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










Despite considering myself a decently travelled solo traveller to a number of off the beaten track destinations, having met Calvin in a chance encounter in Sydney i originally signed up with him to his recently organised trip to Armenia for the specific reasons that 1) it was very cost effective, compared to solo travel in that country 2) the itinerary and approach to travel appeared to be well aligned with my own, in that it was hard and fast, adventurous and hitting all thesights whilst still keeping flexibility to change plans, and 3) overall he seemed like a pretty decent guy.

What I encountered surpassed these expectations. On top of delivering on the above, I encountered a trip with like minded individuals sharing what was to prove a remarkable experience in a remarkable country. For many a traveller who prefers solo travel, there are times when you would prefer to give the sometimes rigorous amounts of organisation a break, whilst avoiding the cookie cutter approach of a tour or sometimes having to acquiesce to an itinerary planned out by friends that might not match your preferences. That is where for me Calvin’s approach really excels. We saw all of the key sights of the country, pushed the boundaries in our venture to the disputed region of Nagorno Karabakh, in an informal, flexible setting, and all the while making some personal friends whom I will no doubt retain for a long time.










Nishant Anandan

Armenia

First Time In the Caribbean: Could not have had a better experience thanks to Monsoon Diaries. Highly recommend!!!! Thank you so much for the beautiful experience.


Tanzia Islam

Antigua & Barbuda

A few weeks ago I was standing in a kitchen in Prague with Calvin, Ravi and Aia, talking about attending Ali’s wedding in Islamabad. Still can’t believe we actually went, all thanks to Ali and his family’s amazing hospitality! Shout out to @monsoondiaries for the planning and logistics.



Evan Danek

North Pakistan

Thanks for the trip Calvin, it was a blasty blast.


Victoria Lu

Antigua & Barbuda



Thank you for putting together this trip. Also thank you for showing me the city that means so much to you. I see why it’s your favorite.



Donna Vo

Prague & Budapest



It was one of the best experiences of my life. Very good organization.. The company was amazing…!! Many thanks Calvin D. Sun, for the perfect trip, best company…many greetings to all from Greece, we are waiting all of you in Greece the summer!!! Hope to see you soon ..!!! ❤️



Aggeliki Mavromoustakaki

Prague



Thank you again so much for inviting me to join I had so much fun and everyone was lovely 💕 … I will also bring you a French gift in February when I come over to NY 🙂



Elisabeth Koechlin

Budapest



Just landed in NY – I wanted to say this trip was an amazing experience, and I miss y’all a lot already. Special shout out to Calvin and Ann for working hard to create and execute on an amazing itinerary, and I really value the interactions I had with each and every one of you. Keep in touch, and can’t wait to see you soon!



Ravi Panse

Prague & Budapest



Also 🧀🧀 time- thanks Calvin for showing us around somewhere as important to your life and as close to your heart as Budapest! Thanks Ann for all the planning! And thanks everyone for making this trip what it became!!



Evan Danek

Prague & Budapest



I highly recommend traveling with The Monsoon Diaries. I enjoyed every moment of my first monsoon with Calvin. He and Ann did a great job planning the whole thing so that we could experience all the must dos and sees within a span of only 4 or 5 days. You’ll come home full of stories to tell and wishing you were back. Prague + Budapest was my first monsoon but definitely not my last



Katy Xian

Prague & Budapest



Yeah honestly man, none of this would’ve been the possible without you. Past couple days definitely had a pretty big impact. Looking forward to the next adventure.



Ravi Panse

Prague & Budapest



Thank you Calvin! Thanks for all your hard work organizing this trip. Much appreciation for you! 10个星的领导!哈哈



Li Li Bian

Prague



Hey we just landed in Athens! We had a lot of fun hanging out with you guys. Thanks for having us. Enjoy Budapest!!



Sidian Lan

Prague



Thank you Ann for convincing Calvin to do this trip and for making plans and letting me tag along. Thank you Calvin for organizing the trip and creating a packed itinerary. Also it was a great pleasure and honor hanging out with everyone and I hope that we will meet again soon-ish. 😃 See y’all next time!



