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

I’ve traveled with The Monsoon Diaries to 21 countries in the past year and every time is an amazing experience. I’m always challenged to grow as a person and the people I’ve met through these trips have become some of my best friends. If it wasn’t for Calvin and my fellow monsooners, I wouldn’t have taken the leap to spend the past six months of my life backpacking around the world which proved to be one of the best decisions of my life. I will always be grateful for this incredible community and I cannot wait for the next trip, whenever and wherever it may be.

Taylan Stulting

Australia & NZ

I found this travel blog after putting “Iran visa US passport” in the Google search bar, and clicked the “Images” tab back in 2013 (yes, I’m serious). After exchanging emails with the writer/Emergency room doctor/bartender/social justice advocate, Calvin, I visited New York and actually met him to see what kind of person he is. He seemed to be a really cool guy who knows a lot of people. After a chat over some hookah and a stroll, here’s what happened since meeting him:

  • Traveled to the Nordic Countries of Europe with 20+ people… within 1 week. Major highlights included venturing in Vaxholm and finding hope in Helsinki. It was an insane, hilarious, awesome and memorable trip. 
  • Explored and partied through Cambodia and Vietnam with 3 really funny and cool people, on a trip organized by him and led by his friend, Dave (who I met in Copenhagen)… within 1 week. It was another insane, hilarious, awesome and memorable trip. 
  • Wrote 2 posts on his blog about my travel experiences in Europe and Asia. 
  • Moved to New York City. 
  • Did a whirlwind visit of South Africa, Victoria Falls, and Northern Botswana with 10+ people, played a (very minor) role in a serendipitous moment in Cape Town, and made some new friends. This was all within 1 week. 
  • Went to Edinburgh with 3 people, climbed 3 giant hills with amazing views… just for a weekend.

Thinking back, I never thought these events would happen, but some of the most important lessons I learned are to keep venturing out of your comfort zone and it’s really possible to travel with a very limited number of vacation days.

I still use the blog as a supplemental tool to figure out my itineraries for more solo trips, and it was very helpful, whether the destination is from Austin to Amsterdam, New York to New Delhi, or Seoul to Singapore. From those trips, I learned so much more about myself.

The Monsoon Diaries may just be a blog when you first discover it, but once you meet the writer, travel with him for at least a few days outside your home in a different country with a different culture, and return home, it’s so much more than that. You also become part of a broader circle of connections, and some of those connections could become your friends that might help you in some ways. You don’t just learn about how to travel, you might learn about yourself. You might lose a lot of money in the process, but from what I experienced, these memories and experiences I gained are worth so much more than money.

Yeah, that’s worth a 5-Star rating.

Thanks Calvin.

Ambrose Chu

Scandinavia (4 countries), Southern Africa (7 countries), Scotland, Extreme SE Asia

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

So this review is long overdue. I met Calvin as a resident in the ER in the Bronx. He actually helped me book a flight for a trip that was completely unrelated to his- and that’s how I found out about The Monsoon Diaries.

My trip with him was coming off the back end of yacht week in Croatia (craziness)- I was exhausted and over alcohol and 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 busses 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

When you make good memories that you know you gonna still remember 30 years later, you know you are on the right path 🙂 The best part of life is to live in the moment and live it to the fullest (in whichever sense it makes to you):

This unpredictable trip to Europe is coming to an end soon.. this whole trip has been full of amazing moments, bonding with great great people. It wouldn’t have been that intense if I didn’t meet them.. I felt connected with so many people during this trip. It started with a memorable weekend in Frankfurt, to a unique night in Berlin and continued to Prague – which was amazingly lovely and such joy kept spreading from the trip to Budapest, Slovakia and Austria.

First time I went to a country that I was pretty much clueless about, other than the name (Slovakia).. and it has been rich in experience, Vienna was ‘super geil (German for “awesome/hot”)’ with Calvin and his super amazing friend [Daniela] who has been a super amazing host with her incredibly good vibes.. I always love to meet people like this- they make me smile to the moon 🙂

I feel I can write a whole book about this trip.. but I think reading Calvin‘s blog give a perfect view of the adventures . . check out his recent post on http://monsoondiaries.com/…/the-brat-pack-reaches-bratisla…/ and if you feel he makes you travel with his post, feel free to read about all his other crazy adventures and who knows, you can join him on the next one 🙂

