The Day That Never Happened

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This blog entry was originally posted on February 28, 2005.

DAY IN LIMBO:  Remember this conversation in India from Day 386: Trinidad. Erik Trinidad.?:

“Which way are you going?” [Bea from the Miami Ski Club] asked me [en route to Udaipur’s Lake Palace].

“The way that you earn a day.”

“What do you mean?”

“You know how when you cross the International Date Line [across the Pacific from the west] and you lose a day but then you gain it back?” I said.  “I’m only gaining a day.”

Yes, I had found a way to cheat the rotation of the world, play God, and teleport instantaneously like they do in Star Trek — without having to lose a day either.  According to the calculations of my booking on Zuji.com, the transit time going from Singapore to Vancouver — factoring in a layover in Taiwan, time zones, and crossing over the International Date Line — I’d depart on Friday morning at 8:10 a.m. and arrive at the very same time on the very same Friday morning.  My entire journey from Asia back to North America would happen all on a day that never happened.


FOR A DAY THAT NEVER HAPPENED, it was a pretty eventful one.  The Singapore Mass Rapid Transit train didn’t take me directly to the terminal of China Airlines like I thought it would, so I had to hop on the inter-terminal SkyTrain to transfer.  On the way, I saw that my flight bound for my layover city of Taipei would leave on time at 0810 (picture above). 

Check-in with my e-ticket should have been easy, but Sun Liu Xu, the friendly woman at the China Airlines desk asked for the printed e-ticket receipt. 

“I don’t have one.  It’s an e-ticket.”

“That’s okay.”  She processed my check-in, tagged my bag, and printed me a boarding pass — but couldn’t exactly give it to me just yet.  The Canadian government had posted a flag on their computer system insisting that any passenger entering the country had to have proof of onward travel.

“Do you have an onward ticket?” asked Sun Liu Xu’s supervisor.

“Yeah, it’s an e-ticket,” I said.  “Air Canada.”

“Where is the receipt?”

“I didn’t print it out.”

“[You need a printed receipt.]”

“I got an e-ticket so I wouldn’t have to deal with paper.”  I argued and pleaded and told them I could just show them my confirmation on my laptop if there was a wi-fi connection in the building — there was, only I didn’t have a subscription to it — but no matter, they let me slide anyway provided that I find internet access to get it printed before my connecting flight in Taipei.


IT WAS A SHORT FOUR-HOUR FLIGHT to Taipei Chiang Kai-Shek International AirportHa, I remember when four hours in transit seemed long; that’s nothing now —  which I spent furiously working with my clamped iBook on Blog duties until my battery was near dead.  I was days behind as usual and wanted to get at least one up before the long remainder of flight time; I hoped that in my hour-long layover in the airport there would be a fast internet connection to get it uploaded, and to hopefully print out that proof of onward travel for Canadian immigration as requested.

The hour allotted for the flight connection was just enough time to get from one terminal to the other and check-in with just a little time to spare — or to check-in and rush through an internet session.  “Is there an internet point around here somewhere?” I asked the English-understanding woman at the transfer desk. 

“No.”

“Aw…”

“If you have a laptop…”

“Oh, is there wi-fi?”

“Yes.”  She told me it was available in the terminal I needed to go to, which was a good thing.  However, when I picked up the signal, nothing was connecting.  I tried over and over for a good amount of time with no avail, and it was no help that I had no juice left in the battery — plus attaching and removing the clamp on and off to keep the screen lit was sort of annoying since I kept moving from place to place seeing if it’d make a difference.

“Is there wi-fi here?” I asked the cafe near Gate D6, soon boarding the on-time flight bound for Vancouver in five minutes.

It caught me off guard, but the Taiwanese employees barely knew any English, and the conversation was a lot of smiles and nods and hand gestures.  Eventually they got it and showed me the wi-fi server behind the counter.

“Oh, okay,” I acknowledged.  Suddenly I was up and running, but ran out of juice and had to go running for an outlet in the other direction from my plane.  C’mon you bastard.  Time’s running out.  Plug, plug, clamp.  Then the connection went out.  What the fuck?  I fiddled with the whole thing again with no luck and frantically ran back to the gate.

“Vancouver?” asked the guy at Gate D6 when I rushed back not to board, but to find out what the point-of-no-return was. 

“What’s the last time I can board?  I need to get to the internet!”  I was getting pretty frantic for no real good reason — I had completely forgotten about the “requirement” that I had to print out an e-ticket receipt for Canadian immigration — and was only thinking about The Blog. 

