginning of the trip).

It was quite the adventure, all thanks to Calvin and The Monsoon Diaries.

Thanks again for everything! Can’t wait till the next adventure!

Shanika Jayakody

Tibet

I just want to say that despite all my jabs, Calvin is one of the best people to travel with. I feel our personalities mesh really well in the stress and joy that travel situations can bring, and even if I am in a crappy mood or tired or feeling snippy, he balances it out with shared frustration or humor and lightness. This is one of those moments

Melissa Weinmann

The Silk Road, The Trans-Mongolian, Tibet

Nope, not crying. I’m just allergic to clean air after Ulaanbaatar and Beijing: You’re Gonna Miss…The Trans-Mongolian & Tibet.

Taylan Stulting

The Trans-Mongolian, Tibet

A quick weekend get away to Sofia and Plovdiv Bulgaria, just in time to take a breather from America! Thanks The Monsoon Diaries for planning another great trip!

Sarah Parise

Southern Africa (7 countries), Bulgaria

Made it back to JFK, again, thanks again Calvin for another awesome and memorable trip!

Ambrose Chu

Southern Africa (7 countries)

No matter how many times I say it, I can’t say enough how much fun I had traveling with you guys. You guys are amazing people! I miss you all a bunch. Hope you guys enjoy the rest of the trip. Stay safe and have fun! Watch out for those holes!

Aaron Lam

Southern Africa (7 countries)

Hnnngggg…Having major withdrawals while editing the photos . . . UGHUGHUGHGUGHG, I’M HAVING SO MUCH [WITHDRAWAL] RELIVING THROUGH YOUR POST. I’ll go to you for all my travel questions, and you answer them like a coach. I loved traveling with you and you take care of me since I’m a newbie!

Brenda Duong

Ireland

I want to thank you so much for planning and helping so much with this trip. I had a great time and plan on going on another trip with The Monsoon Diaries . . . again, thanks for helping to rekindle my vagabond spirit.

 

Nahid B.

Southern Africa

This past weekend, I embarked on another insane weekend trip abroad – this time to BULGARIA! In a day and a half, we backpacked through Sophia and Plovidv with The Monsoon Diaries!

Brenda Duong

Ireland, Bulgaria

It’s been amazing! Great food, making new friends, and truly inspiring Gaudi architecture. Proud to be a Monsooner.

David Ali

Andorra

Just wanted to personally thank you again for setting up the trip to Africa. I’ve always wanted to go back and you made it happen. As always, grateful to travel with you bro!

Kelvin Sage

Southern Africa (7 countries)

On my way home :). This was a once in a life time trip! Thank you to The Monsoon Diaries for planning an amazing African adventure.

Sarah Parise

Southern Africa (7 countries)

Hey man, just wanted to thank you again for your talk last ECAASU! I have taken your words to heart and am going to Madrid and back packing around Europe for spring break! My flight through Skyscanner was only $380!! Thank you again for all of the help and motivational talking because i was at a time in my life where I really needed it . . . You helped me out so much with everything just by that talk!

Michael Volpe

Western Europe

Thanks for reaching out! Everyone we interacted with spoke highly of you! Aaron did indeed do a great job leading us! It definitely went by like a whirlwind. Unfortunately I’m the only one not in the medical field but I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say we appreciate you making yourself available. Till the next adventure!
Jesse Lee

Southern Africa

I just want to thank all of you for one of the most memorable traveling experiences of my life! This trip has really been an experience of a lifetime and I’m already looking forward to the next monsoon I can join you guys on. Everything that has happened on this trip, both good and bad, has really opened my eyes to how much this world really has to offer. I wish we were with the group a little bit more during the second week but there will most definitely be more monsoons and future visits to New York to visit you guys!

Calvin, I seriously can’t thank you enough for giving me such an incredible first traveling experience! I’m already looking forward to seeing you guys again. Until next time friends – Cheers!

MIchael Massey

Southern Africa (7 countries)

I just wanted to reach out and say thank you so much for planning out such an awesome trip! [Our guide and friend] Aaron really did an amazing job and we were sure to give him the nicest bed at all the hostels as a minor thank you.

I also wanted to let you know that I appreciate you booking everything. This was one of the best experiences of my life, and without a doubt the best travel experience! I definitely plan on going on more trips and will keep an eye out for The Monsoon Diaries.

