Jesreen Sidhu

Meet Karen: Globe-Trotter & Travel Agent

Karen is a globe-trotter and travel agent who can make your travel dreams come true. Her personal travels have taken her to over 50 countries, spanning six continents, and in a variety of travel styles from adventure backpacking (both independently and with a group), budget travel, packaged tours, luxury travel, and solo globetrotting. She is behind the inspiring blog and website: Solo World Wanderer.

Introduce yourself: what do you do and where do you come from?

My name is Karen, and I am from San Francisco, California!

When did you start traveling?

I started traveling at a young age.  When I was 15 or 16, I finally convinced my parents to take me to Europe.  The one caveat was that I had to book and plan the whole trip. This was before the days of the internet, so I researched fares through the Sunday travel section and rang up travel agents myself.

What was your favorite travel experience?

Just one?  Over landing in Sub-Saharan Africa, visiting the more off the beaten path parts of Sri Lanka. Exploring Spain’s small towns and villages, also off the beaten path.
Madrid | Jozu For Women | Solo Wander World

Which place(s) do you want to go next, why?

I think India and Nepal will be the next “big one.”  Sri Lanka prepared me for India, and I love Indian food.  I want to experience the culture, colors, smells, and people first hand.  And Nepal just looks amazing with its national parks and Himalaya scenery.

Who do you prefer traveling with?

Solo!  I will sometimes take a short trip with friends, or do a trip with G Adventures to a country that I don’t want to travel solo in (or don’t have time to plan), but I prefer solo travel. Traveling on my terms without compromise.

What is your main concern when traveling solo?

Prices.  It is cheaper to split costs on certain things such as rental cars and hotel rooms.  I am too old for shared room hostels, so I always spring for a private room.
Thailand | Jozu For Women | Solo Wander World

What is your worst travel memory? Or country you would not recommend for solo women travelers?

My last time in Central America was a really tough go.  While I loved Panama, Costa Rica, and El Salvador, I had no travel chemistry with Guatemala.  It is also a place I do not recommend as I was constantly harassed there. I am quite well traveled and have been to plenty of developing countries, but Guatemala did nothing for me, and for one of the only times ever, I was excited to get on the plane to leave.

What would you recommend to solo female travelers who want to explore the world?

If it is your first solo trip, start with a place that is more familiar (culturally) or has an established travel scene.  Most European countries or Thailand are both great places to start.  Also, less is more.  If you only have a week or two, don’t try to cram in multiple countries.  Slow travel is so underrated, and it really gives you a chance to explore a new place in-depth.
Altéa | Jozu For Women | Solo Wander World

I’ve read your article on digital nomads: can you tell me more about it? When did you start being a digital nomad? In which country have you been living as a digital nomad? What is the ultimate advice you would give to someone who wants to be a digital nomad?

I first started with the digital nomad lifestyle nearly seven years ago.  I took an ob with Airbnb, and at the time, 90% of their hires were hired on as remotes because the office space was small (and they were seeking worldwide talent).  Most of my colleagues eventually started working in the office, once they got more office space.  But not me!  I was already starting to love “the world is my office” culture so much, and did not want to give that up.  During my six years at Airbnb, I worked from four continents and several different countries.  It was a dream.  Last June, I left that job for more flexibility and to really focus on my own travel consulting company.
Ultimate advice: if this is the life you crave, make it happen.  Look at your strengths, your professional background, and find a way to make that remote.  Whether it is finding a job with a company that will allow you to work remotely, freelancing, or starting your own company, there are many ways to make it happen.  But it is so important to play on your strengths and professional background.  I’ve seen many digital nomads try to freelance in areas that they have no professional experience in. A few countries I’ve worked from: Spain, Argentina, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Italy… there are more!
You can meet Karen by joining our community or find her on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter!

 

8 Life-Changing Trips To Go On In 2018

Every trip is life-changing, in some way or another. Whether it gets us out of our comfort zone, gives us a new perspective on the world, or just lets us breathe a little deeper, some places and experiences would leave you speechless. Instead of a bucket list, here is a list of 15 life-changing trips you should experience in 2018.

Antartica

Accessible only from November to March, Antartica has no towns or villages, no habitation bar the odd research station or expedition hut; it is just grand, icy, unpredictable wilderness. Even if you’re travelling there on a cruise ship, as most people do, the solitude and the emptiness will envelop you and bring you down to scale.