“Ten minutes before the flight, so 1:50,” the guy said at 1:41.

Nine minutes.  Get the entry up.  I flipped open the iBook to see if I could connect.  Nothing.  I ran over to the Taiwanese coffee counter.  “Uh, can you reset the server?” 

Blank stare.

“Uh…  off, then on,” I said with flicking hand gestures, one down, one up. 

“Ah,” the confused guy said, smiling.

“Off, on,” I repeated with the hand gestures.

“Oh,” he giggled.  He motioned me to look behind the counter; he had accidentally unplugged the internet connection temporarily to make a credit card authorization.  He did the old switcheroo — How do you say that in Taiwanese? — and soon I was back online — until my battery died and my screen went out. 

Run, plug, plug, clamp.  Three minutes.  Go go go!  Okay.  Copy.  Paste.  Save.  The photos were already on the server, which saved me lots of time.  I posted a quick comment, unclamped, unplugged, and dashed for the gate.  “Just go!” the gate guy said, recognizing me without checking out my boarding pass.  I was the last one to arrive on board, and without a printed proof of onward travel.  Luckily I had it handwritten somewhere, and later on I discovered that the Canadians didn’t even care to check.


IT WAS A NINE-HOUR FLIGHT from Taipei to Vancouver, across the International Date Line and back in time to the exact time that I left.  I spent most of that day in limbo handwriting entries, but was distracted too many times by China Airlines’ kick ass entertainment system; each individual seat (in coach) had an electronic touch-screen with a controller in front of it for video games, on demand movies, and TV shows you could start, play, fast forward, and rewind at your leisure.  There was also a fairly big music library of about fifty select CDs of every genre, where you could select tracks and put them in a playlist of your choosing, like in iTunes.  Amazing.  This isn’t my father’s airline!  (Wait, he never had an airline.)  Even better than that was that for take-off and landing, you could tune in and watch the feed from the camera mounted in front of the plane and see what the pilot sees. 

In those respects, the flight was pretty exciting, but otherwise it wasn’t.  I worked, I ate, I watched, I played, I slept, repeat.  I could make up tall tales of screaming children or barfing passengers, or even talk about a near miss collision, but none of that would be believable on a day that never happened anyway.

SAVE THE DATE; DAY 503 IS COMING.  MARCH 5, 2005, NYC.
CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE TRAILER. 
PLEASE R.S.V.P. WITH YOUR HEADCOUNT BY POSTING A COMMENT BELOW.






Next entry: Our Greatest Ally

Previous entry: The Beginning Of The End




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Comments for “The Day That Never Happened”

  • Sorry, this entry is a little unexciting; I just report the events—and it was a slow news day (that never happened).  Anyway, things will pick up in the next entry… about exciting CANADA! 

    (You read me right; I put “exciting” and “Canada” in the same sentence.)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/28  at  08:35 AM


  • This maybe a last first for me…....first but last…...............

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/28  at  12:11 PM


  • First!! Wahoo! I don’t know what I’m going to do at work now to waste time, I need to find a new blog…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/28  at  12:13 PM


  • Almost…...

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/28  at  12:15 PM


  • FIRST!!!

    From one excited Canadian!!!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/28  at  12:17 PM


  • Damn you…..

    From one disappointed Canadian….
    ;(

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/28  at  12:19 PM


  • Gaining a day without technically losing it… It’s like Bill and Ted…. woah

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/28  at  12:40 PM


  • TDOT:  most excellent!

    speaking of bill and ted, check out this awesome link for 80s shirts…i already ordered a few:

    http://www.80stees.com

    yes, you better believe i got the 16 candles “i love jake ryan” shirt.  where is he now?  i don’t even see him in those VH1 specials.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/28  at  01:35 PM


  • couldn’t we all use a “day that never happened” ... my soundtrack for this upcoming lost would be “Garden State” fits the mood I think ...

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/28  at  02:12 PM


  • This entry was exciting for me- I’m in the process of booking a ticket on China Airlines to Bangkok for Golden Week (week of holidays in Japan).  Whehoo!  Video games!  I’m getting excited about my flight now!

