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Archive for the ‘Adventures’ Category

When’s the last time you woke up in the morning, packed an overnight bag, and just…went somewhere?

So often, we let days pass us by. We get pulled left and pulled right and all around meeting deadlines, getting things done, and perpetually rotating between what “has to get done” and “things I have to do.”

Look at the calendar and count back the days and find how many it has been since an entire day consisted of only things you WANTED to do.

How many days has it been?

This personal time is critical for growth. Personal time to pursue activities that you enjoy and that excite you makes you feel more complete, more capable.

Combine that with creating a sense of adventure – and now you have a real, life changing, eye-opening experience that will stay with you forever.

What if you had an entire day to work on you?

A self-sustaining adventure means to give yourself a day of adventure – a full day,

all to yourself. 

Self-Sustaining means self-sufficient. It means that you have with you and within you all that you need for an entire day of adventure on your own. Whether you pack a bag and head to a new coffee shop, go to the local climbing wall, or find a remote part of a park to spend your day, this day is for you to experience something new, reflect on what you’ve learned, and enjoy an entire day on your own.

What would your adventure be? 

Adventure consists of doing something you’ve never done before and providing moments of learning and new experiences for you to take with you and keep with you forever. Adventure is excitement, seeing things from a new angle, and trying new things.

What would you plan? 

Adventure doesn’t have to be hair-raising or terrifying. In fact, it doesn’t have to be out of this world at all. It just needs to be something new  and something that gets your heart rate going. 

For me, it was a trip to Burlington, VT.

I started planning my self-sustaining day. It took three weeks to find a day on the calendar that I could block out, cordone off, and refuse to schedule anything. I then grabbed my favorite pack and started throwing things I thought I might need into it. It looked something like this:

Packing the bag and getting out of town

An entire day by myself?? Not doing anything for anyone else?? What would I need for that? How would I entertain myself? I packed every electronic I could think of plus a journal, a pen, and the Kindle. What if it rained or what if I got cold? I packed sweaters and gloves and hats and scarves…

It’s important to keep this part simple. A self-sustaining day doesn’t mean you can’t reach out and engage with others or buy a new pair a gloves (which I did in Burlington, by the way). Self-sustaining means mentally prepare to be aware of your environment, actively engage in learning new things, and seek out new places you have never been.

I have been living two hours away from Burlington for six months and have been longing to visit. Burlington has a great music scene, is an organic-hippie kind of town with a central market and natural stores, and is pleasantly walkable. Great restaurants and quirky stores line the main promenade. Off the beaten path you’ll find colorful art installments, tattoo shops, community centers, and cozy little coffee shops. I was excited to be in this new and vibrant place.

But where was my adventure??

I had no clue. I hadn’t gotten that far in the planning and the day snuck up on me before I figured the adventure part of the whole self-sustaining day out. I started brainstorming…Get a new tattoo? No. Rummage sales racks at the thrift store? Eh. That’s no adventure. Walk around aimlessly? Too cold. I decided to just play the day by ear and roll with it.

I ended up at Speeder & Earl’s Coffee House to start my day in a caffeinated way. I asked the woman for the strongest coffee they had and sat down with my coffee and some Words with Friends to try and get my head about me on this self-sustaining adventure.

The coffee roaster @ Speeder & Earl's

I sat staring at that machine wondering where to go now. I took a walk along the Church Street Marketplace and found all sorts of great shops.

Church Street Marketplace

My stomach growled when I passed The Three Tomatoes so I decided for an early lunch and some Kindle reading time. I was finally starting to relax and enjoy some time with my thoughts and being by myself. No adventure yet, or was there? I realized that just being in the moment, being by myself, wandering by myself and meeting new people and seeing new things on my own was an adventure in itself. I had coffee with the sunshine and was about to eat lunch with a fictional character from a story I was reading. I met new people and was able to spend extra time chatting with the barista and learning about Burlington from the eyes of my waitress at The Three Tomatoes.

Three Tomatoes, Church Street Marketplace

My adventure became an experience through other peoples’ eyes.