Antartica | Jozu For Women | Trip

Northern Lights

Every traveler’s bucket list should include viewing the northern lights, also known as aurora borealis, one of nature’s most spectacular phenomena. The viewing season typically lasts until March, and ideal viewing conditions are crisp, cold, bright, and cloudless skies in locations with little light. If you want to catch them, head to one of the destinations near the Arctic such as the Lofoten Islands, Island, Tromso in Norway or Rovaniemi in Lapland. This nature’s most impressive light show will leave you speechless.

Northern Lights | Jozu For Women | Destination

Ice-Climbing in Alaska

While road-tripping in Alaska, why not stopping at Matanuska Glacier for some ice climbing. Test your climbing skills on the Glacier or just spend some time on the glacier just exploring and finding amazing features around every corner—or crevasse.

Matanuska Glacier | Alaska | Jozu For Women

Trek in The Himalayas

Even if you’re not a mountain lover or an experiment trekker, you can easily trek in the Himalayas and reach the Annapurna Base Camp at 4130m as it’s one of the most popular treks in the region. The trail goes alongside terraced rice paddies, lush rhododendron forests and high altitude landscapes with the Annapurna Range in view most of the times. It’s also rewarding as it’s for some people one of the toughest physical challenges.

Annapurna Base Camp | Himalaya | Trek | Jozu For Women

Shark Cage Diving

For some people, being dangled into the Atlantic in an iron cage with a pair of Great White sharks fast-approaching is a big check on the bucket list. There are only a few places in the world where you can experience it including Mexico, New-Zealand, South Africa and Australia.

Shark Cage Diving | Australia | Jozu For Women

Fly Above the 12 Apostles

Scenic flights are sometimes the best to observe the beautiful landscapes and the 12 Apostles along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia is no exception.

12 Apostles | Great Ocean Road | Jozu For Women

Amazon Expedition

While Brazil has lots to offer from Rio de Janeiro to the colorful city of Salvador if you want to escape the crowd and go off the beaten track, there is no better option than an Amazon expedition – starting from Manaus. You’ll paddle through the flooded jungle in a hand-built canoe looking for sloths, toucans, and monkeys, fish for piranhas, learn about indigenous medicinal plants and swim with pink dolphins.

Amazonia | Jozu For Women

Yoga Retreat in Indonesia

You don’t need to be a yogist or practice meditation every day to join a yoga retreat as it’s suitable for beginners. Indonesia is home to lots of yoga places, and Ubud in Bali has been named one of the top 10 yoga retreats in the world. It has an incredible spiritual atmosphere and abundance of healthy cafes, vegan and vegetarian restaurants, yoga centers in the midst of lush rice paddies. 

Ubud | Bali | Yoga | Yoga Retreat | Jozu For Women

What’s on your bucket list for 2018? We want to hear your travel stories.

Why Bum Bags Are A New Trend For Female Travelers

Along with the latest of 90s fashion revivalism, a new trend of crossbody bum bag is tipped to be one of this year’s biggest trends. The team at Jozu For Women took the new Midi bag from Acent to the test while on vacation to find out what really makes this accessory such a hot item with fashion-forward female travelers.

Find out more in the 3rd issue of Jozu Magazine.

In the meantime, meet Maria Hald, Maria Stegemeyer and Isabelle Jamous, the three phenomenal young ladies and devoted friends behind Copenhagen’s hottest accessory brand, Acent. Isabelle came to Copenhagen for her studies and noticed the trend of wearing bum bags differently; across the body.

A conversation about a classic and timeless design sparked the journey to fashion between these three co-founders. In an exclusive chat, the ladies share their inspirations and some of the challenges they face in their entrepreneurial journey.

 

Essential Hacks for Solo Travelers

Part of visiting a foreign country is experiencing the local culture and as a solo explorer, way-finding can be daunting on the best of days. Thanks to a myriad of mobile applications for translations and good ole Google Translate, it’s easy to find a translator in your handbag. However, these are dependant on having access to decent wifi and a device that has power.

After visiting forty-eight countries, Stephenie Rodriguez has compiled her top list of twenty key travel phrases that every traveler should learn before they go.