Maxim Maron

Southern Africa

I can’t believe it’s the last day of an amazing journey with these goof balls (and of course everyone else who isn’t pictured). Tonight we say our goodbyes as they fly home tomorrow while I board a 40 hour train back to Beijing where I’ll then spend 2 more days exploring and hiking the Great Wall. Thanks for an amazing 3 weeks. ❤️

Taylan Stulting

The Trans-Mongolian, Tibet

Big thank you to Young Pioneer Tours Central Asia and The Monsoon Diaries/Calvin D. Sun for an unforgettable adventure through Uzbekistan and amazing new friends.

Yvonne Liu

Uzbekistan

Safely back home! Thanks guys for the great trip! Let me know if any of you happen to pass by Singapore and we can have a drink  Continue to rock for the rest of the trip!

Johnson

Uzbekistan

We’re more than blessed to have such a memorable journey with a fun, crazy bunch of travelers that you all are! Hope you enjoy the rest of your trip and keep us updated & KEEP IN TOUCH! Miss you all!!!!!

Patricia Tsai

Uzbekistan

Thank you for being in this trip. Hope I can see you again soon!

Helen Chou

Central Asia (5 countries)

I’ve completed my full-length video from my Silk Road/Central Asia trip that I completed with the Monsoon Diaries back in January, and after editing it for several months, it’s brought me some bittersweet memories. . . .

. . . Just reading about a person and reading the way they type their thoughts is so different than the real thing. A cackling laugh, a familiar musky cologne, or the movement in the way a friend fake-grimaces at your awful joke is just so powerful to the human connection. It can’t be replaced. . . .

. . . It’s interesting to see how, as I grew comfortable with the strangers-to-become-friends, the footage becomes goofier and less inhibited, and better expresses the true emotion and feel of the trip. The first clips in Tashkent are of strangers on the first day, the last clips in Almaty are of international family. . . .

. . . So take a deep breath, sit back, and enjoy the 4-country, 14-day journey of the Silk Road 2016 in one digestible video. This video isn’t a replacement for the panoramic views of the Hissar Fort, the unique smells of a street bazaar, and the touch of Tajik silk. But it’s as close as you may get.

Melissa W.

Central Asia (5 countries)

. . . The group met back up to head to a hookah bar (a trip with Calvin is not complete without some hookah) which had a balcony overlooking the city. We sat enjoying the view, chatting about life and all things social justice related (one of the many reasons why I loved traveling with the Monsoon Diaries the first time and decided to come back), and I some how managed to not get a photo.

That seemed to be a theme for the day compared to a lot of my recent trips. I was focused on just enjoying the moment instead of capturing every single moment which was a nice change of pace. Don’t get me wrong, I still took photos, it just wasn’t as obsessively as I tend to be.

Taylan Stulting

Scotland

Holy shit! That about sums it up….just wanted to spell it out on behalf of me and Joyce: awesome job. Calvin for being the cool big bro I’ve always wanted.

Traveling may be a hobby but what you two do is truly a public service. Keep it up (gig) and hope to see you around NY.

Joshua Zhang

The Baltic States (3 countries)

Echoing the same sentiments as everyone else here. Thank you so much for such a fun week. I’m super glad to have met all of you and let’s definitely hang out / keep in touch!

Christina Ren

The Baltic Crescent (7 countries)

I’m home I’m safe I’m happy I’m sick like a dog but I had a BLAST. Thanks Monsoon [Diaries] for taking me out my comfort zone.

Michelle Duncan

The Baltic Crescent (7 countries)

“It was great meeting all of you guys. Thanks for the wonderful memories. Expecting a lot of great pics during the week.

Eric Huynh

The Baltic Crescent (7 countries)

Went on my second trip with the Monsoon Diaries (first being the Route 66 Road Trip) to Scandinavia and came back with so many awesome memories and friendships that will undoubtedly last a lifetime. This was a part of Europe that I may not have otherwise visited and I’m glad I got to experience the culture, food, and sights of these amazing countries.

Definitely looking forward to future trips with The Monsoon Diaries!

Kelvin Sage

Route 66, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland

Everything went well! Taylan was freaking awesome. Waiting for their next trip / monsoon!!

Rupa Patel

Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania

Thank you both so much for organizing the Scandinavia trip! I really appreciate all of your hard work and effort…Enjoy the rest of your trip and again, thank you! Katy

Katy Budge

The Baltic Crescent (7 countries)

Thanks for everything during this insane, hilarious, awesome and memorable trip.

Ambrose Chu

Scandinavia (4 countries)

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

It was great to meet everyone, thank you so much for making this trip incredible! Of course, biggest thanks to Calvin for putting this together and making it all possible! Keep in touch everyone and see you in NYC soon for a reunion!

Joyce Zhang

The Baltic Crescent (7 countries)

Calvin, just wanted to say thank you so much for another amazing trip. I just read your latest post, it’s beautiful.