How were people viewing me? Alone and chatty and curious? Where I was to go next depended solely on the conversation I was having with a stranger now. My heart rate had definitely gone up. Going on advice from my young and friendly waitress, I headed over to the City Market. City Market is an organic grocery store that blows Whole Foods out of the water. This place is legit. First, they were serving gluten free mini-cupcakes at the front door followed up with organic milk to wash it down. I almost blew a gasket when I saw that you could grab some peanuts from the bulk bin and make your own peanut butter. Hello, peanut butter adventure! Passing by the boxed stuff isles, I stopped in my tracks when I saw this:

HIPPIE COOLER?!?

These people obviously know their market. I wanted to buy one of each item just to support hippies being included in their marketing strategy. Arms full of organic soap, gluten free pretzels, and some hippie friendly items, I checked out and threw my things into a re-usable bag and headed out the door. I felt success! I felt excited! I felt that I had found a place that said, “Hey, Christine! This place is for people like YOU!”

I needed that.

Yea, I know. It’s not crazy out of this world adventure. I didn’t try anything crazy scary. But I did do something new. And I learned something new about myself – I like being around people like me. And apparently, Burlington has a whole community of people like me. Enough to open up a grocery store full of opportunity to think and feel and purchase in a healthy, eco-conscious way. Why hadn’t I been doing this kind of exciting connection-making at home?!?

 Because I needed to try something new before I understood.

After that, I had the confidence to get off the beaten path. I walked down some side streets, got out of town…and just…wandered while munching on some yogurt covered pretzels. And that’s when my adventure happened.

There was a man in a tattered jacket all bundled up riding a bicycle shopping cart. Somehow, he had taken a shopping cart and attached it to a bicycle. Thus, making a “bicycle shopping cart.” He wouldn’t tell me his name and wouldn’t let me take a picture of the bike but it was a piece of work. Fully functioning with pink streamers and hubcap lined cart art, This piece of machinery was colorful, creative, and practical. He loads it up with recyclables, instruments, clothing, anything that needs to be moved from one place to another. He told me that it took a long time to collect all of the “artwork” that he had decorated the bike with. Our conversation was short and I felt awkward having stopped him to ask about his bike but he said that most people just stare so he was happy to tell me about the bike. He took the shopping cart from the grocery store and got the bike from a friend and said it made sense to put them together. A shopping cart bicycle. I told him the trend would more than likely catch on. Just look at what they are doing in Copenhagen!

Cargo bike for all types of hauling

I said goodbye to my new friend and the new adventure and started heading home as the sun started dipping behind the buildings on Church Street.

Goodbye, Burlington

Self-Sustaining Adventure Day…Complete.

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How I Found my Way Back to Adventure as a Stay-at-Home Mother
by Abigail Anderson 

The day I turned twenty, I bought my first car.  It was a white 1991 Honda Accord, with only 99,000 kilometers on it.  Within the first year I owned it, I added another 50,000 kilometers to the odometer and many more in the years that followed.

In my early twenties, I travelled anywhere my little car could take me, and my adventurous spirit would lead me.  It took me to numerous towns where I could try out independence as a young adult; it carried me home when I missed my Mom and Dad; it brought me closer to old friends who had moved away to form their own adventures and to new friends whose adventures were crossing paths with mine; and it carried me from one new job to another so that I could discover my skills, abilities, and passions in this life.

It’s been twelve years now since I bought my first car for my 20th birthday.  I still have the car, though it doesn’t see many adventures anymore.  These days, a little worse for wear and speckled with rust, the odometer slowly climbs to the 400k mark as it takes my husband to and from work, so I can enjoy the first few years of my children’s lives before they start wanting independence of their own.

But I digress.

This story is not about a car.  It’s about a journey, and even though my wonderful little car carried me safely to each destination my wandering heart desired, somewhere along the road, I forgot I was the one driving the car…

When I was 24, I went back to school, and I met my future husband.  Within a few years, we bought our first house, got married, and had two beautiful children.  This was the life I had always dreamed of.

So now what?

I started feeling lost, purposeless, and guilty – guilty that I felt purposeless while being a mother to two helpless and wonderful babies, and lost because it never occurred to me to have a ‘next’ goal after having children. It was as if in my mind, my life would be complete at that moment on, and forever more.

