|1||Fort-de-France, Martinique||January 2, 2022|
|2||Marina du Marin, Martinique||January 3, 2022|
|3||Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia||January 5, 2022|
|4||Soufriere, Saint Lucia||January 6, 2022|
|5||Marigot Bay, Saint Lucia||January 7, 2022|
|6||Pigeon Island, Saint Lucia||January 8, 2022|
|7||Marina du Marin, Martinique||January 9, 2022|
|8||Pointe-á-Pitre, Guadeloupe||January 10, 2022|
Monsooners: Sabrina “We’re Not Really Strangers” Poon, Kimmy “Rosemary Marinade” Wu, Tammy “Savage Garden” Ying, Koichi “Missed Connections” Sakamaki, Paul “The Light Between Oceans” Woo, Jeanette “Parachutes” Wong
“Hey world: It’s been a whirlwind of a journey this past year. I’m extremely [grateful] for the friendships made this past week. What a great way to start off 2022! Here’s to more experiences and meaningful connections. Can’t wait to see what this year holds for all of us.
This week on the water and being away from work technology really put things into perspective. I wish I had more words to describe how I feel and what we went through, but I’ll reserve that for a blog post (yes, I’ll blog more this year!). Yes, expect to see more picture posts and stories over the next few weeks.” – Tammy Ying
“Signs – Do you see, believe, interpret them? After several days of obstacles, uncertainties, & moving parts on this trip, we were finally welcomed to Saint Lucia by a vibrant (double!) rainbow & enthusiastic dolphins.
Rainbows tend to show up at significant moments in my life, & the sight of them always leads me to think about the meaning behind it. Are such events coincidence? Perhaps. But would it hurt to be open to the idea of it being more than that? It’s when we’re open – to signs, people, …life – that things come most easily and abundantly.
I took these rainbows as a sign that we were exactly where we were supposed to be. What signs are significant to you?” – Sabrina Poon
“Thank you very beautiful people for a very beautiful weekend in St, Lucia!” – Jeanette Wong
“Hey! Thanks so much for the last week. It was an amazing experience and I enjoyed getting to know you and everyone better.” – Tammy Ying
“Many ask ‘how do you do it?’ This is how. Go to amazing places with amazing people. Often.” – Jeanette Wong
“I love yall. I’m crying inside cos I miss everyone.” – Tammy Ying
“Cry on the outside and live your dreams.” – Sabrina Poon
“MISS YOU GUYS ALREADY” – Jeanette Wong
|1||Bamako, Mali||January 28, 2022|
|2||Segou, Mali||January 29, 2022|
|3||San, Mali||January 30, 2022|
|4||Djenne, Mali||January 31, 2022|
|5||Sibi, Mali||February 2, 2022|
Monsooners:Rashidah “Out of Africa” Namutebi, Johnny “Ragdoll” Donavan
“The thought of visiting another African country other than the one I am originally from was not an option until The Monsoon Diaries got my wheels turning and I am glad I took the risk. Mali: its culture and people are sure breathtaking . . . a once in a lifetime opportunity and I wouldn’t have gotten a better group of humans to take all this experience in than with my new tribe, The Monsoon Diaries.” – Rashidah Namutebi
“It was a life changing experience hanging out with y’all for the last couple days.” – Rashidah Namutebi
“I would like to thank you for the last couple days from Mali to Istanbul. I had a great time in both countries but Istanbul was for the books. I appreciate you sticking around to show me around. You have such great personality and great to be around.
I hope we go in more trips together but until then maybe we will run into each other either in your turf or my turf 😊
It was one hell of a trip and the two days in Turkey wrapped things up beautifully.
Looking forward to the next time monsoon.” – Rashidah Namutebi
|1||Baghdad, Iraq||March 11, 2022|
|2||Karbala, Iraq||March 12, 2022|
|3||Hillah, Iraq||March 12, 2022|
|4||Samarra, Iraq||March 13, 2022|
|5||Dead Sea & Petra, Jordan||March 14, 2022|
|6||Black & White Desert, Egypt||March 15, 2022|
Monsooners: Mihaela “Wujūd” K., Anthony “Alyaqaza” Lui, Priscilla “Qadar” Yoon, Kimmy “Kameel” Wu, Ihita “Arabesque” Kabir, Chyne “Shawq” Tan, Anjali “Desert Fox” Patel, Marina “Duolingo” Girgis, Andaleeb “Zaha Hadid” Raja, Amanda “Checkpoints” Cheng, Sarah “The Kite Runner” Lee, Lai Yuen “Ribatat jash” Looi, Alicia “Wulidat” Shi
“In my quest to make meaning of humanity’s bleak but relentless existence, explained as the emergence of a random interplay of chemicals and gases by modern science, I somehow found myself meditating in the middle of the White Desert. To think that if I had changed any of the smallest to biggest decisions I’d ever made, I might have missed the serenity experienced at this moment, so beautifully captured by @monsoondiaries.