Should your mobile phone take a leap off a speedboat, or get stolen, you are far more likely to make your way safely with less hassle with these phrases committed to memory. Before articulating the list, she prefaces that humans are humans no matter what they speak. A smile and sincere greeting is the first thing that you should do before every asking anyone for anything. It sets the scene for cooperation and engaging with someone.

Once you have mastered the art of the sincere and genuine smile, you’ll find in our 3rd issue of Jozu Magazine key phrases you should add to your vocabulary.

 

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Mexico

When Susan Ripley, founder of Brooklyn Tropicali mention to someone that she is currently living in Mexico City, she gets two very distinct reactions. Sometimes, her statement is met with enthusiasm (usually from someone who has already done some Mexico City travel), but more often it’s met with a pause and some confusion.

Many travelers are misinformed about this part of the world. Yes, this city had its issues in the past, but it has emerged as a bustling cultural center and tourist destination.

She is super passionate about helping others see the value in visiting places that are commonly misjudged. So let’s get started with Mexico City travel!

Find out more in the 3rd issue of Jozu Magazine.

 

Egypt: Safe or Not For Solo Women Travelers?

I read this article just a few days before Christmas and was wondering if, as a solo women traveler myself, I would be keen to travel to Egypt or if I should take some precautions. Instead of only trusting the media, I preferred asking a woman who has been living in Cairo and therefore has a better perception of the country. Here are her tips and recommendations if you want to wander around.

Is it safe to travel to Egypt right now?

Well, there are some security issues in Cairo, and a few weeks ago, a church was attacked not far from where I live. But I would say that Egypt is still safe to visit – even for solo female travelers; you just need to have your wits about you. When you arrive in Cairo, it can be daunting as they do not have a dedicated taxi rank set up; just people outside shouting “taxi taxi” who see that you are a tourist and will ask for a silly amount of money to take you where you want to go. It would probably be better to have the hotel arrange transport for you. Overall, Egyptians are friendly, and some are very helpful. But you have to keep in mind that there are times where it might seem like they are just willing to help, but actually will be demanding a fee for their services. It’s always best to ask “How much” first.

What would you recommend?

As a solo woman traveling, I think this is essential to not draw attention to yourself. It’s better to dress modestly in long linen trousers, a t-shirt and possibly keep a scarf in your bag. In some of the resort areas such as El Gouna and Dahab, you can walk around all day, in a vest, top, and shorts without any problem. There is Uber in Egypt which may feel like a safer option than the white cabs. If you use the local taxi, always always check they are using their meter. Also, I would recommend not to take the local bus for long distances and to fly or hire a driver to take you instead.

What are the must-sees and your favorite places in Egypt?

The must-see places in Egypt include the Pyramids, Khan el Khalili market, the cave churches and the citadel. Outside of Cairo, you can take a train and visit Alexandria, north of Egypt or choose to sunbath and snorkel in El Gouna or Hurghada which is one-hour away. The Nile cruise from Luxor to Aswan is a must as well, as you’ll enjoy the panoramic views and the local cities with amazing temples.

Dahab is my favorite place so far because it combines sun, beach and there are lots of bars and restaurants on the seafront: ideal to chill, relax and smoke sheesha while watching the sunset. Nuweiba, one-hour from Dahab is a great option and probably less crowded than Dahab. From Dahab, I took a trip with friends to climb Mount Sinai which was fantastic and last year, I went to the black and white desert with nine friends for the weekend – all females, and we had the most wonderful time.

Dahab | Jozu For Women | Egypt

 

Solo Female Travel in India – An Insider’s Perspective

Meet Amy Rose, she’s Indian, loves writing about women in travel, and she released her first eBook “Solo Indian Women Traveler” last year. She is a key influencer in our community and we are happy to celebrate her with this interview. Check out her favorite places and travel tips for solo women travelers in India.

Introduce yourself: what do you do and where are you from?

Amy – Amy Rose is my pen name. I am an Indian from a small town in the Northern Indian state Jammu and Kashmir. In my day job, I’m an IT professional working in a Fortune 500 company. I love traveling and writing and have been indulging in both for the past 15 years.

When did you start your blog Tipsy Tales of Life?