Needless to say, I was in need of an awakening of the spirit.  As a mother, I simply knew it wasn’t enough.  How was I going to teach my children to pursue their dreams and achieve their goals if I was too chicken to step out and show them not only how it’s done, but that it’s important?  How but by taking risks, would I teach them if the reward is great, the effort is easy.

Although I had become aware that I needed to start pursuing goals in my life again, the thought of taking any risks was terrifying.  It had been so long since I’d had any adventures.  I hadn’t met any new people in years; I hadn’t been to any new places, or travelled on my own; and because I was a stay-at-home mom, I hadn’t been supporting myself financially either.

So, I started small.  To get inspiration, I read story upon story of women and mothers who are taking the adventurous road, following their passions, and facing their fears.  To grow, I challenge myself.  I challenge myself physically by learning about fitness; I challenge myself mentally by picking up some new hobbies like painting, and going back to some old hobbies like playing guitar, writing, and crafting; I challenge myself psychologically by opening up to people about my goals and dreams and in so doing, I hold myself accountable to loved ones who have my back; and finally, I challenge myself emotionally by learning new skills to increase my compassion and understanding for both myself and for others.

I am driving the car again.

Even though my adventures look very different from the ones I had in my early twenties, I feel excited, scared, and every bit as uncertain as I did then.  But, from those small steps through the door to adventure, I am once again finding meaning in my life.  I am becoming braver with every step I take and change has once again become a love in my life.  I am filled by a sense of mystery and anticipation of what my life will look like in the coming days, months, and years.  With compassion for myself, I move forward knowing that though I will stumble here and there, memories will be created, and others will be inspired just as I have been by all the brave women I read about and hear about on a daily basis.

Final thoughts….

Whether your idea of an adventure is trotting the globe, getting out and meeting new people, or doing something different from anything you’ve ever done before, if you don’t open the door, you’ll never get out of your box.  If you’re scared, do it anyway.  And remember: just as no two people are the same, no two adventures will ever be the same, so seek out your adventure, not someone else’s.

Abigail E. Anderson is a mother, wife, blogger, and motivator, who is constantly learning new ways to enrich her life through change.  She is currently working on her first novel. To learn more about change, find out more about her story, or to simply connect with another adventurer, visit ChangedbyChange.com.

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Creating Your Own Self-Sustaining Day

I often read blogs about adventure and travel to remind myself that life itself is an adventure. We so easily get lost in our daily lives, our daily routines, and our daily obligations that adventure seems so far away and excitement seems like something we’ll just have to get to on the weekend.

One of the blogs I follow often is from a couple that sold all of their belongings, quit their jobs, and began traveling the country in an RV. They tell great stories, have met some pretty amazing people, and have practical advice on how to follow through on living your dreams. One post, 7 Lessons from a Year on the Road, reminds us of something incredibly important:

Lesson #1: How easy it is to not follow your dreams “Inertia is an incredibly powerful force. It’s far easier to follow a routine, even a hated one, than it is to do something risky, unfamiliar, and meaningfully different.”

Challenge: Give yourself a day of adventure – a full day, all to yourself to find that experience that is meaningfully different. 

Self-Sustaining means self-sufficient. It means that you have with you and within you all that you need for an entire day of adventure on your own. This adventure is yours to own. What is it that you’ve been wanting to try? Where is it that you would want to go? How would you like to spend your day? Whether you pack a bag and head to a new coffee shop, go to the local climbing wall, or find a remote part of a park to spend your day, this day is for you to experience something new, reflect on what you’ve learned, and enjoy an entire day on your own.

So far, the Roam Your Soul workshop has had three themed adventures:
1) Seeing things from a new angle
2) Being an advocate
3) Taking Risks Makes a Woman Strong

A self-sustaining adventure: you create it, you plan it, you do it.

Basic Rules for a self-sustaining day:

1. You must pack everything you’ll need for the entire day. Nothing should be purchased along the way and all essentials are at your finger tips in your day pack or bag.

2. Make the adventure meaningful. Test your comfort zone. Get out of the routine.

3. Make time for reflection. Build quiet moments into your day. Write, draw, video blog. Find a way to express your thoughts on your experience. Engage in the process and the adventure.