I’m thankful to be part of these experiences with you and really appreciate all that you do. Mad love bro.

Alice Tsui

Route 66, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus

I had a lot of fun. Definitely a memorable trip. Taylan is fantastic and awww… so responsible and detail oriented!

Carol Wong

Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania

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

Cuba

My feet are tired, my stomach is satisfied, my mind is joyful, my soul is captivated and my heart is heavy as I bid farewell to this incredible journey that, for me, has been about giving myself room to breath and second chances. The places I’ve seen, people I’ve met and conversations I’ve had over the past 3 weeks and 9,000+ miles will forever be ingrained in my memory.

I’m not yet ready to go back to the familiar, but rather yearning to continue exploring the world, learning about others and growing as a person all while living out of a backpack. But alas, the term beckons so until the next adventure I bid you adieu.

Taylan Stulting

The Trans-Mongolian, Tibet

Omg its only been a day back home and I already have withdrawal. Miss you guys!

Cindy Cui

Venezuela & The Guyanas (5 countries)

It was a wonderful experience! Thank you so much!

William Lau

Route 66 (7 States)

We should do another one sometime. 🙂

Vishnu Vinekar

Route 66 (7 states)

It’s been one hell of an adventure. From Chicago to San Francisco, wouldn’t have it any other way.

Brandon Garcia

Route 66 (7 states)

My Route 66 Family of Road Warriors It’s been real and unreal.

Alice Tsui

Route 66 (7 States)

This was really out of my comfort zone. Which I needed!

Michelle Duncan

Route 66 (7 states)

For the first few days since coming back from SE Asia, I was suffering from a case of the post-vacation blues.  I probably wasn’t ready to leave sunny SE Asia and return to the drudgery of my day-to-day ‘real’ life.  But what I’ve come to believe is that a big reason why the trip was so fantastic was because everyday I was hanging with fantastic people like you.  I am reminded that there are also fantastic people in my ‘real’ life, and they too are making my life great.  Now, I am past my post-vacation blues, and things are generally swell.  I have great memories from the trip, and I hope I can remember this trip’s lesson of surrounding myself with fantastic people in the real world.

It has been a true privilege to meet and travel with you all, and I hope to see you again in any part of the world.

Tan Nguyen

The Palawan, Indonesia, East Timor-Leste

Happy Thanksgiving ! Aside from the usually family, friends, health and wealth thanks, I’m also thankful to YPT and The Monsoon Diaries for helping me discover the world and decide to become a “nomad expat” 3 Thanksgivings ago!

The time has really flown by and even though it’s not always as awesome as IG implies, the journey has been unforgettable… but my memory sucks so I’m thankful that I have all of you to remind me

Dave Zhou

15 countries

Flawless weekend…yes, I said flawless…don’t let that get to your head.

Jennifer Li

The Palawan, Indonesia, East Timor-Leste

Thanks again for the opportunity to travel with you all…it was such a wonderful experience.

James Stephens

The Palawan, Indonesia, East Timor-Leste

Thanks for the trip. I’ve meet some incredible people and had some unforgettable experiences during our travels.

Anthony Lui

The Palawan, Indonesia, East Timor-Leste

Live life like a movie for 10 days, then snap back to reality!

Adison Song

The Palawan, Indonesia, East Timor-Leste

Thanks for a good time Monsoon Diaries 🙂

Lilliane Ng

The Palawan, Indonesia, East Timor-Leste

It’s been an amazing journey together over the last two weeks…Homebound after an amazing trip.

Alfred Yeung

The Palawan, Indonesia, East Timor-Leste

13 cool kids + 1 army jeep in East Timor…can’t get crazier than this! [And, Baucau]: one of the best nights hands down.

Tim Chen

The Palawan, Indonesia, East Timor-Leste

Thanks for letting me monsoon with you, Calvin! I definitely had a great experience seeing Southeast Asia with you. . . . Hope the rest of your trip is going well, and maybe we’ll be able to monsoon again in the future.

Kevin Zhao

The Palawan, Indonesia, East Timor-Leste

thank you Calvin D. Sun! life changed forever in the winter of 2012! Thank you to you and all of the Ukraine/Poland monsooners for inspiring me to NEVER stop . What a wonderful group of people to start my world adventures with ❤.

Maria Villa

Ukraine, Poland, Germany

Made it out of Cuba [and] had an incredible time! Refreshing to be disconnected from all the distractions, phone, email, social media; I appreciated things so much more. I spoke to so many locals gained a lot of perspective; Cubans are beautiful people.

