Destination Arrival
1 Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire January 16, 2023
2 Yamoussoukro, Cote d'Ivoire January 16, 2023
3 Grand Bassam, Cote d'Ivoire January 16, 2023
Monsooners: Gina “Crème Brûlée” Fortunato, Jillian “Paratrooper” Kailuna


“Walking home in the rain feeling slightly defeated after another 12 hour day in the office… shove my hands in my coat pockets to stay warm only to find my visa line number from Côte d’Ivoir. Smile quietly to myself at the memory of being in a completely different world only a few short days ago ❤️” – Gina Fortunato


“Thank you for showing me some of africa and asia for the first time 🤩 can’t wait to come back to istanbul for meat moot and hamams and i’ll update you about the wedding on sunday!!” – Jillian Kailuna


“You know… all the feels, been writing a bit off and on this time though. Processing it all. Thank you for helping me get out of my comfort zone once again in a place I would have never dreamed of going before. Feeling very tired and reflective. And very glad to have kbbq to look forward to this weekend❤️❤️❤️” – Gina Fortunato

“Made time to disconnect and reconnect with myself. Despite my adventures this past year I feel significantly more introverted in comparison to the rest of my life prior. I take the Meyers-Briggs annually and have gotten ENFP consistently the last 3 years but changed to INFP this year. I know these tests aren’t all-encompassing but it made me wonder what factors have influenced me.

Earlier this year I left a horrible living situation that was so traumatizing to the point where I’d rather walk the streets alone at night than come home. I was so stressed that i had hives for 8 months straight. After my first monsoon to west africa with @monsoondiaries (another story), I finally decided to literally stop living in fear.

I scrambled finding a new apartment in the off-season, re-reading the fine print of my lease, finding a subleaser, and to somehow pick up my life and move (again) by myself. 2 weeks later I had a new home with a balcony and a gorgeous rooftop view of the city. i could watch the sunset every night and finally feel safe in my own home. my change in environment was definitely the biggest factor in my personality type change, which makes a lot of sense as to why i suddenly love staying in now.

I don’t think it’s good or bad that to be either intro- or extroverted, but it was different. I wanted to really analyze how my life has been recently, & right now I feel like a different person, like I need to get to know myself again. I find my interactions with people now are not what I would’ve expected from the Jill I was a few years ago, or the Jill I thought I was until now.

People are the second factor, although I guess you could lump that under environment. Am I feeling antisocial because l’m tired? Or do I not remember how to socialize without facilitation? Or maybe l’m just more content in solitude and no longer seek as much external interaction as I sought before?

Anywho, I’m very happy with my life & who I am now but I still want to be better, & I do so by surrounding myself with genuine people that make me want to be better. This was just going to be another waiting-for-the-train ootd, but wanted to share what’s been on my mind lately” – Jillian Kailuna

Destination Arrival
1 Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso February 2, 2023
2 Banfora, Burkina Faso February 3, 2023
3 Sindou, Burkina Faso February 4, 2023
4 Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso February 5, 2023
5 Tiébélé, Burkina Faso February 6, 2023
6 Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso February 7, 2023
7 Freetown, Sierra Leone February 8, 2023
8 Monrovia, Liberia February 9, 2023
9 Conakry, Guinea February 9, 2023

Remarks: “Calvin, on paper, is a lot of things, but underneath a pile of degrees and humour is just a genuinely good person. So genuinely good. The honour of travelling with him made me feel like a better person, and I will never be able to thank him. During the inevitable moments of difficulty in weird and wacky places was a person to laugh with and reflect on life’s privileges.

A trip with Calvin is unforgettable. Not only do you get free medical advice, but you also have a friend for life and then some memories. His company stands above some sights—no offence to the landmarks.