4. Find an adventure that speaks to your own soul.

So, join us in the experience. Get your daypack out, pack it full of your essentials, and head out to enjoy your very own solo, self-sustaining adventure.

Want to share your self-sustaining adventure story? E-mail: christine@roamlife.com


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It’s the dead of winter and as I type the wind is howling and snowflakes are bumping up against my window. It’s sub-zero temperatures and my bones ache from cold and all the while I’m seriously jonesing to get on my bike. I’ve lost all touch with my biking buddies, I don’t remember the last time I’ve stepped foot in a bicycle shop and I’m starting to feel lonely.

Bicycling is more than just about being on the bike. It’s about the entire culture that goes with it. It’s a way of living. It’s a part of who you are.

The Bike(s). They are extensions of you. Each bike holds a special place and has a special relationship with you. Your first bike, your road bike, your downhill bike, your ‘get over anything’ bike…doesn’t matter. This bike defines and expresses who you are and what you’ve accomplished. Each scratch, each mud mark, each wear on the cog has a story. It’s more than just a machine. You and the bike work together and finish rides together. It’s with you when you struggle, there to blame when you fail, and there to stand tall in the picture as evidence of surviving that epic ride.

The ‘Flow.’ What is so addicting about biking is that rhythmic, exhilarating, flying through the air state of ‘flow’ that is created when your feet start moving in that familiar circular motion. The tingling in my arms, the stretch of my lips as I break into a grin (or grimace), the burn in my legs, and the air in my lungs are all incredibly present when I’m on my bike. Fear, pride, excitement, accomplishment, FUN…I want to stand up and give a “WOOHOO!!!!” just thinking about it.

The Bicycle Shop. We all have our favorite. The place where everyone knows your name and the mechanic can tell you the entire repair history on your road bike, mountain bike, and single speed in less than 30 seconds. It’s where you meet pre-ride, where you run in to change your clothes…your home away from home. You can come in muddy, bloody, loud, laughing, or crying…you’ll get the same raucous welcome. Somehow, this cozy, supportive home is abandoned when your bicycles sit in the corner of your living room, ignored.

The Peeps. Recently, Sh*t fill in the blank videos have been going viral. Shi*t Mountain Bikers Say and Sh*t Bicyclists Say made me laugh so hard I think I really did give a little pee down there. Roadies take themselves too seriously (and get made fun of by mountain bikers) and mountain bikers don’t take anything seriously (and thus are completely crazy). The truth is, eventually, the roadies sneak over to the other side (the funner side…) and the mountain bikers begrudgingly slide over to the ‘dark side.’ In the end, we’re all bikers which makes us all part of the big happy family. When you challenge yourself, work hard to accomplish something, and physically make it through…you all come out supporting each other and respecting each other. We bike for the love of biking. We bike because we don’t know how else we would live. There are key people in every community that are involved in building, supporting, loving, and participating in the bicycling communities around the world that make it possible for the rest of us to come together. They keep the trails open, create the community events, raise the money, raise the awareness, and advocate for a better tomorrow.

The trails. If there were more non-car paved trails in this country, I would be able to say, “I love road trails!” but there aren’t. I will say, “I would love to ride road trails!” but it’s not in the cards for where I live right now. But really, my heart lies in the woods. I love dirt trails. I love twisty, windy smooth singletrack. I love gnarly, rooted, rocky downhill. I even love when I sailed over my handlebars and slammed into that tree in Vermont. I love the smells, the colors, the sounds…I love being in the forest and riding as fast as I can on my bike. I have my favorite trails, my secret trails, my group ride trails, trails on my wishlist, trails for breakfast, trails for lunch…

My bike is me. I am my bike.

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When I started Roam Your Soul, it was imperative to me to define why this project was so important to me. Why only women? Why outdoors? Why online? Why an adventure format?

It all came down to one important factor:

As women, taking educated risks that challenge our comfort zones, make us take in a breath of fresh air, and help us connect to one another will help us manifest into who we want to be in this world.