I’m unsure if I can fully encapsulate the complex sense of grief and relief that emerged as I sat there and reflected, but dare I try…
The recovering perfectionist in me couldn’t help but think about the moments when I failed myself—moments when I allowed absence and emptiness to define me more than the abundance and fullness that suffused my life. The irony of this grief is that I felt sorry for the time I lost on feeling sorry for myself. Fortunately, another part of me that is compassionate and forgiving pulled me out of that self-critical narrative that haunted me.
As I noticed this negotiation take place in my mind, I realized that this polarity that constructed the enigma that is my mind, even to myself, was something I battled for as long as I remembered… However, in defiance of my usual response to frantically intellectualize my state of confusion and contradiction, I chose to simply accept that this consciousness, congruent or not, consisted of essences that make me whole. In allowing this dissonance I once thought could never coexist sit in harmony, I felt that I unlocked the most profound sense of relief I had ever felt… a liberation from the subjugation I had placed on myself.
In my newfound laissez-aller, I surrender myself to the process that has and will continue to propel me to become truer, wiser, braver, stronger, and kinder; the process that never failed to manifest dreams and lead me to adventures that were meant for me…
Why ask for directions from anyone else if they have never been to the places we will go?
Why martyr ourselves in the name of others, as if ceasing to exist in our own rights is the only proof of our worth and testament to our love?
Why limit what we know, feel, and dare to imagine based on social constructs that put us in neat little boxes, when true human connections require us to reach beyond what bounds us?
Why submit to our instinct to avoid uncertainty, even though the beauty of life lies in the unknown—a place where all possibilities and impossibilities exist?
Though I may never figure out the significance of my existence, I am humbled and grateful to be just a little person with the privilege and conviction to spread compassion and a sense of belonging in this vast universe in ways that only I can.
P.S. Thank you for capturing and showing me the version of myself you saw, one that I would’ve never seen otherwise @monsoondiaries 📷” – Kimmy Wu
“Iraq is a beautiful country rich in history and culture, but for so long it has been synonymous with conflict and war. 20 years ago, I would have never guessed I’d have the opportunity to visit the Middle East let alone Iraq. I feel a deep sense of gratitude for the experience.
‘Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do… Explore. Dream. Discover. – Mark Twain'” – Priscilla Yoon
“What we once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes a part of us. 🙂 Thank you for bringing me to Cairo, this trip meant a lot to me.” – Anonymous
“Looking back isn’t always a bad thing though. I know I’ll always look back and remember how I relished and dwelled in the beauty of life on this trip. Also, should you ever look back, I’ll be there watching and supporting you. I got your back.” – Anonymous
“Surreal — everything [at home] is the same here but I feel different . . . It has been unreal… feeling grateful for every moment and experience. ‘We do not remember days, we remember moments.’ – Cesare Pavese” – Anonymous
“This journey has been profound.” – Alicia Shi
“Breathtaking sunrises, sunsets, & a night under a full moon & stars in the desert! We went on an unforgettable adventure in a region so many wish they could see yet few dare to go.” – Priscilla Yoon
“My favorite thing about Iraq? The people and the food … the hospitality matches the Egyptian mentality and it felt like the Texas of the Middle East … So go BIG or go home so to speak! Despite the many check points and many questions and some spikes in anxiety, we were safe in the end. I appreciate the opportunity to feel a part of something greater than myself which was to show the world that Iraq is beautiful and full of riches. I also appreciate the bonds I’ve made. I can’t thank @monsoondiaries enough.” – Marina Girgis
“Just landed back in DC! Had such a grand time with you all, thank you for being such wonderful and inspiring individuals. Looking forward to our next adventure together!! In the meantime, stay in touch xx” – Kimmy Wu
“Thanks for an unforgettable experience you guys! Hope everyone get home safely 🤗” – Alicia Shi
“All love here … despite the up and down of it all I’m glad I did this trip … Glad I met all of you. 🥰” – Marina Girgis
“Oh yeah, we went there. Hi from country #92. Anything is possible in a weekend with @monsoondiaries.” – Amanda Cheng
|1||Tahiti, French Polynesia||April 23, 2022|
|2||Raiatea, French Polynesia||April 22, 2022|
|3||Huahine, French Polynesia||April 24, 2022|
|4||Taha'a, French Polynesia||April 26, 2022|
|5||Bora Bora, French Polynesia||April 27, 2022|
|6||Raiatea, French Polynesia||April 29, 2022|
Monsooners: Mihaela “Aqua Vitae” K, Donna “Kid’s Temptation” Vo, Gina “Gin & Tonic” Fortunato, Jenny “Don Julio 1942” Fu, Lyla “Clase Azul” Kamigaki, Bruce “Absinthe” Zhang, Ginna “Whiskey Flip” Dammann, Daniel “Piña Colada (Virgin)” Jeng, Jay “Vermouth” Shih, Amelia “Chardonnay” Schillingford, Craig “Greyhound” Hays, Megan “Pickleback Shot” Elizabeth, Borna “Captain Morgan’s Rum” Baricevic
“Catching glimpses of the sunset from the train home while listening to the YW playlist. Missing you all and our time on the water together. ❤️💔🖕🖕” – Mihaela K.