Donna Vo

Prague & Budapest









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 . . . was a ~5 minutes walk from the beach. 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.







PD Shah

Cuba










. . . 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)










Happy Thans-Kiev-ing!!! while i’m in a serious vacay withdrawal, can’t help but share this with y’all, to memorize the first time to HAVE FIRE ON MY HEAD and feel once again grateful to spend 9 days with these four amazing humans: Calvin D. Sun, Nishant Anandan, Faniel Yang, and Mihaela Kristmas!










Sheryl Zhang

Armenia










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










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










Thank you so much to everyone that donated and made my trip to Haiti possible. I’m still processing all that I saw and experienced, but the trip was incredible, and I can honestly say that we made a difference.

 

We learned from the staff of Hospital Bernard Mevs and we shared with them our knowledge and experience as well. We worked on patients with spinal injuries, gunshot wounds, electrocutions, and congenital illnesses. We treated babies that were so malnourished, they required intensive care. We gave our blood, sweat and tears, and will be sure to return one day and do it all again.

 

Thank you again to Calvin D. Sun for organizing the trip, to the staff of Bernard Mevs . . . thank you so much.










Zach Leopold

Project Medishare, Haiti










You were the best part of the trip for me . . . you were the person i felt i could open up to the most, and you told me the truth even when it wasn’t something that i liked so thank you for that . . . Thank you for planning and having me on this crazy wonderful trip, i enjoyed myself and with your support (whether or not you were there in person). I got out of my comfort zone and [will] treasure these experiences. . . . Safe travels and thank you for a crazy wonderful first time in Japan. i wouldn’t have had it any other way. 🤙










Donna Vo

Australia, New Zealand, Japan









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)










Thanks for the ride. It’s been a long and thought provoking time.










Angela Park

Japan










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










Koichi Sakamaki

Luxembourg, Malta, Tunisia










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










Great trip in Azerbaijan 🔥










Brandon Foo

Azerbaijan & Nakhchivan










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










The Monsoon Diaries is an experience unlike any other. Anything can happen and you are encouraged out of your comfort zone. When you get out of that zone, you find new experiences and opportunities at any moment. Following through with them makes you realize that it was actually a really cool thing you just did. You also get to meet and hang out with many different people from different places and backgrounds. You might end up making some really close friends for life. Thank you Calvin, for all the planning you put into your trips and being a supportive presence (whether you were there physically or not) in those moments when I was taking a leap out of my comfort zone. Those are the experiences I treasure the most.

Australia & New Zealand, and Japan…so far










Donna Vo

Australia, New Zealand, Japan










Then let me at least know you my last entry into the book of 365 questions a year: one of the most cherished moments this year – your visit in March. Not only was it a blast but also it really took me out of a rabbit hole at that time. Thanks for being an inspiration and life changer not only for me but so many other people around the globe 😘 hope to have you here in ******* again sometime to finally get you onto the rooftop 😃.










Anonymous

Central Europe










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










Samin Rai

Luxembourg, Malta, Tunisia










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







I would like to recommend the Monsoon Diaries. I am a repeat client, and will likely repeat again the next time I get the chance to take a holiday. My first trip with them was Cuba in April 2018, where Alistair Riddell, the director of Young Pioneer Tours in Cuba, was my personal tour guide. This was definitely a good trip to take and Alistair is the man to see if you want to have a great time in Cuba.

My review however is for my most recent trip with them, the “Least VisitedCountries” tour, which took place from late December 2018 through mid-January 2019, and covered 5 of the least visited countries in the world (#1 Nauru, #3 Tuvalu, #4 Kiribati, #7 The Marshall Islands, & #15 The Solomon Islands) as well as Vanuatu & Fiji. This was one of the best trips/cultural immersions on which I have ever personally been, and I’ve been some places.