    Posted by Liz  on  02/28  at  02:28 PM


  • china airlines and taipei airport…brings back memory of our last trip to the philippines when people that erik and i were twins…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/28  at  02:54 PM


  • Stephanie, Jake Ryan is married with kids & is a carpenter living in anonymity in Pennsylvania. Awesome link, I may just have to buy the “Solid Gold Dancer” t shirt!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/28  at  07:03 PM


  • Speaking of T-Shirts…

    Erik: Are you going to be selling TGT t-shirts at 503 for all the procrastinators who had 16 months to buy one but have now run out of time?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/28  at  07:35 PM


  • AMY:  thanks for the update!  I can’t even remember if he made any other movies, but man did I love Jake Ryan!  I’m about to get some “Goonies” shirts too.  Too bad I didn’t see any for “Spaceballs”.

    TDOT:  Good one!  Hope there are some shirts to be sold at 503 - still hoping I make it :o(

    Posted by stephanie  on  02/28  at  07:55 PM


  • Hey eeeeee!!!!!

    What time at Slainte buddy??

    Posted by Claudia/ PhotoChick  on  02/28  at  08:14 PM


  • All TGT2 Apparel and Paraphernalia can ONLY be purchased online.

    However, I do believe there are two (2) t-shirt giveaways at Day 503.

    Contest to be determined by the producers…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/28  at  08:15 PM


  • Hey Erik
    Been reading the blog for about a month now and i’d thought i’d get a post in before you finish up. Read about 2/3 of it (which is quite a lot in a month). And i just like to congratulate you on what i think is an excellent travelogue. You clearly spend a lot of time and effort on this and it shows.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/28  at  10:23 PM


  • Hey Erik
    Been reading the blog for about a month now and i’d thought i’d get a post in before you finish up. Read about 2/3 of it (which is quite a lot in a month). And i just like to congratulate you on what i think is an excellent travelogue. You clearly spend a lot of time and effort on this and it shows.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/28  at  10:24 PM


  • Were you mildly disappointed with Canada Customs?
    I expected, and therefore found myself wishing, to be paid particular attention to.  Come examine MY luggage!  I’ve been in Asia for 6 months!  Pick me, pick me!

    Good thing they didn’t check because I was way over my liquor allowances and had smuggled some red bull (the good shit) in my carry on…

    I am sending TdOt to day 503 in my stead.  Go forth and represent us Canadians eh, TdOt.

    That’s aboot it.  Over and out.

    Posted by Erik from Vancouver  on  02/28  at  10:54 PM


  • I arrived before I left, by the way.  Left at 6pm, arrived at 9am, same day.  Go figure.

    Posted by Erik from Vancouver  on  02/28  at  10:56 PM


  • HA HA. I know what you mean about wanting to be picked at customs.  I arrived into Miami after 7 months away from the US and went through US customs more easily than going through the drive thru at Taco Bell…. the guy just said “wow you’ve been gone a long time.” I said “yes, I’ve been traveling around the world!” he said “Must be nice. Welcome home.”

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/28  at  11:51 PM


  • Hey Fuzzy,

    I will be at your party, me plus 1.

    Warren

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/01  at  01:48 AM


  • i thought China Airline had the worst safety record of all major airlines in terms of crashes.    but who cares,  awesome entertainemet is good enough for me!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/01  at  03:18 AM


  • what’s the best way to get to Slainte(by car) from Lodi, NJ?  i’m near i-80, 17, and 46.

    Posted by Alyson  on  03/01  at  03:26 AM


  • hey, erik!  won’t be able to be there for your homecoming, but I’ll be there in “spirits” **) if you give me your full address I can send the package to.  drop me an e-mail. or visit my blog when you get a chance!  take care & enjoy!

    Posted by ravissant  on  03/01  at  03:31 AM


  • I’m back in LA, arrived one hour after I left Bangkok on the longest March 1 on record - holy cow.

    I had no problems with the first part of customs, but when I had to clear the last part, with stuff to declare (I had none) and they said, “We need to talk to you, Noelle… head over there.” They talked to me for 25 minutes and made notes in my passport file!! B/c I didn’t have much stuff, I was traveling alone, and went to Thailand, Laos and Cambodia… I just wonder what will happen to you, Erik… kinda think I should come to the airport to watch it all go down. wink

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/01  at  04:51 AM


  • JAMES TAYLOR:  Wow, just in under the wire!  Welcome to The Beginning of the End of the Fellowship of The Blog.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/01  at  05:53 AM


  • PC:  I’m surprised how many people are asking “What time is the party?”  It’s a BAR…  come when you feel like drinking.