“Alright sentimentality time! this trip with everyone has been a really great time. it helped me keep my mind off of things i didn’t want to think about and helped me gain inspiration for things that i did. i had sooo much fun meeting and hanging out with everyone and i know that i have become closer to the people i know and gained new friends from the people i didn’t. i am excited to hang with you again sometime in the future at a reunion or maybe on another trip. whatever it is thank you everyone for making this a memorable trip!!! travel safely and stay healthy! 😁” – Donna Vo
“I’m not crying or anything 😭 such a good summary of our trip” – Ginna Dammann
“Awwwwwww Donna!! You got us in the feels 🥺🥺
Thank you ALL so much. I loved meeting all of you and I’m sad to leave! This trip made me super nostalgic of home but you guys made it very very homely. Looking forward to a future reunion or another trip! You guys made this trip absolutely wonderful. Thank you. Safe travels and stay Covid free for future adventures ♥️♥️” – Lyla Kamigaki
“You guys are absolute rockstars and I miss you all dearly, thank you for being so much fun, so much energy and so entertaining! I loved every minute of it and I can’t wait to see you all again 🥰❤️🥰❤️🥰❤️” – Megan Elizabeth
“It was a life changing trip” – Daniel Jeng
“I feel really happy today, happier than I’ve felt in a long time 👍🏼 I feel empowered to do whatever I want.” – Bruce Zhang
“It was eye-opening” – Ginna Dammann
“Now I’m sentimental again. Calvin, does this always happen after Monsoons?” – Amelia Shillingford
“^can confirm… prior to Monsoons I was basically the tin man, now I’ve been sentimental for an entire year 🥺❤️” – Gina Marlar
|1||London, UK||May 27, 2022|
|2||Stonehenge, UK||May 28, 2022|
|3||Cardiff, Wales||May 28, 2022|
|4||Brecon Breacons, Wales||May 30, 2022|
|5||Rhossili, Wales||May 31, 2022|
|6||Broad Haven, Wales||May 31, 2022|
|7||Caernarfon, Wales||June 1, 2022|
|8||Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, Wales||June 2, 2022|
|9||Conwy, Wales||June 2, 2022|
|10||Manchester, Wales||June 2, 2022|
Monsooners: Priscilla “Roundabouts” Yoon, Evie “ET Phone Home” Joy, Nishant “There’s Cheese…and Then There’s Cheese” Anandan, Jeanette “V8 Engine” Wong, Isaiah “Ohana” Moreno, Hayden “Fire Safety Officer” Cresswell, Evan “Easy Rider” Cresswell, Ellane “Ajumma with the Pepper Spray” Park, Lydia “Lady Mercedes” Chan, Wai “We Ride at Dawn” Thant, Leslie “The Lamb Whisperer” Limo, Joanna “The Call of the Wild” Sitzmann, Adam “Lowrider” Dumont, Kenny “Stuffed Animal” Siu, Gul “Strawberry Acai Refresher” Fashan
“Thanks for an amazing trip everyone! You all made it wonderful! 😉 Travel safe❤️” – Wai Thant
“What do you get when 15 Americans + 1 Australian jump into 4 cars for a weeklong #monsoonroadtrip through Wales? An unforgettable adventure down tiny country roads & infinite roundabouts, breathtaking vistas, and most important the amazing human connections we made along the way.