I started my blog Tipsy Tales of Life in May 2017, after I decided to close all my other online writing channels and focus on one forum for blogs and concentrate more on writing books. I had five different blogs, was an active participant in two writing communities and worked as an editor for an online magazine for a couple of years. This new blog was to consolidate and streamline all my work under one umbrella.
Leh | India | Jozu For Women | Amy Rose | Solo Travel

Why and when did you decide to write your book?

I have been writing books for the past ten years; I had some 25 drafts. In May 2017, I was attacked by two men in Paris and lost my precious passport (with over 200 stamps), my written work and travel photographs. I do have a back up of a few of them but lost some critical written work.
At that point, I decided not to postpone what I always wanted to do: publish my own book. I got back home, put all my travel experiences as a solo Indian woman traveler in an Ebook and released it in a month’s time.

Tell us more about solo traveling in India – is there a difference between local and foreign women exploring India? And if so, how would you describe it?

To be honest, I don’t feel too comfortable traveling alone in India. You have to be too vigilant and cautious all the time. I won’t say you can’t venture out at all, but you have to be very particular about the places you visit, what you wear, whom to talk to and what time of the day you should be back in the safe area. You have to be careful about hotels you stay in as well. Meeting people while traveling is a part of the experience but in India, this can be a little dangerous.
It’s more difficult for foreigners, and you’ll often hear stories about them feeling uncomfortable by constant starring, groping and teasing. Sexual assaults and soliciting white women for sex (for money) is also not uncommon – more in the rural parts than in the cities. In general, South, East, and West of India are safer for women, but they should avoid Delhi.
Goa | India | Jozu For Women | Amy Rose | Solo Travel

What are your favorite places and must-sees in India?

I love the following places for various reasons:
Goa is a beach paradise with lots of tourists, it’s safer for women travelers in general, and an excellent opportunity to meet a different kind of people. I always recommend going to Gokarna for two days to experience less exploited beaches.
Leh /Ladakh is heaven for mountain lovers. I’ve never been a mountain person till I visited Leh in 2016. Pangong Lake, Tmosriri Lake, and Nubra Valley are few places around Leh that are accessible through road. There is also the famous Chadar trek for trekking enthusiasts who like to challenge their bodies by trekking over a frozen river at -30 degrees.
Amritsar is a holy city, and being a Punjabi, I can highly recommend it. Visiting the Golden Temple in Amritsar is an experience like none other. The town also offers mouth-watering food at every corner for unbelievable prices. Amritsar is also famous for shopping and historical places.
Taj Mahal is one of the wonders of the world which is indeed a marvel and cannot miss while visiting the country – its splendor and beauty can only be felt and seen.
Rajasthan If you want to have a glimpse of the royal life of yesteryears, Rajasthan offer palaces and heritage hotels that make you feel like a royal. Spend at least a week in Rajasthan for fantastic food, culture, colorful life of locals, desert safaris and much more.
Taj Mahal | Jozu For Women | Amy Rose | Solo Travel | India

Would you say that it’s easy to meet other female solo travelers while in India?

You will barely find solo women travelers exploring India, though some parts are more favorable for solo women travelers and young women are nowadays exploring solo travel. A few women-only travel groups are catering to this need.
I met an European traveling alone on a bike in Leh last year, and she had been on the road for three months already. Goa and South of India are comparatively more friendly for solo woman travelers. North Eastern states are also women-friendly though there are other political turmoils at the time that make it unsafe for travel in general.

What would you recommend to solo women travelers who want to explore India?

I think if you want to explore India and be safe, you would have to choose luxury travel and book with a trusted chain of hotels, stay within the city and use cabs and drivers to go from one place to another. As an Indian woman, I have put many of my experiences in my book where I specifically mentioned about trying to stay safe by picking expensive means of transport and accommodation. Take flights over cabs as much as possible, especially in North India. Also, it helps if you have a local contact you can trust. A friend of a friend, a colleague, some distant relative, or anyone who is in the city with a local number you can reach out to in case of an emergency. Indians are mostly very helpful and will guide you around the city and advise you on transport, food and what to avoid.

In Conversation With Camilla Franks

Camilla Franks is an Australian leading personality celebrated globally for her artistic, innovative and intricate designs. The magnetic appeal of the brand is not merely in the visual and physical quality of apparel but the intricate stories there are each weaved with. Each piece is curated with a destination in mind, from Camilla’s own travels off the beaten track.

