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“…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

 

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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:

 

 

 

Chicago

 

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

 

Seattle

 

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.