    (I understand this means 9 a.m. for some of you, but I’ll be there around 7-8 p.m.ish…)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/01  at  05:59 AM


  • THE OTHER ERIK / MICHELLE:  I’m actually really scared to see how my immigration re-entry into the states will be; twice on the road, feds have thought my passport is fake because it’s the old style and it’s all beat-up… in a way it does look fake…  Plus I have enough bootlegs on me—they seem to be the new reason to bust people now (at least in Australia, Holland and Germany, so I’m hearing)...

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/01  at  06:03 AM


  • BUZZ:  Funny you should say that; two other people warned me of China Airlines (after I bought the ticket)...  I’ve had nothing but the best service on China Airlines, even in coach—call that an official The Global Trip endorsement for them.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/01  at  06:06 AM


  • RAVISSANT:  Fire me an e-mail and I’ll reply…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/01  at  06:10 AM


  • ALYSON:  If you plan on drinking that night, I’d say take the PATH in from Hoboken or JC..  otherwise take the Holland Tunnel to Canal Street and turn onto Bowery…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/01  at  06:12 AM


  • ALYSON - If driving, GWB the FDR, to Houston St exit, then right on Bowery..

    SLAINTE is SE corner of Bowery and E 1st St.

    What time is the party?  Come around 8ish to the back area…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/01  at  09:46 AM


  • EvK: Sorry you’re not coming… I’ll do my best!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/01  at  12:17 PM


  • Erik:  You are back just in time for AR7.  Did you see the first episode?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/01  at  02:41 PM


  • erik, why dont you just mail all your bootlegs and other stuff to your bro?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/01  at  02:46 PM


  • Will you continue to post on the blog of your daily events when you get back home? I’m sure you will have many adventurous stories to share. wink

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/01  at  04:03 PM


  • JANICE:  There’s a rumor I heard that AR7 is “the final season”... is that true?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/01  at  04:08 PM


  • SCOTT:  I’m told the key to beating the bootleg bust is to just keep everything in a CD wallet, which I’ve done…  We’ll see what happens…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/01  at  04:12 PM


  • erik: so how many Frequent Flyer miles do you have? enough to travel the world for free?

    have fun this weekend, welcome back smile

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/01  at  04:15 PM


  • DTELLA:  I really thought about continuing the TGT Blog about “normal life” back at home; as you are probably aware, in my “normal life” back in metro NYC I have many different things going on—enough variety that it’s never really routine—to make a Blog interesting instead of the usual Woke Up, Went To Work, Went to Happy Hour for, I Don’t Remember After That.  (This is because “Going out for one” [drink], means going out UNTIL one [a.m.])

    If the entries were to continue, it’d be in a separate Blog; I really want to leave TGT2’s Blog on a high note and leave it as a separate, complete entity for any of those new readers that I seem to be getting daily.

    I’m sort of leaning towards NOT doing this; keeping a daily Blog interesting not only leads to potential stalkers, but is a LOT of work, and I think I’d rather use that time sleeping—or playing Metal Gear Solid 3. 

    (Red rum, red rum…)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/01  at  04:23 PM


  • NIKKIJ:  Actually not that many; most of the trip was overland…  The only big chunks of FF miles I earned were leaving N. America and coming back.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/01  at  04:26 PM


  • ERIK: who knew!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/01  at  04:28 PM


  • I say everyone surprise erik with a massive posting on Friday before leaving work.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/01  at  08:35 PM


  • Erik - I was going to say the same thing - mail your bootlegs (no guarantee that they’ll get through even then, though) to Markyt and see if they arrive.

    And for China Airlines - I had great service to and from Bangkok - no problems. I even had the fun video games from BKK to Taipei, not all the way across the Pacific, though - DAMNIT!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/01  at  09:25 PM


  • And on the AR7 rumour - I would highly doubt it - it gets good ratings and no network has a real desire to kill a show with relatively good ratings - it’s too risky. But that’s my 2 cents from LA-LA-Land.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/01  at  09:30 PM


  • I finally finished reading your blog last week and am currently on the second go around catching all the nuances and looking at the photos. Got your link from the Thorn Tree while researching RTW info.  Instead of telling you how good your stuff was, I think I will use your travels as a “Insert Travel guide here.”  Hopefully you take that as a compliment.  I plan on quitting/getting fired/getting laid off mid April so your info is perfect timing.

    In regards to the continuation of the Blog, could you possibly do a “making of the TGT,” stuff like the net cost of the trip, pre-arrangements- how to get that Russian Visa,  type and size of backpack, stuff that was useful/useless. 

