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Getting Ready for Basic


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My brother is joining the reserves it seems. He is a fit fellow (personal trainer, baseball player etc...) and has no problem with the strength department. But he hates to run. And Basic.... has some running. Now I've done Basic training myself, but I'm not Army. I was wondering if anyone who is/was Army had any tricks and tips I could pass on to my brother? Not even just about the running aspect either.

 

thanks

"What doesn't kill me better start running", level 7 Furyan Assassin
My Journey From Fat to Fit: 1|2|3|4|5|6|7|8|9|10|11|12|13|CURRENT

A proud member of the Champion House; Targaryen (Assassin's mini), Hufflepuff bravery is forgetting to be afraid because the thing is so important that the risk doesn't even matter (Assassin's mini) , Hellfire Club represent! (Assassin's mini)

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Have him join this website?

Intervals will get him fit to run, although he would still need to practice pacing. So would a bicycle or jump rope or stairs or any kind of cardio. But really, the best way to get good at distance running is ... by running.

If he hates it so much he doesn't want to do it, should he really be joining the army? As you observed, they're going to make him run a lot whether he likes it or not.

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Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.

Hylian Assassin 5'5", 143 lbs.
Half-marathon: 3:02
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Meh. Running is the least of his problems. They get people at all different levels of fitness. The running's only hard if you're in the bottom 10%, otherwise it's pretty much as hard as you choose to push yourself.
Physically, that's really the key. Make sure you can get at least a score of 70 in each of the three PT events (2-mile run, sit-ups, push-ups) and the drill sergeants will love you. Otherwise, just being generally fit so that you can handle the daily PT and the 'smoke' sessions without obviously lagging behind the rest of the group and you'll be fine.

 

General basic training suggestions:

1. Don't get noticed. This means not only don't be an ass, but don't be exceptional. Exceptional people get volunteered for all kinds of things. None of them good. You can get a few promotion points by achieving certain things (although not if you're National Guard) but it's not worth it. I spent a lot of my free time studying for the soldier of the month board, won, and then had all my free time taken away with extra duties where I mainly held responsible to keep my entire company in line, except that I didn't have any of the authority that the staff had.

2. Get used to being blamed for other people's mistakes and not be able to do anything about it. The Army used to punish the group and then have the group straighten out the idiots. Not anymore. Now they just punish the group.

3. 90% of everything you are told at basic/AIT is a lie. Don't stress it. They are setting you up to fail so they can 'break' you and then 'build you up'.

4. Be prepared to be bored out of your mind. A typical day involves at least 12 hours of waiting.

5. Be prepared for way too little sleep.

6. You're probably going somewhere hot and humid. Exercise outside as much as possible in the heaviest heat of the day to get used to it.

7. Go hiking in boots with a backpack on. Army standard is 35 pounds.

8. You will be trained in things the Army no longer does by people who don't know what they're talking about. Just accept it.

9. Learn how to shoot a rifle. Learn how to shoot a rifle. Learn how to shoot a rifle. The worst ass in the unit becomes a hero to the drill sergeants if he/she knows how to shoot.

10. Every time something stupid happens, write it down. These are fun stories for later, which is the best part of Basic. Embrace the insanity and inefficiency!

11. Keep expectations of your fellow soldiers and drill sergeants low. It is much better to be pleasantly surprised than disappointed.

 

Basic/AIT is basically just a rite of passage these days. Everything you really need to know you'll learn when you get to your unit. Just survive.

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Have him join this website?

Intervals will get him fit to run, although he would still need to practice pacing. So would a bicycle or jump rope or stairs or any kind of cardio. But really, the best way to get good at distance running is ... by running.

If he hates it so much he doesn't want to do it, should he really be joining the army? As you observed, they're going to make him run a lot whether he likes it or not.

 

My brother is very fit, he's been athletic his entire life. He just doesn't love running. But I know him and admittedly, he'll do it because he knows he has to, he just won't love it. Then again, he's never trained for ruck before so... he might end up LOVING it because it's more like hiking. *shrug*

"What doesn't kill me better start running", level 7 Furyan Assassin
My Journey From Fat to Fit: 1|2|3|4|5|6|7|8|9|10|11|12|13|CURRENT

A proud member of the Champion House; Targaryen (Assassin's mini), Hufflepuff bravery is forgetting to be afraid because the thing is so important that the risk doesn't even matter (Assassin's mini) , Hellfire Club represent! (Assassin's mini)

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Book must have a had a really bad experience to be so negative.

 

1. Get noticed for good things like being on time, making your bunk, and being a good team player. The Drill Sergeants will recognize that you don't need extra attention and leave you alone for the most part.

2. Basic is a team sport. If you work together and help each other then there shouldn't be much blame to go around. Yes, there will be time that you are blamed for others and times when others are blamed for you. Group punishment is effective for fixing a problem that is shared among the majority of the Platoon but is not effective for fixing an individual issue. 

3. Most of what you will be told at basic is true. Why would those that train you lie to you? The Drill Sergeants are going back into the force and may end up serving with those they trained, why lie to them?

4. It is mathematically improbable that you are waiting 12 hours a day. Yes you have to wait in line to eat and wait for trans unless you are walking. If you are bored, read a book.

