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Calvin: calvin[at]monsoondiaries[dot]com


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Before you send that e-mail…




What are the expenses?


We try to make all our trips anywhere from a weekend to 4 weeks in length for about 20% of the actual cost, all-inclusive of accommodations, food, visas, transportation, and border crossings no matter how many countries we visit, but exclusive of international flights. We also have an option that if you refer a handful of friends to join with you on the trip, we can make the trip almost (or completely) free for you.


Finally, discounts are always offered to return and repeat travelers and loyal monsooners.


Therefore, in other words you are in full control to decide how much you want to pay — if you do nothing then our trips can be at the very least one of the best deals you can get in travel, or you can travel for free if you’re willing to put in a little more effort (as easy as bringing your friends along!).




Will you meet up with me when you’re in or near my country?


Yes, if you’re in the area and not a creep, we’d love to meet up with you! Just let us know where you are, what’s your schedule, and we’ll take of the rest.




You do a bit of group travel, but can I travel alone on these trips?






What is unique about your group travel?


The fact that we’ve never been to these places either: Our sense of curiosity and wanderlust are matched by your own. Therefore you’re signing up for our trips because you don’t want to be led around like cattle but rather you want to join other young travelers on a shared adventure together.

That being said, our travel style is not for everyone. Although we do our best to accommodate everyone’s preferences, we will not hold your hand. We believe that travel is meant to challenge your very idea of who you are, and we provide that in a brave space where you will be taken outside your comfort zones often and leave you with the feeling that whatever you went on, it was real.

Another way to perceive our style of travel is ask what would you do if you were traveling alone, and then give you the option of being in the company of other like-minded travelers. While during the trip we may come up with loose itineraries for people who are bad at making up their minds, we still leave a lot of free time  for everyone to do their own thing. In addition, we also give a lot of room for spontaneous, last minute changes to the itinerary. Therefore, you’ll feel like you’re traveling alone, but you also just so happen to have the convenience of knowing some cool people in the area (that’ll be us: your fellow monsooners, and other friends we meet and bring along the way) in case you want someone to take your photo or to share a drink over the cool thing that you just saw. You get the best of both worlds.

You can take it to the next level as we’ll leave it up to you anytime whether you want to physically leave the group and do your own thing. Want to split off and create your own adventure? We allow that. Want to make a detour to a different city and meet up with us later? Done that too. In that scenario, our job for you is to do all the work nobody else wants to do: take care of all the necessary planning including transportation, visas, border crossings and accommodations, and that we all come back home safe and sound.

So although it looks like we lead big groups, you have 100% control of your trip, you have access to a good group of people if you’re feeling sociable, and you can do your own thing, anytime. Why not have the best of both worlds?

If you want a first-world vacation where you pay thousands of dollars to do nothing in a resort and stay in a bubble without letting any magic happen to you, this is not it. If you want the chance at real magic that usually accompanies the challenges and spontaneity inherent in hardcore, raw, unplanned, in-your-face travel, then that’s us.




What are your groups like?


One of our mottos is “group travel for people who hate group travel.” These trips are always led and mostly attended by independent backpackers, who started off traveling alone and continue to appreciate the independence of solo travel. It’s just every now and then, we also enjoy being in good company of other backpackers who also have been around the world and understand a thing or two about travel.


What if I never traveled before/as much?


Those of us with more experience backpacking love to share our experiences with, and pass the baton onto the newly minted travelers who may have the right attitude and curiosity towards travel, but aren’t quite there yet.


A majority of our repeat travelers (aka “monsooners”) would count one of our trips as one of their firsts. Many still return years later to our trips — even now as seasoned, independent backpackers — as they may miss the company and nostalgia of their first monsoon trip (and I don’t blame them!).


Either way, we always get a good group together, and we rarely, if ever, disappoint.




Aren’t you a little scared of traveling to somewhere you’ve never been to before?


The 100+ other monsooners who’ve been around the world with me to Iran, North Korea, Antarctica, Kashmir, Cuba, Chernobyl, Pakistan, and many other countries were probably scared before they made the leap. But they did take the leap and now they can look back and say “I just added another unforgettable chapter to my life.”


I’ll admit, I definitely was scared 2 years ago when I found myself on my first trip alone at night in a random train station in Cairo. But fear is sometimes part of the travel experience. Fear of the unknown is simply curiosity without adequate preparation. You’ll find that once you’ve read the resources on this site, that fear will turn into a healthy sense of wonder (with a sensible dose of caution).


I’m going to echo one of co-monsooner’s previous entries: “the way you do one thing in life is the way you do everything.”, or in even plainer terms per the late Steve Jobs, “stay foolish.”


Let’s entertain the possibility that you’ll skip out on a trip. When we get back from that trip and share our unique experiences with you through videos, photos, or stories, you’ll inevitably wish you had been there. Whether it’s in that moment, or when you have your first child, in your midlife crisis, or on your deathbed, you could end up regretting that you missed out on this epic once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.


Don’t let that happen! Starting slowly never works. Nobody ever learned how to ride a bike by reading about it. You have to get on the damn thing! So for those of you who want to travel, travel, and do it now while you’re young and your body can take the hits that occasionally come along the road.


Imagine how easy traveling will seem to you after you come with us on a trip. The confidence you’ll gain in yourself alone would be worth it – not even counting all of the priceless memories that are yours for the taking. This could be the moment where you turn your life around and do something epic.


“Momentum comes from pushing, not from planning. Confidence comes from scars and risk, not from indecision.”


“Those that continue to experiment are rewarded with more experience. Those that think ‘I’m fine where I am” never do– their world stops growing, and they don’t truly understand why.’”


Feeling inspired? Act on that inspiration right now. If you feel that bit of awakening stirring within you is the real deal, then drop your sh-t and travel with us. It’s the only way to know what you’re made of.