Cuba is misunderstood by America; safest I have ever felt on any vacation this far. And shout out to my new lifetime friends Christine and Sam — my roomies my girls. . . . Lol the experience was incredible, and humbling, got to see the Cuban clinic! Plus I have no voice but had an epic time. Oh and that didn’t stop me from walking and marching in the Labor Day parade. My home stay mom gave me a wooden cane…!

Leslie Cabrera

Cuba

When I first looked into spending three weeks with The Monsoon Diaries backpacking through Russia, Mongolia, China and Tibet, I couldn’t be more excited at the possibility. But I was also terrified. It’s not like those are places that are known for being LGBT-friendly but rather the exact opposite. I mean who doesn’t remember the controversy from the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi? I kept questioning whether or not the experience would be worth the fear, discomfort and risk.

Let me go ahead and say it was absolutely worth it. . . .

I found that, for me, merging my trans identity with travel can be a radical act of self-love by saying “fuck you” to the system that is designed to hold us down and doing something for me simply because I deserve it even though we live in a world that teaches trans people that we aren’t worthy. Traveling while trans has taught me that I am worthy and has inspired me to take on the world as an out trans person, carving out a space for my existence to be seen and validated. . . . (more)

Taylan Stulting

The Trans-Mongolian, Tibet

I had no idea what to expect in Cuba and after spending just a week there, I already want to be back. So many misconceptions dispelled and lessons learnt by awesome tour guides who had an answer for every stupid/ ignorant question I had. I was never a fan of traveling with a tour group but this was a lovely experience. It was nice meeting all you guys!

Nicholas Chong

Cuba

Such a beautiful country with so much history… too many pictures from one of my best trips ever… Here is my best batch from the DSLR… More pictures coming.

Edmund Fong

Cuba

Easily one of the best and most forbidden trips I have ever been on. Being without Internet and phone was a struggle at first, but the disconnect quickly gave way to an amazing appreciation of the local people and culture as well as the formation of everlasting bonds of friendship.

Steve Su

Cuba

Just got back from vacationing in Cuba. This one is going down in the record books. What an incredible experience and I couldn’t have asked for better people to share it with. I encourage everyone to experience it for themselves!

Joy Achounjei

Cuba

Hey! Just wanted to say thanks for letting me discover the Palawan trip. It was an awesome trip and I had a great time!

Also, I don’t know if I ever mentioned it, but thanks for giving your talk on traveling at MAASU a couple years ago. It definitely sparked the wanderlust in me, and also played a role in my decision to take a semester off and come to Singapore. I know we only talked for a couple minutes, but I think it’s fair to say that it’s made a big impact on me.

So thanks again, and hopefully I’ll be able to join you on [another] trip sometime!

Varun Munjeti

The Palawan

It’s the most epic trip I’ve ever taken. . . . Special thanks to The Monsoon Diaries and Young Pioneer Tours for making this the trip of a lifetime!

Tabitha Shook

Antarctica

This was such an amazing trip and I’m so glad that we had a perfect mix of new friends that came together that made it so fun and memorable. Definitely surreal and felt like a dream with TONS of photos and videos.

Simon Lu

Antarctica, Patagonia

Have safely returned from the most remote place on earth with Young Pioneer Tours and the Monsoon Diaries — feeling great.

Alex Hardy

Antarctica

Antarctica is met stip binnen gekomen als de indrukwekkendste ervaring tot nu toe.

Esther Wisse

Antarctica

Thanks to everyone part of the Monsoon Diaries/YPT Antarctica trip for making the experience even more memorable and fun. Keep striving!

Grace An

Antarctica

My trip was amazing. What an incredible end to the year with an expedition to Antarctica and a floating party. Can’t imagine a more perfect mix of friends to experience Antarctica with.

Scott Frazier

Antarctica

Unforgettable trip to the white desert!

Joreen Tay

Antarctica

We had wonderful days in Antarctica with lovely and stinky penguins. – Arti

Ice and penguins and more ice and snow and glaciers and a perfect honeymoon. – Dennis

Arti B. & Dennis Facebq

Antarctica

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

It was a blast! Thank you for sharing your time and thoughts, along with your hand warmers and beers. It’s been a serious pleasure getting to know all of you and I’m humbled by all of your experiences and stories. . . .And finally, Calvin, thank you thank you thank you for leading by example. I’m sure our paths will cross many times again.

Carolyn Hou

Ukraine, Poland, Germany

Alana and I always say that Ukraine was the best, most well rounded, trip.