*This trip started with a talk over lunch with Calvin, and yhen a photo from my amazing colleagues in Frankfurt.. and I hit the airport within a few hours — love this spontaneous kind of living — everyday is a surprise 🙂

Keseena Chengadu

Central Europe

I want to take a brief moment to write about my recent spring vacation to Cuba. I only had a week, and couldn’t lose days flying over multiple time zones, so Europe and Asia were out, and it had to be Central America or the Caribbean (South America flight times too long.) So I chose the Caribbean, and I wanted to choose an island to which I have never been, and “off the beaten path.” I spoke to my good friend from college Dr. Calvin Sun of The Monsoon Diaries and he suggested Cuba. And he put me in touch with his colleague Alistair Riddell of Young Pioneer Tours, who does Cuban tours.

And that was that–I arranged for my own airline ticket, and they took care of lodging, activities, guides, etc–the only thing I was responsible for on my own while down there was my food (except for breakfast–breakfast is included) and of course drinks and cigars. This saved me a lot of $$. Previously when I had been booking vacations, I would simply go on Priceline and book a package including flight & hotel so as to simplify it as much as possible. Or go on there for the flight, and AirBnB for the lodging. But I saved a lot of $$ going through Monsoon/YPT as they provided me prime locations WITH English speaking tour guides every day of my trip (in fact Alistair, the head of Cuban YPT, did 3/4 days of my Cuban tours in Havana–and it was great 1×1 tours–and he knows a lot about and is passionate about Havana and Cuba in general). In Varadero, the beach resort town, the accommodations were not the greatest, but ~5 minutes walk from the beach so I didn’t care–I was not traveling with some girl I had to impress. And I very much enjoyed Varadero–some of the most beautiful crystal-clear blue waters and fine sands I have seen not only of any beaches in the Caribbean, but the world–and trust me, I’ve been some places.

So that’s it–you book your ticket–and they take care of the rest, and you will not only save $$, but you will get yourself the cultural immersion you will just not get if you go to one of these places blind not knowing what to do. So I recommend them wholeheartedly, and in fact maybe joining Cal for his September Japan trip and End of the World trip at year’s end. If you need any further info please feel free to ask me, or reach out to Cal directly via his website below or for Young Pioneer Tours, visit their website.

Piyush Shah

Cuba

Thank you again for a wonderful experience. I’m at the gate waiting to board the plane. May God continue to bless you and strengthen you as you make people’s dreams and exploration a reality! 🙂 It was a blast . . .  I had a great time and met some decent people.

Maria Laidlaw

Central Europe

When you’re back to reality and suffering from PTD (post travel depression), so you’re looking through your pictures reminiscing… at 12 AM. I feel so blessed and grateful of the beautiful moments I got to experience during the last 3 weeks. I met and made friends with so many wonderful people on this journey.

I never got to experience the dorm life in college but our trip in Australia gave me a little taste of it and it was great. I’m so thankful I got to share these moments with you all and I will cherish them for the rest of my life.

Laura Bodden

Australia & New Zealand

Traveling to Bratislava, Vienna and Budapest was one of my craziest adventure. Thanks a million Cal for convincing me . It was an incredible rich experience. Looking forward to a next travel with the Monsooners 

Keseena Chengadu

Central Europe

Goodbye all 👌 thanks for an amazing 3 weeks together. Y’all fam. Can’t wait for our reunion soon. Hit me up whenever you’re in New York ❤❤

Ann Wen

Australia & New Zealand

Safe travels. It’s been real ✌🏼. Thanks again for putting this together and bringing us on the trip of a lifetime 🌎. Will miss you all, my family of strangers 👨‍👩‍👧👨‍👩‍👧‍👦👨‍👨‍👧👩‍👩‍👧‍👧👨‍👩‍👧‍👦👩‍👩‍👧‍👦👨‍👩‍👦‍👦👩‍👩‍👧‍👧❤❤❤❤❤.

Mary Lin

Australia & New Zealand

. . . 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

Signed up for a 9 day adventure with a group of 7 strangers, trusting the entire itinerary with someone I met for 5 minutes, 5 years ago.  Everything about that is the complete opposite of the obsessively detailed and neurotically organized person that I usually am. I did things that I never thought I would have the courage to do, such as jumping out of a plane and free falling for 60 seconds.  With stunning panoramas around every corner, I often had trouble believing that this could be reality.  Thank you Monsoon Diaries for bringing us all together and inspiring me to challenge myself.  Will remember these Monsoon Memories with nostalgia.