The only good thing is that I know it is not a goodbye, but a see you later. So until we travel again, you’ll be missed and remembered for a trip of a lifetime!” – Paris Hailwood

Destination Arrival
1 Juba, South Sudan March 23, 2023
2 Mundari Camp, South Sudan March 24, 2023

Monsooners: Melinda “African Toedip” Kwok

Remarks: “Thank you Rowan and everyone for making my first African adventure extra spectacular. Meeting all of you and listening to everyone’s stories was just as special as the Mundari experience.” – Melinda Kwok

Destination Arrival
1 Seoul, South Korea March 27, 2023
2 Paju, South Korea March 28, 2023
3 Seoul, South Korea March 29, 2023
4 Busan, South Korea March 30, 2023
5 Boseong, South Korea March 31, 2023
6 Busan, South Korea April 1, 2023
7 Jeju Island, South Korea April 2, 2023

Monsooners: Raubern “NewJackets” Totanes, Ann “Bing Su” Wen, Donna “Vibe Check” Vo, Natalie “Exit Through the Gift Shop” Hearty, Gina “Sea to Summit” McCormick, Eric “General Banchan” Ma, Liane “Bachelorette Party” Wong, Mitch “Easy Moving Co.” Wong, Bhavana “Swipe Right” Baswan, Cece “Exit Through the Secret Bar” McCormick, Cindy “Speed Bum-ps” Kulphongpatana, Ginna “Vegan Haenyeo” Dammann, Sujay “Salad Basket” Sheth, Nicole “LED” Jensen, Karthik “Ride the Bus” Srinivasan, Jenny “Couchsurfer” Schultz, Ainsley “Kimchi” Martin, Paulette “Korean Standard Time” Young, Matt “Tambourine” Blazejewski, Paul “The Time Traveler” Woo, Christina “Guardian A…rms Dealer”, Kelly “Trenchcoat Parachute” Joo


“Thank you for having me on this trip and creating an environment and space for strangers to meet each other where they would’ve never been able to under any other circumstances. This monsoon reaffirms my belief that we are all just looking for genuine human interactions, so we may feel less alone in this world and learn to be more confident in ourselves, especially during our darkest and loneliest times. That journey requires and leads us to reflect and refine our values, personalities, beliefs, behaviors, and actions. While I may not have been outspoken throughout this brief time together, it is not a sign of disinterest or apathy. Rather, I’m observing and reflecting, so that I can try to make some sense out of all these seemingly unrelated forces at play.

During orientation, you said you always fuck up somehow on your trips, and by default, disappoint people. I beg to differ. You brought people to together and allowed them to bond together to figure shit out. Thank you for promoting and cultivating such an inclusive experience that I will cherish forever. So, nothing to be anxious about. You’re doing a great job, and despite not having ramen, the ocean view from the restaurant is more than enough.” – Anonymous


“Thanks for doing Korea justice 🙏 better than expected for all🌞” – Anonymous

“Had an amazing time with you all! Safe travels and look forward to many more adventures 🎉” – Sujay Sheth

“I am on my way to Seoul. I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye. Thank you so much for such a wonderful experience. A first for so many things in life. I met some lovely people and I look forward to doing another monsoon very soon.” – Bhavana Baswan

“Friendlier skies this morning, our first monsoon and each of you and our merry collective energy made memories for a lifetime.🌸🌸🌸 Bravo Calvin for being the Northstar and glue for this group adventure, we made it intact, inspired and with visions for another monsoon. We’ll see everyone somewhere on the road ahead, or most likely in NYC🗽!” – Liane

“Just boarded my international flight in Seoul to start my long journey back to KC. Thank you y’all for such a wonderful monsoon!! It was extremely meaningful getting to experience my own culture and where I’m from for the 1st time, and you all made it special🫶🏼. Lmk if you’re ever in KC and I’ll take you for bbq🤩”  – Ginna Dammann

“Back in Seoul~ lovely meeting all of you, such a great group of people💛 reach out if you ever want to come back and our times align again~ see some of you back in New York or this summer! 🌞” – Christina

“At my gate headed to Seoul! It’s been awesome meeting and traveling with all of you! See some of you in Seoul and the rest very soon in future trips!”  – Sujay Sheth

“Thank you for spoiling us with all the good variety of delicious and interesting food Calvin. I for one appreciate it.” – Paulette Young