Thanks again @monsoondiaries for bringing the 16 of us together for #monsoontrip in Wales!” – Priscilla Yoon
“I miss you guys. I don’t normally miss people.” – Evie Joy
“Well we definitely miss you.” – Isaiah Moreno
“Thank you all for a journey that each and every one of you made so special, memorable, and SO MUCH FUN. From strangers to monsooners to new friends (and the Hawaiian therapist I never knew I needed 😉) – this isn’t a goodbye, but a see you later 🤗❤️ safe travels everyone!!! xo” – Jeanette Wong
“Pleasure meeting everyone! Had a blast!” – Leslie Limo
“Update: I changed my flight to be a little later tomorrow & got a hotel here in Amsterdam & i am LOVING it😍 I hope everyone has a great weekend & i loved meeting you all! Thanks for the memories & thank you Calvin.” – Gul Fashan
“And…that’s a wrap to our roadtrip in Wales. Not a typical way of traveling for me but what a FUN experience and met many wonderful people. The week went by real quick. . . . Wales, your sceneries are breath-takingly gorgeous. Wish I had few more moments to take it all in. ” – Wai Thant
“SO MUCH FUN – and I’m usually hard to impress.” – Lydia Chan
“An unforgettable trip through London & Wales. Thank you the 15 travel companions that made the trip truly special 💕” – Priscilla Yoon
“Finally HOME! Longest Sunday ever! Thanks everyone for an amazing trip! Stay in touch!” – Isaiah Moreno
“Altruistic realism: to meet the urgent need for people throughout the world to see each other and reality fairly.
I just figured you should define it: I think you’re creating a home everywhere you go in your monsoons. You’re making a global home through the connections of the people on each trip. I was thinking the song [To Build a Home] says it all – and that you’re connecting the globe – showing people home is a feeling shared together. And we find ourselves in the insecurities of the unfamiliar…and so the people become the familiar. And the bond becomes home. Security through partnership.” – Evie Joy
“Every monsoon has been unique, very different, (some superior to others by comparison 😉). Some of the most memorable moments shared with those who were part of the journey, bring empowerment to the soul, warmth to the heart, and gratitude to the mind. The bold contrasts between what you experience in daily life vs. what you experience during a monsoon – are exactly what contributes to the feelings you may have now. But home is where the heart is, and is more than just a place. And sometimes, it’s ok to follow your heart to see where life takes you. 💕😊” – Jeanette Wong
|1||Pyramiden, Svalbard||June 19, 2022|
|2||Longyearbyen, Svalbard||June 20, 2022|
|3||Tinayrebreen, Svalbard||June 21, 2022|
|4||Smeerenburg, Svalbard||June 22, 2022|
|5||Northern Pack Ice, Svalbard||June 23, 2022|
|6||Monacobreen, Svalbard||June 24, 2022|
|7||Kongsfjorden, Svalbard||June 25, 2022|
|8||Colesbukta, Svalbard||June 26, 2022|
|9||Tromsø, Norway||June 27, 2022|
Monsooners: Mihaela “Chief Mate” Kracun, Cindy “Trenchfoot” Cui, Alice “Bladder Buddy” Hong, Justin “Sea Legs” Chiu, Karthik “Never Bet Against the House” Srinivasan, Alicia “Caviar Toes” Shi, Amelia “Of Love & Kayaks” Shillingford, Bruce “Sock on the Handle” Zhang, Jeanette “Amber Alert” Wong, Sujay “Dispensary” Sheth, Donna “Camera Insurance” Vo, Sampson “Puffin Sniper” Lau, Alexandra “The Italian Job” De Rosa, Kimsa “Happy Feet” Nguyen, Stephen “Never Have I Ever Played Never Have I Ever” Leu
“I am on the security line for oslo. Hope to see you guys sooner than later. Enjoy Tromso. Going home with a lot of joy❤️” – Karthik Srinivasan
“So I’ll take this opportunity to thank you guys for an entire week of fun and laughter 🤗 And to our fearless leader for making this happen ❤️ . I’m so grateful for each one of you and appreciate you guys more than you think!” – Alicia Shi
“Hey, thanks for organizing another great trip!! Hope your travels home go smoothly!” – Alice Hong
“Surprisingly I’ve actually learned much about myself 💓 So thank you for that.” – Alicia Shi
“Me too Alicia. I think I just paid for a really expensive therapy session, trauma included.” – Bruce Zhang
“Just got back to Chicago – thanks to all you crazies for an unforgettable week!” – Sujay Sheth
“Really love [this photo of us]. Thanks for the great trip Calvin. Looking forward to many more. 🙂 I’m excited to see [the beginning of another era] and enjoying becoming your friend (ah, the post Monsoon sentimentality). But I am. :)” – Amelia Shillingford
“❤️ these peeps. Miss you guys already.” – Karthik Srinivasan
“Yes truly. I am joyfully overwhelmed by this trip and the beautiful connections we all shared. So much gratitude in my heart for you all!!” – Alexandra De Rosa
“Friendships and life lessons are priceless !! Worth every penny.” – Alicia Shi
|1||Vágar, Faroe Islands||August 23, 2022|
|2||Tórshavn, Faroe Islands||August 23, 2022|
|3||Streymoy, Faroe Islands||August 24, 2022|
|4||Eysturoy, Faroe Islands||August 24, 2022|
|5||Kalsoy, Faroe Islands||August 25, 2022|
|6||Suðuroy, Faroe Islands||August 26, 2022|
|7||Mykines, Faroe Islands||August 27, 2022|
Monsooners: Kimmy “Curbstomper” Wu, Bruce “Forgot to Put a Sock on the Handle” Zhang, Lydia “Run Ahjumma Run” Chan, Jeanette “40g” Wong, Cindy “Cinnamon” Kulphongpatana, Ainsley “Jasmine Flower” Martin, Vanessa “The Hungarian Pastry Shop” Molnar, Adrienne “Puffin Whisperer” Soong
“It’s been a while since I took a solid vacation. It’s been never that I’ve travelled with a group of strangers to a country I didn’t know much about. Verdict: I’m so happy I did it. Not only were the Faroe Islands the most beautiful & peaceful sights I have ever seen, but this group of amazing humans made the experience beyond special.