5. You will get between 5-7 hours of sleep a night. Any one who tells you different is exaggerating

6. Is actually right on

7. also right on

8. Every Drill Sergeant is an Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO). To get to that rank they have to be experts in their MOS. The Basic and AIT curriculum is updated every year to ensure the Soldiers graduating have the most up to date training.

9. You will have 3 weeks of marksmanship training. Shooting an M-16 or M-4 is not like shooting your squirrel rifle. Better to come with no bad habits than have to re-learn an action.

10. Keep a journal because it's a manly habit.

11. Keep your expectations of yourself high , don't worry about how the others measure up.

 

Stay positive and listen and you r brother will be fine. Do you know what MOS he is joining?

Jimmy

 BTW I was a Drill Sergeant at FT Benning '05-'08 E Co 1-19

.

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I find the difference in perspective between Book and jimmy73 rather interesting.  My guess is that Book did his time, hated it, and got out.  jiimmy73 seems like he enjoyed it well enough to learn how it actually works and stuck around for a bit.  It's a pretty personal decision, and it isn't for everyone.

 

1.  Get noticed if you want.  If you get the chance, it's a useful place to start experimenting with how you are as a leader or how you interact with peers when there is no knowledge of who your colleagues are.  Getting noticed can get you additional crap, but it can also be pretty awesome.

2.  It's called team-building.  Help your buddy.  All of your buddies, as much as you can.

3.  90% of what they tell you is putting on a show.  There are useful purposes to the lies that you won't see until much later.

4.  12 hours of waiting in BCT?  Not often.  There is a lot of down time spent cleaning weapons, as they no longer have to shine boots, but everywhere you go there will be 50-200 people doing it too.  There are lines to wait in.

9.  Don't bother learning to shoot.  The Army has recently switched to having dedicated marksmanship instructors teach you, rather than the drill sergeants.  These guys tend to be pretty good at what they do- I was one for a while, and we got pretty good results.  New habits are easier to make if you don't have to break bad ones first.

 

My advice would be to just learn how to run well.  They teach you everything else you need to know, and build you up to everything you need to do, but for some reason haven't realized that teaching good running form will reduce injury rates.  Getting injured is one of the worst things that can happen if you want to get through smoothly.  I've even seen really bad running form taught- I had soldiers a while back who were taught to keep their hands and elbows pinned to their sides when running, as "swinging arms is a waste of energy." 

 

The only reason to do any other preparation is because he wants to excel.  His recruiter will have better/more current knowledge for the things he should be learning these days.

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Searching the world for a cure for my wanderlust.

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Thank you guys for the advice so far. I'm paying it all on to my brother so he gets a wide range of opinions. He speaks to the recruiter tomorrow and I'll tell you his progress!

"What doesn't kill me better start running", level 7 Furyan Assassin
My Journey From Fat to Fit: 1|2|3|4|5|6|7|8|9|10|11|12|13|CURRENT

A proud member of the Champion House; Targaryen (Assassin's mini), Hufflepuff bravery is forgetting to be afraid because the thing is so important that the risk doesn't even matter (Assassin's mini) , Hellfire Club represent! (Assassin's mini)

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I was trying to think of something witty to say, but honestly, Basic was so long ago (I would have retired years ago had I not got hurt first) I don't even know what to say.  

 

Running wasn't hard. Running isn't hard.  Running in formation when you're almost 6'2" gets you bad knees, but they take a few years to develop.   He has bigger things to worry about than running.   Much of which has already been said.

 

 

I feel like I need to tell some "back in my day" stories, which means... I don't.  

Did I offer advice in my post?  Please keep the following in mind:

  • I am not a doctor nor any other kind of medical professional.
  • I am not a lawyer.
  • I am not a mental health provider
  • I am not a nutritionist
  • Your mileage may vary
  • I don't do anything in moderation
  • I have lots of injuries & if you train like me, you probably will too.

 

 

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I was trying to think of something witty to say, but honestly, Basic was so long ago (I would have retired years ago had I not got hurt first) I don't even know what to say.  

 

Running wasn't hard. Running isn't hard.  Running in formation when you're almost 6'2" gets you bad knees, but they take a few years to develop.   He has bigger things to worry about than running.   Much of which has already been said.

 

 

I feel like I need to tell some "back in my day" stories, which means... I don't.

Now you have to share them

"What doesn't kill me better start running", level 7 Furyan Assassin
My Journey From Fat to Fit: 1|2|3|4|5|6|7|8|9|10|11|12|13|CURRENT

A proud member of the Champion House; Targaryen (Assassin's mini), Hufflepuff bravery is forgetting to be afraid because the thing is so important that the risk doesn't even matter (Assassin's mini) , Hellfire Club represent! (Assassin's mini)

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I just want to point out that being athletic - even when one has been for one's entire life - is only going to take the edge off when it comes to Basic. PT is honestly the easy part; it's the rest of the day that wears you down. He will march everywhere. If he isn't marching, odds are very good he will be rucking. He'll be loading and unloading equipment; setting up and tearing down training sites; doing trash and ammo sweeps at the end of every day; sweeping, mopping, raking, filling sand bags and digging holes (and filling them in again). He's going to spend more time on his feet than he likely ever has before, and he's going to do it for what will seem to him like an eternity. 
 