Staying true to her vision and never straying for the sake of trends and fads is what sets her apart. Camilla gets her creative reference by immersing herself into different worlds; exploring and experiencing the music, food, colors and daily life – then uses this as ‘print-spiration’ behind each collection.

Today Camilla is a 75 million dollar business, with 19 retail boutiques in Australia, a multi-million dollar online store and over 550 luxury wholesale accounts across the globe. The Queen of Kaftan speaks exclusively to Jozu Magazine on her personal inspirations, digs deep on all things travel and gives us a sneak peek at what 2018 has in store for her.

Read the full interview in the 3rd issue of Jozu Magazine.

 

 

Ten Safety Tips for Solo Female Travelers in 2018

Traveling solo as a female is more than an ideal, it’s a rising trend.  According to Google Search, the phrase ‘solo female travel’ was up 52% from 2016 – 2017 — indicating that more women are contemplating a solo jaunt. Figuring out why there are so many women asking Google for advice isn’t difficult as solo travel gives you the chance to fully indulge yourself, be a little selfish and see the world at your own pace.

Those of us who have done it already can attest that travelling alone can be the greatest and most unpredictable adventure of a lifetime. Solo travel can be the ultimate in self-indulgence; you rest when you want, eat what you want and can be as outgoing or as introspective as you wish.

Of course, single travel has its perils too—such as safety concerns, loneliness, and the challenge of living on a single bank account.  Statistically, the foremost concern of the solo or single female traveller is safety. Without a companion to watch your back, you are more vulnerable to unwanted attention, the target of petty theft and criminals, and likely to come across a scam artist or two. Even things like a tummy bug or common health issues can set you back when you are alone.

An ounce of prevention is still worth a pound of cure and better planning and an understanding of basic solo travel safety can save you time, money and inconvenience.

#1 Plan to Arrive at your destination in daylight 

Arrange to arrive at a new location in the light of day. Not only will you feel more at ease and be more aware of your surroundings but there will also be more people around. This will give you a better idea of who is in your immediate proximity, where there are potential areas that might not be safe to venture to in the dark, and more popular walking routes based on where the neighbours transit and congregate. It will also allow you to appreciate landmarks

#2 Choose an international phone plan

Before leaving on an international trip, call your service provider to see if your phone will work abroad and how much it will cost. In many cases, it is less expensive to buy a SIM card locally to use in your unlocked phone. Make sure to unlock it before you leave and buy a SIM card straight at or out of the airport so you’ll have data from the beginning.

#3 Never say you’re alone and wear a discreet ring

When you are at a hotel, never mention that you are travelling by yourself. When checking in to your hotel request an additional key to signal it could be for someone else joining you. Even if it’s a harmless little lie, wearing a wedding ring can signal many things. It shows that you are not alone, that someone is expecting to hear from you regularly, and that someone is aware of your whereabouts.

#4 Keep a hard copy of your travel itinerary with you

Grab the business card or ask front desk/concierge to write down the name, address, and phone number of your accommodation. Keep copies of your itineraries with you so you know where you’re going next.

#5 Do your homework and Identify safe or women-only places

Safety is the main concern for most solo women travellers and there is certainly safety in numbers.  Finding places where there are other women can give you some respite but can also be a great place to pick up local tips from women with more experience. Check out if the country offers women-only hotels or a list of women-only services. Other obvious places where you are like to connect with other females are yoga classes in local studios or running clubs. If you are looking to connect with other female travellers, consider joining our community of women travellers. 

#6 Take a cab 

Travel budgets are a good thing, but be willing to ‘splurge’ when it relates to your safety. Pay for taxis at night instead of walking alone. Take a cab or use an app-enabled car service whenever available in the country. An app such as Uber or LYFT tracks the driver and you, keeping both of your information in the system. Even better, the payment is done through the app so no money is exchanged.

#7 Dress appropriately 

To avoid unwanted attention or offending the locals, it’s important to consider and research what is appropriate dress standards for modest women in the country you are visiting. Where there are more conservative standards in place (like the Middle East or parts of Africa or Malaysia), it’s important to be mindful of hemlines, necklines, sleeve lengths and tight-fitting clothes.  Beyond places of worship, national monuments and public areas, your Western wear could deliver unwanted attention from men and lack of cooperation from local women. Try to blend in. Visit the markets and observe how the local women in your age group dress. Ask for shopping tips from the locals and embrace a new fashion sense. Thailand and India are two great places to get beautifully tailored clothing at a reasonable price, so whatever you wear will not only fit fabulously but you will be on trend.