We all bonded on several levels and became one with the sheep and rolling hills (booger especially). It was an experience that has changed me as a person. It ignited something inside me that has long been dormant & stifled by a busy life/career. It reminded me that the world is a powerful force that connects you to yourself, as well as to others.
A huge thanks to @monsoondiaries – he guided us seamlessly from one spot to the next to ensure we were able to witness some of the most incredible marvels created by Mother Nature’s hand. I told him that his super power is connecting people through travelling and showing us common folks the world through his expert eyes) It’s a gift that I, along with many other monsooners, will cherish in my heart for years to come.
I’d like to end with a quick toast ~ to all my new, fabulous friends, to the sheep and their soothing bahhh’s, to the puffins for posing for us, and to Johann for not banishing Bruce. If we had been in NYC, #RIPBruce.” – Vanessa Molnar
“Let me know when you have the reunion and book party and I will fly out to NYC [from Kansas City]!!” – Cindy Kulphongpatana
“The crew for my first monsoon trip! There’s nothing like making new friends when you’re all in a different country together. 🤗” – Adrienne Soong
“Thx for an awesome trip! See you on home turf🥂” – Vanessa Molnar
“Lmao @Calvin Sun the guys from karaoke night are sitting next to us at the airport right now. Serendipity? 🤣🤣🤣” – Kimmy Wu
“It’s kismet” – Lydia Chan
“You’re a kismet.” – Kimmy Wu
“Meh. I don’t wanna work. I wanna be retired lol and travel more!!
Missing the group. It was honestly so much fun. I’m really happy i did it and so appreciative of the level of effort you put into it. Your super power is travelling and letting us commoners get to see the word through your eyes through your eyes😍” – Vanessa Molnar
|1||Guayaquil, Ecuador||November 8, 2022|
|2||Baltra, The Galápagos||November 9, 2022|
|3||Santa Cruz, The Galápagos||November 10, 2022|
|4||Genovesa, The Galápagos||November 11, 2022|
|5||Santiago, The Galápagos||November 12, 2022|
|6||North Seymour, The Galápagos||November 13, 2022|
|7||Dakar, Senegal||December 12, 2022|
|1||Dakar, Senegal||December 12, 2022|
|2||Lac Rose, Senegal||December 14, 2022|
|3||St. Louis, Senegal||December 15, 2022|
|4||Dakar, Senegal||December 16, 2022|
|5||Jufureh, The Gambia||December 17, 2022|
|6||Banjul, The Gambia||December 18, 2022|
|7||Zinguinchor, Senegal||December 19, 2022|
|8||Bissau, Guinea-Bissau||December 20, 2022|
Monsooners: Evan “Pizzagate” Danek, Sameer “Barely Legal” Kazi, Kelsey “Coco Crisp” Carniglia, Ihita “Hot Sauce in Her Bag” Kabir, Noureen “Afrobeat” Rahman
Remarks: “Despite the heat I’m really glad I pushed myself to go! Thank you for having me and for doing all the research you did about the area so I didn’t have to. My parents can’t wait to hear all about it!” – Kelsey Carniglia
“It’s good to be back, can’t put into words how much I’ve missed this. And it’s also amazing to see the growth you’ve made since I last saw you. Thanks for … St Louis … It means so much to me” – Evan Danek
“Relief…freeing…I feel reinvigorated from the trip.” – Sameer Kazi
“Next Monsoon in Florida?” – Noureen Rahman
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