Ruchika Sangani

Ukraine, Poland, Germany

I just wanted to say what a pleasure it was to travel with you all. It was a trip in every sense of the word, and I am so glad to have had the opportunity to share the unique experience with such a diverse group. I hope that our paths cross again whether it be a visit to each others’ home cities or serendipitously abroad. If you are ever in the Southern California area, please don’t hesitate to shoot me an email or give me a ring.

Lastly, here is a quote that I wanted to recite over a toast at our last dinner in Krakow (thanks again, Calvin!) since I thought it fit our adventure well, but I did not want to butcher it: “The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G. K. Chesterton

Jan Ferrer

Ukraine, Poland, Germany, Cuba

I had a great time with you mate – would love to travel with you again, so if not this time (although feeling good about this time), keep me updated as I’m sure I can hop onto your next trip.

Alistair Morgan

Iceland

Calvin, thanks for the experience I am gonna convince more Columbia Kappas to go do a Monsoon Diaries adventure!

Tracy Thai

Iceland

Dude, get your 7 hours [of sleep] tonight. You need it, LOL! I had fun. Hopefully I’ll be seeing you real soon!

Andrea Trillo

Iceland

I must admit you are quite committed. I am impressed. Will definitely travel again. Thanks for everything (our fearless leader)!

. . . . Had an incredible time with these guys. If you love to travel definitely check out monsoondiaries.com . . . Amazing time. Great peoples to travel with. Go check it out.

Danny Tran

Iceland

Had an awesome time in Iceland, thanks so much for organizing everything. I will definitely stay tuned for future Monsoon adventures!

Freema Vinnikov

Iceland

Had a blast in Iceland!

Bill Zhang

Iceland

It has been a great privilege to travel with the Monsoon Diaries.  They live, breathe, and thrive by “taking the road less traveled”.  In other words, they travel without maximal comfort, and with ever-fluid and constantly tinkered itineraries.  If we can take that leap of faith away from the “resort” experience, what we experience with the Monsoon Diaries is invaluable: the chance to witness wildly beautiful landscapes, to make human connections with our global neighbors, and to learn exactly what we ourselves are made of.  It is absolutely worth not having constant 3G network, or even having a flush toilet.

. . . Calvin Sun is the heart and soul of the Monsoon Diaries.  All these trips are possible only with his vision and enthusiasm, and the strength of his personality draws together all sorts of people who share that willingness to see what’s out there.  “Taking the road less traveled” is never easy, but with Calvin, it’ll never be lonely or boring. . . .

Tan Nguyen

The Palawan, Indonesia, East Timor-Leste

Thank you for planning an amazing trip to Central America – it was an awesome experience! . . . I look forward to traveling with you again, perhaps when you go back to India!

Bill Zou

Central America (4 countries)

Traveling to Iran with Calvin and the Monsooners was such an amazing, insightful adventure. I met friends and explored places that I’ll remember for a lifetime.

Jade Shyu

Iran

Thanks for the great trip as well. Tell everyone it was great meeting them!

Sam Wong

La Hispaniola (2 countries)

[Since my first trip with The Monsoon Diaries], I’ve been to more places in the last year than I have been in my entire life. And in another seven days, I will board a plane for my fourth Monsoon in the last year, this time to Eastern Europe, as a third-time veteran of The Monsoon Diaries’ family. . . .

Cynthia Koo

Guatemala, Austria, Iran, Switzerland, Ukraine, Poland, Germany

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.

MIchael Massey

Southern Africa (7 countries)

Words really don’t teach but it was you being an example that help me realize it; I knew you would be an amazing doctor and traveler.

. . . . I really don’t know how you do it as a world traveler and a Med student at Columbia, but now I know for sure there is no excuse and anything is possible if you have the passion and the love and it is thanks to you.

Anonymous

Austria, Iran, Switzerland, Germany

You are all around one of the most inspiring individuals I’ve had the opportunity to meet. Thanks again for such a great trip.

Maria Funes

Guatemala & Belize

[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

Thanks for doing all the planning, teaching us all the survival tips and being a fun and reliable leader for all of us. I got a lot out of this trip.

Seulbee Lee

Spain, Morocco, Portugal, Gibraltar

We all have our different travel styles and you’ve developed a culture that’s awesome. Having said that, I would totally still go for another monsoon trip, given the chance.

Nicholas Chong

Cuba

Thanks for doing all the planning, teaching us all the survival tips and being a fun and reliable leader for all of us. I got a lot out of this trip.

Jane Yee

Spain, Morocco, Portugal, Gibraltar

You toughened us up man.

Calvin Lin

Spain, Morocco, Portugal, Gibraltar