    Anyways, great stuff.

    “Die alive- not live dead.”

    Steve

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/01  at  09:31 PM


  • You know with all this coming to an end, many folks around here are asking me the same 2 questions “What’ll he do *next*?” and/or “How will he ever deal with going back to work?” Yeah, the real world is closing in on you pretty hard, buddy.

    Just remember…
                ... there is no spoon.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/01  at  09:50 PM


  • Though I appreciate the hot girls on the show, (AR)...it already seems like it’s gotten spoiled.  Doesn’t seem too ‘real’ or ‘natural’ anymore.  Commercialized?  Contrived?  I don’t know, hard to explain…

    Erik! You gotta let us know, at least, about your first week back, even if it’s only one post and on another blog! (Seems to me (not that that matters any) like a post or two would fit in here, it would be like an epilogue, where your pre-departure posts were the prologue.)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/01  at  10:17 PM


  • Erik:  I’ve asked around and no one seems to have heard the AR7 rumour.  I hope not, it’s one of the shows I really enjoy….......although I agree with Harry about it being too “staged.”  AR6 had too many models…......and were those women told to wear low cut tops all the time?  C’mon…........ratings or no ratings, it’s supposed to be REAL!  Some of those boobs were definately not REAL!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/01  at  11:18 PM


  • AR is getting bad….using other cbs reality show contestants just shows how bad it’s getting… nothing beats charla…. if they bring back charla, i will watch…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/01  at  11:52 PM


  • GREETINGS FROM UBC! 

    HARRY:  Don’t worry, I won’t end the TGT2 Blog without closure… there will be a few entries in the category “Re-Entry Syndrome.”

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/02  at  01:38 AM


  • STEVEN NAKANO:  Thanks, glad you enjoyed every bit of it.  I’ll think of a Guide to Backpackers page after DAY 503…

    Welcome to The Beginning of The End of The Fellowship of The Blog!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/02  at  04:10 AM


  • Tell me more about the salt flats that your walked on. An the salt hotel also!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/02  at  09:52 PM


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This blog post is one of over 500 travel dispatches from the trip blog, "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World (Or Until Money Runs Out, Whichever Comes First)," originally hosted by BootsnAll.com. It chronicled a trip around the world from October 2003 to March 2005, which encompassed travel through thirty-seven countries in North America, South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. It was this blog that "started it all," where Erik evolved and honed his style of travel blogging — it starts to come into focus around the time he arrives in Africa.

Praised and recommended by USA Today, RickSteves.com, and readers of BootsnAll and Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree, The Global Trip blog was selected by the editors of PC Magazine for the "Top 100 Sites You Didn't Know You Couldn't Live Without" (in the travel category) in 2005.


Next entry:
Our Greatest Ally

Previous entry:
The Beginning Of The End




THE GLOBAL TRIP GLOSSARY

Confused at some of the jargon that's developed with this blog and its readers over the years? Here's what they mean:

BFFN: acronym for "Best Friend For Now"; a friend made on the road, who will share travel experiences for the time being, only to part ways and lose touch with

The Big Trip: the original sixteen month around-the-world trip that started it all, spanning 37 countries in 5 continents over 503 days (October 2003–March 2005)

NIZ: acronym for "No Internet Zone"; a place where there is little to no Internet access, thus preventing dispatches from being posted.

SBR: acronym for "Silent Blog Reader"; a person who has regularly followed The Global Trip blog for years without ever commenting or making his/her presence known to the rest of the reading community. (Breaking this silence by commenting is encouraged.)

Stupid o'clock: any time of the early morning that you have to wake up to catch a train, bus, plane, or tour. Usually any time before 6 a.m. is automatically “stupid o’clock.”

The Trinidad Show: a nickname of The Global Trip blog, used particularly by travelers that have been written about, who are self-aware that they have become "characters" in a long-running story — like characters in the Jim Carrey movie, The Truman Show.

WHMMR: acronym for "Western Hemisphere Monday Morning Rush"; an unofficial deadline to get new content up by a Monday morning, in time for readers in the western hemisphere (i.e. the majority North American audience) heading back to their computers.

1981ers: people born after 1981. Originally, this was to designate groups of young backpackers fresh out of school, many of which were loud, boorish and/or annoying. However, time has passed and 1981ers have matured and have been quite pleasant to travel with. The term still refers to young annoying backpackers, regardless of year — I guess you could call them "1991ers" in 2013 — young, entitled millennials on the road these days, essentially.




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