“Had such a great time with you all!! Get some safe and stay in touch ❤️😎❤️” – Nicole Jensen

“About to board my leg to Japan. Miss everyone already! Until next time🫡” – Jenny Schultz

“Sad that the Monsoon is over but have lots of memories, new friends, and reconnecting with old friends. It isn’t goodbye but see you soon Korea!!” – Cindy Kulpohongpatana

“And yes Calvin reminder to us all to listen closely to our intuition and meaningfully – esp post COVID – that fellowship is the point after all.” – Liane Wong

“Thank you to everyone who I met on this epic Monsoon. So many adjectives to describe how this adventure was.  It is hard to put into words.  Love to each and every one. I hope to see you in NYC or on other Monsoons.  Miss all of you already!! This is not goodbye but see you later!❤️❤️🫂🫂” – Cindy Kulpohongpatana

“Thank you everyone. Had an amazing experience with all of you. Though it was only a few days for me, it truly felt that I spent the whole week with you guys. I’ll see you all either in Seoul, nyc, and happily anywhere in the world.” – Paul Woo

“Made it home! Thanks again for all the memories! Best moments in three sentences or less would be…running to catch the DMZ bus and making it by the skin of our teeth, 90 second dance party in a photo booth for 10 with 20 people crammed in, and sunsets with peanut ice cream by the ocean. So many more to choose from but y’all are amazing and I couldn’t imagine traveling with anyone else ♥️” – Jenny Schultz

“Flew to JeJu Volvanic Island. Got stuck in an elevator. Sang karaoke. Hit the cafes, lava tubes, beaches, and waterfalls. Frolicked in the flowers. Jammed to K-pop. Awed at the cuteness of EVERYTHING. Thank you @monsoondiaries for leading the way and all the other monsooners for making South Korea such an incredible trip” – Nicole Jensen

“This memory will last a while, thanks @monsoondiaries along with those long convos in Part Il.” – Liane Wong


“Thank you everyone for making this monsoon possible. I truly enjoyed all of the conversations I’ve had with each of you, however long, brief, or fragmented they were. I believe those are more memorable than the places we visited. Ok, maybe the following are comparable:

– finding famous Netflix lady’s stand and seeing some of you eat a second dinner, or to the point where you almost vomited.

-shisha LED lights

-when I posed for a pic thinking I was a flower

-picking live seafood for dinner

-listening with wide eyes to a 6am history lesson

-cooking then eating ramen on the steps by a river, like a hobo

-being rejected by an inanimate object: nasam cable car

-seeing 6 napkins blocking the millions of bbq pork oil particles from splashing on your skin

– tangerine coffee

– view of seoul from the mens restroom

Guys, I’m legit tearing. Writing this makes me reflect a lot.” – Eric Ma



Destination Arrival
1 Djibouti, Djibouti May 14, 2023
2 Lake Abbe, Djibouti May 15, 2023
3 Lake Assal, Djibouti May 16, 2023
4 Hargeisa, Somaliland May 17, 2023
5 Berbera, Somaliland May 19, 2023
6 Hargeisa, Somaliland May 20, 2023
7 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia May 21, 2023
8 Asmara, Eritrea May 22, 2023
9 Massawa, Eritrea May 22, 2023
10 Asmara, Eritrea May 23, 2023
11 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia May 24, 2023
12 Mogadishu, Somalia May 25, 2023

Monsooners: Vincent “Bulletproof Vest” Yang, Anthony “Taiwanese Embassy” Kao, They who don’t want a last name …and like 28 other people from YPT


“Thanks for setting everything up & running it so well even with hiccups 🙂 I had a great time” – Vincent Yang



Destination Arrival
1 Rhodes, Greece July 9, 2023
2 Meteora, Greece July 12, 2023
3 Alimos, Greece July 14, 2023
4 Saronic Gulf, Greece July 16, 2023
5 Poros, Greece July 17, 2023
6 Dokos, Greece July 18, 2023
7 Ermioni, Greece July 19, 2023
8 Hydra, Greece July 20, 2023
9 Athens, Greece July 21, 2023
10 Chania, Greece July 22, 2023
11 Rethymno, Greece July 24, 2023
12 Heraklion, Greece July 25, 2023
13 Spinalonga, Greece July 26, 2023
14 Ierapetra, Greece July 26, 2023


