Meet The Anti-Buddies! Preparing For Domestic Travel in the Era of COVID-19

by | Jul 29, 2020 | Introductions | 0 comments


“…and I shambled after as I’ve been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars…” 

— Jack Kerouac, On The Road


I am grateful to know I live in a world where if I need a group to travel responsibly with me in the middle of a pandemic — especially in a self-sufficient RV that can be cut off from the outside world and any potential for COVID-19 infection — I can still find a ride-or-die crew.

When 9 exceptional, socially responsible, team-playing and healthy monsooners – 5 of whom have traveled with me before – jump on for an experience for which a majority would have otherwise gotten cold feet, I’d find that it would be a bigger risk now to not risk anything at all.

Travel might not be for everyone these days, but if we can plan for a trip that is ethical and sustainable in a self-sufficient RV that can be cut off from the outside world, filled with proven COVID-19 negative individuals (read on) and without making any impact on our communities at large (especially for those of us who waited out travel for over half a year just for an opportunity like this), this is how we may better recharge before whatever the next crisis befalls us.

. . . And I’m especially grateful to those returning with me for their 2nd, 3rd, or 9th monsoon:


Here are the main safety precautions our group has taken for this trip:


  • Can I trust you?

    The majority of the group have already traveled with me AND each other in the past, whether in international conflict zones or with nearly impossible itineraries. This familiarity of having been through difficult travel circumstances already establishes a critical mass of trust and a culture of safety. I already know how most of them handle pressure and we’ve minimized any possibility of unforeseen personality differences.


  • Is everyone healthy?

    Everyone has been medically screened and regularly checked in on for a month prior to the trip.


  • Can everyone prove they’re healthy?

    Everyone has provided proof of having tested negative for an active COVID-19 infection within 10 days prior joining trip and/or has self-quarantined since.


  • Can I trust your lifestyle and habits?

    I know the majority of the group personally and their COVID-19 exposure for at least the past 3 months and we ensured none of us has done anything out of the ordinary between having tested negative and the start of the trip (eg. going to a nightclub).


  • “Is there a doctor in the house?”

    Nearly half of the group are medical and have had clinical experience with taking care COVID-19 patients without having gotten sick, and knows what the disease looks like up close and personal.


  • Have we had formal training?

    Everyone has been either trained or reminded at orientation to know how COVID-19 spreads, how and when to appropriately wear face coverings, how to ensure high quality hygienic practices, verbally de-escalate or walk away from situations, tell who might have symptoms, and adapt appropriate PPE to each particular circumstance (outdoor vs. indoor, etc.).


  • Have we minimized all controllable variables?

    We’re all coming from low prevalence areas such as NYC, drive in a self-sufficient RV, only traveling to low-risk outdoor areas, avoiding indoor public spaces, large gatherings and hotspots, and we can easily seal ourselves from the outside world if necessary,


  • Do we have backup plans?

    Contingency plans (location of hospitals in each location, immediate isolation precautions, how groups will be separated) have been planned ahead.


  • Is there informed consent?

    We’re going in with the expectation that even with all our preparation, the concepts of “travel” and “the future” still remain unpredictable. And yet we also know that those who can survive anything aren’t the strongest or the wisest, but the most adaptable. Everyone here has therefore self-selected themselves just to be among other like-minded individuals who are willing to work together and be flexible under any circumstance. We all know what we’re getting ourselves into, what we signed up for, and therefore have mentally prepared ourselves to be in the best possible position to handle anything that comes our way.


Once again, I introduce the next generation of monsooners:


Calvin "O Captain My Captain" Sun - Expedition Leader | NYC | Clinical Professor & Emergency Medicine Physician


Raubern “Director of the Moving Image" Totanes - Videographer, Previous Monsooner: Dec. '19 (Egypt), Mar. '18 (Sweden & Budapest) | NYC | Consultant // IT Technician, Citadel


Brandon "The Only Voting Democrat In South Dakota" B. - Return Monsooner: Aug. '19 (Tanzania), Nov. '18 (Armenia) | Ipswich, South Dakota | University of North Dakota


Sina "Charge" May - NYC | Orthopedics PACU Nurse, Hospital of Special Surgery


Evie "The Artist" Joy - NYC | Singer-Songwriter & Comedian


Sampson "Apalca" Lau - Returning Monsooner: Winter '17 (Australia) | Mountain View, CA | Engineer


Karen A. - Santa Clarita, CA | Hematology/Oncology & Telemetry Nurse, LAC+USC Medical Center







Mihaela "ROFLOLMAO" K. - Lieutenant, Driver, & Senior Monsooner: Dec. '19 (Egypt), Nov. '18 (Armenia), June '18 (The Persian Gulf), Oct. '17 (Slovenia), Aug. '17 (The Balkans), May '17 (Luxembourg), Mar. '17 (Scotland), Jan. '17 (Mongolia & Tibet) | NYC | Cytologist, Memorial Sloan Kettering


Brynn "The Savvy Rogue" C. - Driver | Portland, Maine | ICU Nurse


Daniel "Jesse Wallace" Reesman - Returning Monsooner: Jan. '19 (Prague & Budapest) | Madison, Wisconsin


Noeleen "Drive-by Shooting" T. - Videographer, Driver | NYC | SUNY Binghamton | Video Editor/Cinematographer


Charlie "The New Favorite" - NYC | Cockapoo



And where we’re actually monsooning through this August:






Badlands National Park


Grand Teton National Park


Yellowstone National Park


North Cascades National Park


Olympic National Park


Cannon Beach


Glass Beach


San Francisco


Los Angeles (If COVID-19 rates are reasonable)


Mount Rushmore


Glacier National Park


Devil's Tower


Lake Coeur d'Alene




Ruby Beach


Humboldt Redwoods National Park, Avenue of the Giants


Bodega Bay


Big Sur


San Diego (If COVID-19 rates are reasonable)


The California Zephyr (Amtrak)


Want to meet us along the way? More details about the trip can be found here.



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