Rachel Xu

Australia & New Zealand

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’m sitting in the airport lowkey crying because I’m missing everyone already and looking back on these three weeks is giving me the feels. So bare with me as I get sappy for a sec.

I’ve been traveling for 5.5 months now, and I’ve had some truly incredible experiences but I don’t think any of them standout as much as this group of people that started out as strangers but quickly became family (I think it was the mafia and ridding each other off that really solidified our bonding). I learned so much from each of you, and a lot about myself as a result of the connections we created and experiences we had. So thank you all for being part of this experience with me and helping me wrap up my travels with a bang.

Taylan Stulting

Australia & NZ

I became quickly inspired by Calvin when he came and spoke to me at ECAASU a year ago. So much so that I followed his advice and traveled out of the country for the first time ever! Being an impecunious college student, I didn’t have much money so I followed Calvin’s advice and used all of his tips and did my own trip to Madrid, Ibiza, Fez, and Marrakech!

If you have any desire to travel, learn, or explore I 100% recommend joining the monsooners and doing something new!

Michael Volpe

Morocco

Calvin and fellow Monsooners are some of the best people I’ve ever met! Hope to travel a lot more in the future because of him. If you’re hesitating to join, there’s no need to! Just make the leap.

Nick Sellers

Moldova & Tranistria

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

Went on the Central Asia trip 2 winters ago and it was amazing. Brilliant organization, great tour guides, and awesome food. Never would’ve gone otherwise, but um forever grateful that I did. The price was on point too. Looking forward to tackling some other infrequently travelled to place next!

Remi Coker

Central Asia (5 countries)

Went on a trip to Bulgaria with Calvin. Had a great time. He made traveling simple and fun. Met wonderful people in our group as well. Highly recommend traveling with Monsoon Diaries.

Permveer Longia

Bulgaria

My monsooning started with an aggressive road trip down the historic Route 66 in 3 RVs from Chicago to California, connected with those old songs and movies about Route 66, learned lots of history, made many new friends, had new adventures, listened to all these travel stories from our fellow travelers, got into trouble, got out of trouble, and in general, made memories that last a lifetime. I highly recommend going on a trip with the Monsoon Diaries, if you haven’t already!

Vishnu Vinekar

Route 66 (7 states)

I became quickly inspired by Calvin when he came and spoke to me at ECAASU a year ago. So much so that I followed his advice and traveled out of the country for the first time ever! Being an impecunious college student, I didn have much money so I followed Calvin’s advice and used all of his tips and did my own trip to Madrid, Ibiza, Fez, and Marrakech! If you have any desire to travel, learn, or explore I 100% recommend joining the monsooners and doing something new!

Michael Volpe

Western Europe

Took on the Uzbekistan trip with The Monsoon Diaries and turned to be one of the best traveling experiences I’ve had. Not only did we explore a country I’ve never imagined visiting, I also got to experience it with an amazing fun bunch of likeminded travelers all brought together by Calvin. Until next time!!

Patricia Tsai

Uzbekistan

I’m from Singapore and I went to Uzbekistan with The Monsoon Diaries. During the trip, I met an amazing bunch of people that made that trip fun! I could not imagine travelling to this country if it was by myself. It was an experience that I would not regret having. Furthermore, meeting Calvin is a great joy. I really appreciate him playing host during the subsequent visit to New York City!

Johnson Lim

Central Asia (5 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)

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

Travel and explore! The Monsoon Diaries will be able to make that possible for you. Just bring yourself and priceless memories will be created. You will meet like-minded individuals and create long lasting friendships.

I went to Cuba w/ Calvin and it was one the most memorable trips I have had. We explored, crossed barriers, chilled, laughed, and danced. Chilling on the wall with locals, partied in underground cave, scuba dived. Nothing else would have been comparable. Great people, amazing experiences. Do it!

Andy Tran

Cuba

The Monsoon Diaries is not your average tour group. Yes, they will take you to cool places not often visited (for me, it was the Palawan Islands in the Philippines, Timor-Leste, and nearly all of Central Asia). Yes, Calvin is very cool and relatable. And yes, the people who go are also very cool. But in hindsight, what really set the Monsoon Diaries apart was their opportunity to let me see who I was as a person. There is an itinerary to each trip, and that the itinerary always includes ample Individual time.

Don’t know how to entertain yourself without your 4G smart phone in a foreign country whose language you don’t understand? This is the time to find out. Both of my trips enabled me to experience and to begin to understand a new part of our word, both on my terms and with a group of people in search of something as well (sometimes that something was just the next beer, but hey, that’s okay too!).