Amelia “Chief Rescue Officer” Schillingford*, Tina “Chief Sanitation Officer”, Jay “We Need To Talk” Shih**, Kristen “Amber Alert” Van Neste, Gina “Chief Sunset Officer” Fortunato, Lyla “Queen of the Limbo” Kamigaki, Andre “Zaddy Zinger” Thomas, Evan “We Need To Talk” Danek, Daniel “Double-Booked” Jeng, Megan “Chief Culinary Officer” Whyte, Paul “Bacchus” Woo, Taejin “Spicy Ramen” Kim, Roxanne “Salted Caramel Popcorn” Menchaca, Christina “Chief Music Officer” Lam, Gina “Chief Shots Officer” Lee, Victor “Chief Rally Officer” Tran, Michelle “Chief Hydration Officer” Liu, Leslie “Actually Sober” Limo, Mimi “Chief Macarena Officer” Chen, Sahar “Spyglass” Mirsepassi, Koichi “Make Me Lieutenant” Sakamaki, Jeanette “Chief Risky Officer” Wong, Kunal “Chief Dance Officer” Desai, Jennifer “Whiskey Taverna” Schultz, Benjie “Chief Sunrise Officer” Marcelo, Alicia “H Mart” Shi, Sujay “Chief Siesta Officer” Sheth, Kelly “Chief Yes Officer” Joo, Phil “Secretary General” Li, Jeffrey “Gold’s Gym” Wing, Andy “Polypharmacy” Jeon, Nicole “Chief Initiative Officer” Ng, Yuhan “Chief Barista Officer” Lee, Wesley “The Vegas Week” Huang, Randall “Cornell Alumni Association” Chan, Vivian “Water Nymph” Chen, Michaela “McDreamy” Osei, Marlena “McSteamy” Osei, Henry “Two-Point Turns” Gallegos, Maggie “Spicy Feta” Lau, Melinda “14 Peaks: Project Possible” Kwok, Sidian “Eesay Mangas” Lan, Gul “Waffle Cone Frappuccino” Fashan, Mel “I’m Finally a Monsooner” Jeng, Suhrid “I Swear I Don’t Read the Blog” Mantravadi, Pooja “He Really Reads the Blog” Mantravadi

*also Chief Diving Officer

**also Chief Security Officer


“I’ve been taking your advice to journal. This reminded me of what I wrote this weekend (not polished or refined by any means, but a note to myself after time spent pondering life while walking in the city):

‘I have come to realize over the course of this past year that it no longer matters so much what I do, but with whom.

Surround yourself with people of all different walks of life; backgrounds, passions; emotions; experiences. And share life with them from the mundane to the “significant”. We are all just visitors in these bodies so we might as well enjoy the trip together. Our time will always be too short. Let us not waste it.'” – Anonymous


“Thanks for being such a positive force in my life. Grateful to have met you all those years ago. Looking forward to future monsoons 🙏🏼” – Roxanne Menchaca


“Best week of my life.” – Gina Lee


“Hey 👋 still wanted to thank you again (and of course Koichi) for inviting me to be a part of TYW. I felt at home w the group! Everyone is super nice … overall i can say it’s one of the BEST summer trips I ever had. So many friends of mine now want to attend and experience TYW haha.” – Benjie Marcelo


“Thanks for letting Maggie and I stay with you guys! We loved the people! Have a fun and safe time!! See ya at the Syria orientation!” – Melinda Kwok


“Thanks @monsoondiaries for setting this amazing trip to meteora! Met some great people and love hearing their stories on why they are on this trip.” – Maggie Lau


“From a calm solo trip in Crete to a raging Yacht week with 39 mostly strangers living on a boat, the experiences and emotions I felt over the course of 1.5 weeks were so just eye opening and in some sense, humbling/inspiring.

