From Dreary Weather to Clear Skies, Tornado Travelers Fly Down to Costa Rica

In previous years, Malden High School has been able to take trips internationally from China, Belize, Puerto Rico, and more. Advised by Shauna Campbell, Sarah Jones, & Chris Giordano, the Tornado Travelers were able to go to Costa Rica, arriving in the country over the February break.

The Tornado Travelers pose for a photo with evening folklore dancers. Photo from @tornadotravelers Instagram

For this year's trip, the Tornado Travelers and it’s members were able to take a trip to Costa Rica, flying out from Boston all the way to Costa Rica for eleven days, exploring part of the country with the help of locals.

The planning of the trip was made with ease, and no troubles were met along the way after setting the date back in 2022 when the trip was first introduced to students. 

“We offered it up to the students about two years ago to say, hey, in 2024, we're going to be going to Costa Rica; if you want to sign up, come to our meetings, talk to your parents, get yourself signed up and place your deposit,” said Giordano. 

As these trips are set in advance, Giordano explicated the importance of that time period in between for students to be able to raise the money over time, rather than having to pay upfront at once.

Once everyone had gotten to Costa Rica, the fun was set in motion as the Tornado Travelers were booked and busy with trips intended to explore a large portion of the area.

Upon arrival, the club had stayed in Liberia, where they had gone snorkeling. Not only that, but the club also got the chance to take a riverboat tour through wildlife preservations, getting to see certain wildlife such as crocodiles, birds, lizards, bats, and “lots of other cool animals,” as Giordano described. 

Other places that were visited on the trip included volcano sightseeing, venturing a chocolate plantation, kayaking, ziplining, going to the beach, visiting the city of Sarchi, and eating over the city. One of the smaller places the club got to visit was an elementary school, where everyone was able to take a dance class learning local dances, meringue, salsa, and bachata.

Since everyone as a whole was taking trips in many different parts of the country, they had also been hotel hopping around the whole country, not being able to stay still.

“There were five different hotel situations we were at, and pretty much how it went was we would be there for two days, and then we’d move to another one: two days, and move to another one: two days,” junior Lumi LeShane said. 

During the stay, one of the places the club was able to stay at was a ranch with nature overwhelming the whole place, having animals and many plants being grown outside.

A local Crocodile stops by the tour boat to say hello. Photo from @tornadotravelers Instagram

Throughout the constant movement and the club being together 24/7, friendships arose and many were able to closely bond with each other, and flourish friendships with each other. Not only amongst the students was there flourishment, but also amongst the teachers on the trip.

On the trip, people got to know each other on a more personal level, having conversations for long periods of time, getting to know each other moreover not just as peers from school, but individuals as well.

Because the Tornado Travelers had been traveling nationwide, many hours piled up of spending time on the bus together led to new conversations, and making connections. As well as from breakfast time when eating together, or eating out, conversations would be brought up naturally and people would link relations amidst each other. 

When teachers had also learned more about the students, they led each other to start wondering and talking about their hopes and dreams, achieving a significant amount of importance among everyone. With the teachers being able to learn a ton more about their students, so did the students get to know more about their teachers.

Everyone on the trip had gone from being complete strangers to each other, to being able to connect and relate about many things others couldn’t have guessed as a relation that would build a companionship. 

“You know, there were a lot of students that hadn't known each other before this trip. And now they're super close friends because that experience of traveling somewhere and experiencing something new is a really great bonding experience. You get to build relationships with people in a completely different way. And I think it's also really important for students to get out and explore the world. So many of us, we spend so much time living in our Boston/Malden bubble, that getting out and seeing what it's like in another country in another culture is really enriching and you can see and appreciate it,” Giordano stated. 

The Tornado Travelers pose with paddles before setting off on a white water rafting trip. Photo from @tornadotravelers Instagram

Adding on, “There were people in the club that I had only vaguely knew, that now whenever I see them in the halls I stop and I say ‘Oh Hi, what’s up, how are you?’ definitely getting closer with people,” Lumi said.

Taking this trip also made the perspective of some appreciate more, as they had been away from their loved ones, and homesick. The Tornado Travelers’ experience in Costa Rica was different for everyone, and having many different experiences may have given people new perspectives on many things. 

Next year, the Tornado Travelers will be going on a trip to London and Paris, advised by Paul Degenkolb, Yahaira Marquez, and Shannon Alexis. For more information and insights concerning next year's trip, students are encouraged to reach out to the advisors of the trip through email.

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