Tan Nguyen

The Palawan, Indonesia, East Timor-Leste

Today as I was watching a movie and they talking about the Cape of Good Hope and I got goosebumps 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

Through Calvin and the Monsoon Diaries, my travel bug has definitely crept out! What started as an unforgettable cross country trip down Route 66 led to exploring the amazing countries of Scandinavia and then a once in a lifetime venture to 11 countries in Africa!

One of the coolest parts of Calvin’s trips is that you’ll discover places you’d never thought you’d be, and meet some dope friends along the way. Every trip with Monsoon will push you out of your comfort zone and into a new adventure. Backpacking has never been this awesome!

Kelvin Sage

Southern Africa (7 countries)

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)

An experience of a lifetime that will change your perspective! Because of Calvin, I have visited places that I never thought I would ever go to. He has a knack for gathering people from all types of backgrounds to travel together and turns out to be an awesome time. If you are looking to travel but don’t know where or if you want to go out of your comfort zone but don’t know who to travel with, this is the answer.

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

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 had no idea what “backpacking” meant before I joined the Calvin & the Monsoon Diaries family. Boy was I in for a rollercoaster ride! My first ever trip outside of the USA was to Ukraine, Poland, & Germany with Calvin and 17 beautiful souls that I’d never met before. My life changed forever in the winter of 2012 because of this trip! I was so inspired by everyone I was surrounded by on that trip, that I still to this very day carry their stories and their wisdom with me on every single travel journey I’ve had after. I travel with so much ‘backpacker knowledge’ now because of this trip with the Monsoon Diaries – I learned that there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t travel. I think this is how everyone should start their traveling story: by first traveling with Calvin & the Monsoon Diaries because after that, you’re set for life on how to maneuver the roads of the world!

I’m so blessed to have met each and every one of you. Until we meet again my fellow globetrotters!

Maria Villa

Ukraine, Poland, Germany

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)

I’ve been on Monsoon Diaries trips to Venezuela, the Guyanas, and The Balkans and have thoroughly enjoyed my experiences. Highlights for me were pushing a motorized canoe upriver into the heart of the fantastical world of the Amazonian tepuis to see Angel Falls, and getting to eat bush meat that one of our guides dove into a river to catch (aquatic capybara-like rodent). In the Balkans, Sarajevo stood out, great food, and so much history. We stood atop the Yellow Fortress and took in a sunset as the evening call to prayer rose up to heaven from below us along with the smoke from many cevapi grills. Later on, we got a tour from a survivor of the Yugoslav Wars who showed us the frontlines in the Siege of Sarajevo from the very same spot. It was far and away the most poignant and powerful moment I’ve experienced on any trip.

Calvin is a meticulous planner, which means all you need to do is show up. The trips are intense, with a heavy dose of walking tours and sightseeing most of the major landmarks within a given stop. This is mixed in with plenty of carousing with your fellow travelers, going out to bars and clubs after a long day of sightseeing. This isn’t for you if you’re the kind of person who likes a more relaxed pace. But if you’re willing to push yourself, you’ll see a lot more of the world and challenge yourself to be a more independent traveler than you probably imagined you could be (hint: this is kinda Calvin’s mission). The value can’t be beat. On top of the places you’ll go, you’ll no doubt start lifelong friendships with your fellow travelers, having shared in a unique experience together (Balkans crew, I still can’t hear you after that outing to that dance club inside the walls of Dubrovnik haha).

Lei Zhao

Extreme South American, The Balkans

Thanks for letting me discover the Palawan trip. It was an awesome trip and I had a fantastic time!

There’s plenty of reasons why anyone should travel, but I think what sets trips like these apart are the people you go with. I really believe you’ll learn and grow as an individual from the others on the trip, in many ways that complement the trip itself!

Also, 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 school and go to Singapore, and then study abroad in Hong Kong. I know we only talked for a couple minutes during then, 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

Calvin and the Monsoon Diaries team craft comprehensive, relevant, and budget-friendly experiences. And the people you meet on the trips are amazing!

Joyce Zhang

The Baltic Crescent (7 countries)

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

Rupa Patel

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

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

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

I first met Calvin through working together on the ECAASU board. Through my friends, I also heard about the epic adventures of Monsoon Diaries (on a budget!) and when the Route 66 road trip across American opportunity came up, I had to take it. With two of my fellow teachers and a truly diverse group of travelers, RV-ing across America was an amazing experience filled with new sights, laughter, and bonding in a way I never knew was possible. That trip changed my life and forced me to consider new thoughts, feelings, and perspectives.