To ALL the people I met along the way, thank you for making the whole trip so memorable and LIT. To everyone else…yes you super missed out so get yo asses out of the clubs/couches/festivals and get TRAVELING” – Wesley Huang


“JFK bound! Leaving with happy memories, new friends, and lots of saltwater in our clothes. Worth it to spend time with you all in my favorite country 💙🤍” – Gina Fortunato


“CanNOT wait to see you all again! Greece was fantastic and I couldn’t imagine exploring it with any better people. Safe travels and until next time 🥰” – Jennifer Schultz


“Had a blast with you all this week. Requesting a reunion hangout in NYC soon.” – Phil Li


“Hi Calvin. I didn’t get a chance to say farewell, but I wanted to say thank you so much for this week!” – Andy Jeon


“Awww Ty love!! I had so much fun with you!! Thank you for such an amazing trip as always! See you back in NYC for the reunions 💗💗” – Lyla Kamigaki


“Melinda and I are flighting out tonight from Santorini. It was great meeting you and the gang. If you set anything up in the city let me know. I’ll stop by.” – Maggie Lau


“Nothing but good times and good times only.” – Leslie Limo


“Honestly a trip of a lifetime, still feels unreal …  I see more monsoons in my future ❤️” – Roxanne Menchaca


“When no expectations lead to stronger connections in a week like no other 💙🤍 thank you Michelle & @monsoondiaries for this unreal experience!” – Vivian Chen


“Looking back on it, me signing up for a trip with @monsoondiaries (first time meeting him) on a random night in December to go on the most insane week long yacht party with 40 random people who ended up becoming amazing friends with lifelong memories is a perfect way to sum up year 31 in a nutshell.” – Victor Tran


“This trip really instilled confidence in my ability to get along with different groups of people and hold my own … I never felt out of place (which is something I was worried about) ” – Anonymous


“When a CEO, CAO, CRO, & CMO get together, you make some unforgettable memories. Thank you @monsoondiaries for taking me on this adventure and grateful for everyone who was part of it.” – Gina Lee


“EPIC Summer in the Mediterranean @theyachtweek … thanks @monsoondiaries – definitely one for the books…” – Benjie Marcelo


“Couldn’t have asked for a better yacht group!” – Andy Jeon



Destination Arrival
1 Damascus, Syria September 19, 2023
2 Maaloula, Syria September 20, 2023
3 Krak des Chevaliers, Syria September 20, 2023
4 Palmyra, Syria September 21, 2023
5 Homs, Syria September 21, 2023
6 Hama, Syria September 21, 2023
7 Aleppo, Syria September 22, 2023
8 Homs, Syria September 23, 2023
9 Damascus, Syria September 23, 2023
10 Bosra, Syria September 24, 2023
11 Damascus, Syria September 24, 2023
12 Golan Heights, Syria September 25, 2023


Ophelia “New York Walk” Kewan, Mihaela “Mosaic” K., Sampson “Birthday WAP” Lau, Amelia “Almond Pudding” Shillingford, Nishant “The Roman Empire” Anandan, Melissa “Storytime” Weinmann, Melinda “Age Is Only A Number” Kwok, Jill “BoLove” Kailuna, Rajani “Blue Wine” Mohan, Priyanka “The Last Dance” Shetty, Lisa “Worth The Waits” Vitaris, Leshawn “Electric Slide” Anderson, Chris “S-la-yrian Adobo” Franz, Francois “Syrie” DeAsis, Andaleeb “Mother Umayyad” Raja


“This was my absolute favorite monsoon. I say that a lot though? 🥰” – Mihaela K.


“I’ve always traveled with a small group of friends or family. But only since last October, I’ve found a joy in #solotraveling. I love the flexibility and freedom in it.

I’m not a very social person in a new setting with lots of strangers. So knowing that it’ll be a large group, I was still drawn to signed up for the 7-day #Syria tour with @MonsoonDiaries x @Golden.Team.Syria. It was my fourth multi-day tour ever, and it was my longest – and it was amazing!
I’ve met incredible people.