Connecting to other amazing women inspires us to share our amazing abilities as well. That’s why, upon starting Roam Your Soul, I began searching for amazing women doing amazing things all around the country. One of my first encounters was with Rachel and Jessica from Against the Grind. I found their blog post on GirlBikeLove and immediately became one of their biggest cheerleaders and fans. NOT avid bicyclists, NOT exceptionally wealthy, and NOT exceptionally crazy…these two ladies took off on a cross-country bicycle journey and are still on the road.

This week, our adventure challenge comes from two of the bravest women I know: Rachel & Jessica. A big thanks to them for being so inspiring and for being a part of the Roam Your Soul Project. They’ve gotten so much support from the bicycling communities they have encountered on the road that part of our challenge this week is to connect to our own bicycling communities. It’s time to connect to yours as well. Look up the bicycling association in your neighborhood, visit that location bike shop. Get on a bike. Talk about the bicycling community in your own town. Connecting to a bicycling community is an incredible way to connect to others and build adventure in your life!

 

Dirt Rag, Dirt Fest 2011

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When I woke up today, I regretted how I went to sleep. I went to sleep angry and frustrated. And that’s how I woke up.

Life can be disappointing.

and then I fell on the sidewalk on my way to work.

Son of a bitch.

If only my 11 hour day had been this easy...

I left work angry and frustrated.

Sense a pattern here?

So I decided to break the pattern.

to try and combat my rocky morning and 11 hour work day…I did a snow celebration dance. To prove society wrong about what I am supposed to live for.

And I felt a little better.

These feet, one day, will walk past this same spot again...and keep going. And THAT is what is going to keep me going... for now.

Trust your journey.

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Learning to advocate is an important part of becoming a complete person. We advocate for ourselves, we advocate for others, and we advocate for organizations. A focus of this workshop is to help develop the inner-advocate. In my line of work, I have found so often that girls, women, children do not know how to self-advocate or advocate for a cause they are passionate about. Where do you begin? How do you gain the confidence? How do you really make a difference? How do you make that educated risk? Week 2 of the Roam Your Soul workshop is all about that.

There are three steps in advocating:

First, we learn how to Self-Advocate: Being a self-advocate is how we get ourselves through and beyond life’s challenges. As a self-advocate we build self-efficacy, confidence and the ability to win/overcome challenges and barriers.

Then, we learn to Advocate for Another: Once we learn how to better our own situations and stand up for what we believe in, we move to advocating for those that are unable or unknowledgeable of how to do so. We find the friend who is in an abusive relationship and reach out a hand, we bring food to our church to hand out at Thanksgiving, and we begin to notice those around us that may need inspiration and we seek to provide it.

Then, we Advocate for an Organization/Group: We begin to realize that there are many more people in the world that have come from similar situations or haven’t had it as great as we have and we now want to make a bigger difference in a bigger population. We no longer can sit in our bubbles and do nothing while knowing that something can be done and is being done through wonderful organizations around the world. We become a pro-active advocate.

There are many ways to actively advocate:

Think outside the box. You can participate in a marathon, a march, a protest, a sit in, a walk or you can shout from the top of a building. Decide how you would like to advocate. Make contact with whom you would like to advocate. If it is yourself, do some journal reflecting and talk to your advocacy friend. If it is another person, reach out and discuss ways advocacy can occur. If it is an organization, make some phone calls and find out more about how you can be involved.

 

Being active is key to advocacy:

Follow through on your plan for advocacy. Climb that hill and shout from the rooftop. Make your signs and sit on the corner. Visit the community center and volunteer. Make advocacy an active part of your day.

Advocacy comes in many forms:

Each person expresses him or herself differently. We all have different skill sets and different experiences. Find what is meaningful to you and incorporate that with what you are good at. Students from MIT created a video game to discuss being gay, It Only Takes a Girl made a powerful video based on international statistics for women, She’s the First coordinated a rock concert to benefit girls’ education, and so many many more people have taken an idea and created a message.

What’s your message?

MIT: A Closed World, Video Game (Click the picture)

It Only Takes a Girl, A Short Film

She’s the First, a Short Film

She’s the First from She’s the First on Vimeo.