A couple months afterwards, I traveled with Monsoon Diaries to Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus with over 20+ people (with 1/3 being some of my closest friends I convinced to take this whirlwind trip with me). Taking in local cultures and foods, having instagrammable photo shoots, and learning to live life in the moment was unforgettable. I often reminisce these trips I took and I am truly grateful for Calvin for not only organizing these trips but continuing to bring together people from around the world to create new experiences for those who may need it the most. And for those of you who may be in doubt, just do it.

Alice Tsui

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

. . . 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

I traveled on my first Monsoon trip a few years back to Scandinavia with a friend and it was truly an unforgettable experience. The trip was very well organized and really pushes you out of your comfort zone. Calvin went out of his way to make sure everyone was comfortable and a part of the group. It was a great time meeting and traveling with a group of new people, some of whom I still keep in touch with today. I would definitely highly recommend doing a Monsoon trip especially to anyone new to traveling or traveling alone.

Eric Huynh

The Baltic Crescent (7 countries)

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

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’ve been on two trips so far, South East Asia and Balkans, and I thoroughly enjoyed my experiences with The Monsoon Diaries. It is the type of trip where it will test your limits and come out with a story to tell, whether it’s emotional, physical, or spiritual. These are not trips where you stay at resorts catered to an American sensibility, but these are well planned out trips that take in account the history and geography of the place. If you plan to join one of these trips to fulfill your need for adventure, party with a bunch of cool people, go to different clubs and bars, yes, probably you’ll get that, but you’ll also get to know these places with intimacy where its history (both the wretched and marvelous) gets intertwined with your experience.

The countries that we went to were places that I never thought I’d set foot on. A few fond moments were: chancing upon a bioluminescent filled body of water while swimming in Bacau on a starlit/moonlit night. Hitchhiking through Kosovo after taking a dip in a cold ass spring by Radavc cave. Trying to find god in a monastery on the side of a cliff. Almost being stranded on an island in Palawan when a typhoon came and cancelled our flights. (That was moreso an adventure for and a testament to Calvin’s wizardry with bookings while I was chilling on a beach by a giant bonfire)

In addition to getting you feet wet with travel, you’ll also meet random ass strangers that have a similar sense of adventure. By the end of the trip, it will be uncanny that you once thought of these close friends as strangers.

Also food…so good. Everywhere

Anthony Lui

The Palawan, Indonesia, East Timor-Leste

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

As yet another trip with The Monsoon Diaries comes to a close and my own travels start to wind down (I’m going to be back in the states in a week…), 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 favourite 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.

But for now, I can’t wait to jump out of a plane with you and 3 other Monsooners as our final act in New Zealand.

Taylan Stulting

Australia & New Zealand

With Calvin leading the pack, I went on a trip with Monsoon Diaries a few years ago (Palawan in Philippines) and had a fantastic time with a sizeable but close-knit group of travellers. The itinerary was carefully planned but not set up in a systematic way that made it feel too “tour group”-ish. Other than shimmery blue oceans and sandy beaches, the fact that I was with such fun and engaging people made me appreciate the trip even more. (I’m still pen pals with one of the travellers I met from this trip! Hi Tan 👋🏼)

Calvin is also great at making sure everyone is comfortable and having a good time. I highly recommend Monsoon if you are too lazy to plan your own trip and want to meet like-minded travellers that you don’t have to actively seek out!

Lilliane Ng

The Palawan, Indonesia, East Timor-Leste

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

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

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. By chance was able to join up and tour Southeast Asia with Calvin; looking forward to future trips!

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

Monsoon Diaries is an awesome way to travel! I had the fortune of traveling alongside Taylan and another Monsooner late last year. Unforgettable experience! Would highly recommend.

Rupa Patel

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

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

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

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 met Calvin on a random ED shift, and on a spontaneous decision decided to join him and a group going to Iceland. One of the biggest benefit of traveling in a larger group is the ability to split and minimize costs. We rented a large converted all terrain van and went sightseeing in places that no one went to. We also rented our own cars and drove around Iceland. I still look back at some of my fondest memories from that trip. If you’re thinking about taking a trip with the Monsooners, just do it, you’ll thank yourself that you did.

Bill Zhang

Iceland

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