We explored and learned together. We ate and drank together. We danced and sang together. We created wonderful memories, in a beautiful country, that’ll last a lifetime.” – Melinda Kwok


“Calvin your last blog post was really beautiful . . . glad to have been [apart of it] . . . Anyone else feeling like all of it is a bit surreal? Having gone to and left the area when we did.” – Rajani Mohan


“Yes, so much so.” – Amelia Shillingford


“I struggle with putting my rambling thoughts and all sorts of feelings into words that make sense in text and in voice. So, I admire people that can speak effortlessly and engaging, even telling the simplest stories.

One of those people is Calvin.

Calvin’s writing is captivating. In his latest blog post about Syria, the trip I had the privilege of being a part of, captures all the feels I had and the things I miss about the surreal week we shared together in a wonderful country. Have a read!I love it a lot!” – Melinda Kwok


“Hi! Just wanted to personally thank you for inviting me to the Syria trip. My heart still feels so full. I feel humbled and grateful at the same time! Beyond the amazing group of new people I met, my eyes have been even-more opened to the beauty and importance of traveling and experiencing other cultures. I can’t believe Syria was my 4th country to ever visit!

I think this trip has been one of the most monumental moments of my life thus far, and I cannot wait to see more of the world. Thank you!

My heart is still so full lol 😭❤️” – Chris Franz


“I had a great time and glad I signed up…Everyone was very welcoming!” – Leshawn Anderson


“Thank you Ophelia and Calvin for an AMAZING week in Syria!” – Melinda Kwok


“You make my life much more hopeful and complete. It’s your special day, but you’re the gift.” – Chris Franz

Destination Arrival
1 Tenerife, Canary Islands November 25, 2023
2 Gran Canaria, Canary Islands November 28, 2023


Paul “Dominic Toretto” Woo, Ainsley “Backseat Sleeper” Martin, Kimmy “Pitchers of Sangría” Wu, Sabrina “Glass of Vino Tinto” Cheng


“Thank you for making the trip an experience.” – Paul Woo

“Thank you all. Hope everyone enjoyed this trip. Thank you Calvin for organizing this trip.” – Sabrina Cheng

Destination Arrival
1 Lagos, Nigeria December 29, 2023
2 Badagry, Nigeria December 30, 2023
3 Cotonou, Benin December 30, 2023
4 Abomey, Benin December 31, 2023
5 Ganvie, Benin December 31, 2023
6 Ouidah, Benin December 31, 2023
7 Togoville, Togo January 2, 2024
8 Lomé, Togo January 2, 2024
9 Accra, Ghana January 5, 2024
10 Cape Coast, Ghana January 4, 2024
11 Kakum National Park, Ghana January 5, 2024
12 Accra, Ghana January 5, 2024
13 São Tomé, São Tomé & Príncipe January 7, 2024
14 Príncipe, São Tomé & Príncipe January 8, 2024
15 São Tomé, São Tomé & Príncipe January 9, 2024
16 Libreville, Gabon January 10, 2024
17 Douala, Cameroon January 11, 2024
18 Malabo, Equatorial Guinea January 12, 2024


Letti “Deepak Chopra” Hale, Sandy “Don’t Forget To Smell the Fried Chickens” Rie, Lauren “Sacred Fores” Lee, Priyanka “Flagstaff” Shetty


“I had too much fun on this trip, Calvin” – Lauren


“Everything has been amazing” – Letti Hale


“This trip is already so memorable. I love it.” – Lauren Lee


“Thank you for making this trip so effortless!” – Letti Hale


“Dear lovelies,

I am grateful for the grace, smiles, patience, passion, and warm hearts you shared with me

It was one of the most memorable trips for me because of you

Much gratitude for your presence & sharing

I wish you nothing but love, peace, happiness, joy, and good health

“See you on the road” – Jack Kerouac

“We are all walking each other home” – Ram Dass


much love.” – Lauren Lee


“My people. I didn’t get to say goodbye 🙁 I’ll see you soon! Thanks for an amazing adventure. Just landed in Cairo – missing y’all. – Letti Hale


“Safely landed in HK!! Miss you guys already.” – Sandy Rie