#8 Stay in touch with people you trust 

Whether it’s with friends and family back home or people you meet along the way, it’s important to keep in touch so at least a few would know where you’re travelling to. This could also mean updating your social media regularly so others can follow along on your journey.

#9 Trust your instinct 

Your animal instincts of flight or fight are a part of your makeup for a reason — don’t ignore what your sense tell you when you travel. If a situation isn’t quite right or its off, it probably is. And at the same time, if it tells you it’s all good, it probably is. Trust your gut, don’t worry and enjoy!

#10 Know the Social Rules of the Road

Finding out whether you need an international driver’s license is just one of the necessities of safe travel. It’s also practical to do some research on the geopolitical landscape well before you go. Things like affection in public, co-domiciling as an unwed couple, and the country’s views on LGBT travellers could help you avoid potentially negative experiences. In India, Morrocco, Lebanon, Doha and other more conservative cities  some Airbnb rentals that specifically state “Married Couples Only.” Know before you go!

Traveling as a solo female can be greatly fulfilling, but best to arm yourself with accurate and current information to ensure you enjoy yourself to the fullest and avoid potential risk.

3 Solo Travel Essentials for Bali & Indonesia

If you are a solo traveller and planning a jaunt to Indonesia in 2018 you are in luck. The series of islands still remains one of the most idyllic tropical paradises in the region, and with some planning, you can enjoy a gorgeous vacation. Our mission is to help you travel better & safer and we’ve got these three things you should consider doing before you board your flight to Bali, Bintan, Banda Aceh or Jakarta.

Get vaccinated for Diptheria

According to the Jakarta Times newspaper, there is an outbreak of adult cases of Diptheria that is ravaging Indonesia. An article today cited Indonesia’s Ministry of Health report that the number of cases has risen from 591 to more than 910 as of December 24th. The Indonesian government has already begun an outbreak response immunization program in Jakarta, Banten and the West Java regions on December 12th after the disease killed dozens of its citizens.

Purchase Travel Insurance

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and its really critical for solo female travellers to have travel insurance policy in situ because if you have an unfortunate event, you will want to seek professional medical attention and not avoid doing so because of the cost associated with quality medical care or be at the mercy of others. We’ve seen lots of sick solo female travellers on communities like Facebooks Girls Love Travel asking for medical opinions and advice from the communities because they are unable/afraid to seek medical attention. A quick internet search will show you some options, but there are travel insurance companies that care and offer products just for female travellers. We at JOZU especially like TravelbyJane, an insurance platform powered by Insured By Us, that considers the pay gap between men and women and discounts travel insurance for female travellers. If you frequently travel and don’t plan to engage in high-risk sports like heli-skiing or skydiving, and wear a helmet on motorized vehicles, you can score a great price on an annual travel insurance policy. Indonesia does have decent primary care facilities but if you need to be airlifted for special critical care, you’ll be grateful for the coverage.

Cover it Up! 

the red ankle mosquitno bracelet is an excellent way to prevent mosquito born viruses and is featured on JOZUforWomen.com

Mosquitno fashionable insect repellant accessories.

We mean your skin! Indonesia is one of the areas that is prone to Malaria and insect-borne diseases and infections. Whilst you can ask your GP for anti-malaria medication which is taken every day whilst you are in a prone area, taking a precaution and packing a tropical strength insect repellant spray or roll-on will usually give you a level of comfort. (expert travel tip — apply right after showering and before dressing – that way it is on all that could be exposed and remember to reapply after being in the water or sweating.) If you are not into putting harsh chemicals on your skin, we suggest wearing citronella bracelets like the fun and fashionable rubber accessories by Mosquitnoit is a natural way to combat potential mosquito bites. The new Mosquitno ankle straps will give you 120 hours of mosquito-free movement and are a colourful way to prevent getting Malaria, Ross River virus or other nasties carried by mosquitos. 

 

Solo travel is still popular in Indonesia and with a few preventative steps you can be sure of a holiday to remember.

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