We saw some of most unspoilt white powder sandy beaches as well as crystal clear blue waters in the world (these islands are in the middle of the south Pacific Ocean), and we had reliable and trusted local guides to give us a true cultural immersion of the locales in which we stayed. And on top of that we had YPT leader Gaz Jonsen guiding us on this trip as well as Alistair Riddell of YPT Cuba, as was my good friend Dr. Calvin Sun of The Monsoon Diaries, whose passion for travel and adventure is parallel to none.

So these guys combined with the local guides on the ground in each of the countries which we visited provided a cultural immersion that simply would not have been possible were one to take on a travel endeavor like this on their own.

So I recommend and endorse the Monsoon Diaries, and I look forward to my next excursion with them.









PD Shah

Least Visited (7 countries)










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










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










Mihaela Kracun

Luxembourg










Hiya Calvin! I just wanted to say that your latest post is gold. It’s such a beautiful expression of your truths, which I’m sure so many monsooners resonate with.

 

Even though we’ve only known each other for a little while, I’m so proud of you for doing what you do and touching so many lives around you! You continue to be an inspiration, and I truly feel honored to connect with you as a friend. Sending love, always!!










Alexandra De Rosa

Australia & New Zealand










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










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










David Ali

Andorra










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










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)









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










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









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










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










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)










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










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










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)










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










Ambrose Chu

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)









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










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










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










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










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










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’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)










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










Helen Chou

Central Asia (5 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)









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










. . . 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










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)










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










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










Cindy Cui

Venezuela & The Guyanas (5 countries)










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 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









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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










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)










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










 

 

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










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 a good time Monsoon Diaries 🙂










Lilliane Ng

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










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










Jennifer Li

The Palawan, Indonesia, East Timor-Leste, Map&Move










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










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










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










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










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









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










A trip to Antarctica is the reason why I started flight club for you!

 

Have you felt exhausted after work and just burnt out by the daily grind ?

 

Thats how I felt in 2012 when I had spent 3 years starting my company TeliportMe and building P360. I was out of money and burnt out with the 18 hour work shifts, I was sleeping on my friends floor and eating ramen, feeling frustrated with my situation and I wanted to get out.

 

One day while I was going through my Facebook feed and I came across my friend Calvins’ post about a 15 day trip to Antarctica at the end of the year; it cost 4000 USD for the trip excluding the airfare. I don’t know what possessed me and I decided that I wanted to do it, I had to pay 500 USD to reserve my spot and I could pay the remaining one month before departure of the trip i.e 8 months later. I spent 500 USD out of my 650 USD bank balance and booked the trip. Just like that I had something amazing to look forward to and my life seemed just a little bit more hopeful, those 8 months were possibly my most productive 8 months of the previous 30 months and I had a spring in my step, I worked as a freelancer to pay for my trip while working as a full time Founder & CEO at TeliportMe.

 

For me, booking the trip itself made my life a little brighter and I went from being burnt out; to rejuvenated. It cost me 500 USD upfront but being someone who is not into material things the travel experience seemed like the perfect way to get me motivated to wake up everyday to work and get through some otherwise mind numbing work because I knew I had this amazing trip to look forward to.

 

Since that trip in 2013, I have travelled to 44 countries (not a single ticket more than 500 USD roundtrip) in the last 4 years and I have become a better person learnt some empathy towards different cultures and learnt a few more languages.

 

I want everyone to be able to experience this for themselves and if you are someone that needs a change or just wants to destress yourself you should be able to find a great place to travel to. That’s a huge part of why I started this Flight Club and I shall be sending you more and more deals in the coming weeks based on the location you have selected as your departure region.

 

If you have not selected a region yet please click on this link -> https://teliportme.com/flightclub-select-region

 

I hope you can find a deal you love and do send me a note if you use it to travel or if there are any specific places you would like to travel to 🙂

 

Vineet Devaiah

Founder P360 & TeliportMe.com

Follow on Twitter










Vineet Devaiah

Antarctica










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










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