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[reblogged from the Against the Grind website]

Roam Your Soul – Expanding Women’s Empowerment

January 2nd, 2012 Posted by . Published under Website Profiles. No Comments.

 It’s been great to expand our readership over the past few months of riding.  We always expected this to happen, but it’s been a vital part of how we keep energized about the project.  One of the best relationships we’ve formed along these lines is with Christine Perigen.  She’s founded Roam Your Soul, an Online Adventure Workshop for Women.

It’s a place for women who “want to explore their daily lives with new eyes, experience adventure and roam their inner soul of who they are.  The workshop will help [women] on an internal adventure that results in soul growth and learning about [oneself] through daily explorations, weekly reflections, and the relationships [they] build.”

We want to share this great project with you all because we’re working with Christine to form a challenge for Week 3 based on Against The Grind.  Since we have similar goals – to inspire women to take more risks and push themselves to face challenges head on – this was a great match up for us.  And we think it’s a great match up for you too!  (I know we have a lot of male readers, and sorry that you can’t join, but you probably have women in your lives who might be interested in the Roam Your Soul workshop.)

Sign up here– $20 for the 4-week workshop:

If you’d like to use a New Year’s Resolution to be a bit better at facing challenges in 2012!  (You’ll get to see some videos we haven’t released yet too!) While we’re working with Christine in Week 3 in January, the registration for January is closed, but your chance to participate in February is still here! The workshop will run from Feb 17 – March 18 and we’ll be Week 3 again!

Overall, we mostly just like sharing stories, in any form, of women doing great things to break down the barriers and challenges we face each day!

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One of the major obstacles of adventure in our daily lives is how to find the time. Sounds silly, when I say it because isn’t this what makes life FUN? Shouldn’t we ALWAYS have time for fun?

The reality, of course, is that fun is the first element of our daily lives to go when we are busy, stressed, working, and have full to-do lists to complete.

Compound this with the fact that it’s now winter and daylight is at a minimum and now we are a bunch of non-fun ninnies all of a sudden.

Several of us are gearing up for a women’s workshop to begin December 15th that  focuses on a weekly adventure and reflection. Several of us may be asking ourselves, “How am I going to take some time out for my adventures?” In response, I have come up with a list that might just help you out:

Wake up 30 minutes earlier than usual. I know, this is a tough request. We’re already sleep-deprived, stressed and have a full day ahead of us. And for people like me, I am a COMPLETE non-morning person. I sleep until the last possible moment and then wake up angry on a regular basis just because I have to get up. Lately, I’ve trained myself to set the alarm 30 minutes early (and honestly I wake up 20 minutes earlier…snooze 1X!!) and I’m now able to enjoy a cup o’ joe with my man. And this makes me happy and I start my work day HAPPIER. Stay with me people…I know this is a post on how to have an ADVENTURE and I have a point that connects to this. See formula below.
While at work, take advantage of your breaks. Tear yourself away from work and actually walk or ride your bike somewhere – most beneficially, outside. If you can, combine your breaks and take one long break (good time to sneak in an adventure, too!) This helps your  blood flow, your brain wake up, and stress to go down amongst a plethora of other positives.

Before you come home, plan for some time to yourself. Hire a babysitter, arrange for chores to get done, do what you have to do to schedule in an hour of time for just YOU.

Make a wish list of activities. What are the things you wish you could do that you never get to? Your adventure doesn’t have to be crazy or exhilarating. It can be calming and relaxing, too. Make your decision. Do you want excitement and movement or calm and relaxing?

Put your wishlist in several places that will remind you to schedule it in. Have daily or weekly goals. What is really important to you to try and do this week? Is it to finish a book in the bath tub? Go for a hike? Sign up for a new class? Put it on your  calendar and schedule it in as a goal.

The biggest and most important aspect of daily adventures is making the adventure a priority. Take the steps and complete the actions to make sure that the adventure isn’t just a possibility – it’s a given. Avoid excuses. Plan for variables. If you scheduled a night hike but it’s too dark and too late – take a head lamp, a flash light and a shoulder bag and go for a hike or walk anyway. If you planned to have coffee with a friend and they cancelled, go have the coffee anyway.

The adventure rests within you. You just have to give it a little space to come out and dance.

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