It's excellent that he's already above-average in his fitness. But it's only going to help him - not make it a cake walk.

 

That being said, Basic is mostly a mental exercise. Patience will be his most important asset.

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Current 4WC: Evicious: The Unburdening II + Blitz Week!

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Keep up the momentum!

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I just want to point out that being athletic - even when one has been for one's entire life - is only going to take the edge off when it comes to Basic. PT is honestly the easy part; it's the rest of the day that wears you down. He will march everywhere. If he isn't marching, odds are very good he will be rucking. He'll be loading and unloading equipment; setting up and tearing down training sites; doing trash and ammo sweeps at the end of every day; sweeping, mopping, raking, filling sand bags and digging holes (and filling them in again). He's going to spend more time on his feet than he likely ever has before, and he's going to do it for what will seem to him like an eternity. 

 

It's excellent that he's already above-average in his fitness. But it's only going to help him - not make it a cake walk.

 

That being said, Basic is mostly a mental exercise. Patience will be his most important asset.

I appreciate the heads up, thank you. I'll pass it on to my brother.

"What doesn't kill me better start running", level 7 Furyan Assassin
My Journey From Fat to Fit: 1|2|3|4|5|6|7|8|9|10|11|12|13|CURRENT

A proud member of the Champion House; Targaryen (Assassin's mini), Hufflepuff bravery is forgetting to be afraid because the thing is so important that the risk doesn't even matter (Assassin's mini) , Hellfire Club represent! (Assassin's mini)

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Now you have to share them

There is an old joke:

How many Rangers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

The answer is three. One to do it, and two to tell the guy how much harder it was to screw in a bulb when they had to do it.

Nobody really wants to hear "back in my day" stories. But hey, here is a picture of a typical day at the office. That's about 120 pounds on my back, and I just spent three hours climbing that mountain I'm on. (Hehe... I snuck one in anyway :))

e32d41b7e259bf250c583620196e90ca.jpg

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Did I offer advice in my post?  Please keep the following in mind:

  • I am not a doctor nor any other kind of medical professional.
  • I am not a lawyer.
  • I am not a mental health provider
  • I am not a nutritionist
  • Your mileage may vary
  • I don't do anything in moderation
  • I have lots of injuries & if you train like me, you probably will too.

 

 

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9.  Don't bother learning to shoot.  The Army has recently switched to having dedicated marksmanship instructors teach you, rather than the drill sergeants.  These guys tend to be pretty good at what they do- I was one for a while, and we got pretty good results.  New habits are easier to make if you don't have to break bad ones first.

 

My advice would be to just learn how to run well.  They teach you everything else you need to know, and build you up to everything you need to do, but for some reason haven't realized that teaching good running form will reduce injury rates.  Getting injured is one of the worst things that can happen if you want to get through smoothly.  I've even seen really bad running form taught- I had soldiers a while back who were taught to keep their hands and elbows pinned to their sides when running, as "swinging arms is a waste of energy." 

 

The only reason to do any other preparation is because he wants to excel.  His recruiter will have better/more current knowledge for the things he should be learning these days.

 

Definitely. You see all these billy bad-asses thinking they're Bobby Lee Swagger because they [think they] can shoot because they did some huntin' and Call Of Duty back home. "Well this is how I do it." STFU. You will shoot the way the Army wants you to shoot. Do your C clamping on your own time, or when you deploy.

 

Definitely the running part. There seems to be this predominant mindset that in order to be good at running, you just have to run, period. Learning the proper cadence with proper footstrike will definitely save the knees. (I think they are going to start issuing running shoes anyway, so that shouldn't be a decision to make.) A high cardiac output will definitely be advantageous.

 

But honestly, unless someone has an 18x contract, I think people in general shouldn't worry too much about Basic. It's an experience. It's a lot of fun; guys still talk about it years later. Too many "spoilers" may turn out to be inaccurate or just ruin the experience because you're expecting something that never comes. Personally, I just took it as it was and enjoyed the uncertainty, taking it one meal/sleep opportunity at a time.

 

One thing I'd say though is that it is definitely not for everyone. There are ways out without going AWOL.

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There is certainly an ounce of reality in all of the comments made so far, positive or negative.  As for running, nearly all of our runs were done in formation, with the weakest runners expected to keep to the front of formation in order for the rest of the platoon to drive them forward.  Fall-outs were strongly discouraged and the group kept everyone up to speed and plodding along.  If you're half-way fit at all (as your brother sounds), he ought to have little problem keeping up with the pack.  But any sort of pre-exercise would be recommended.  I did intervals on the treadmill beforehand, I believe.

 

The thing that sticks with me the most a decade after my Basic is that 80% of what goes on day to day is a mind game.  The yelling, the getting in trouble over asinine details and omissions, the rushing to and fro for little reason at all, and countless other "Army-isms" are all just a matter of ensuring you're mentally composed enough to survive outside of the civilian world. 

 

I remember standing in formation during an inspection and having my instructor barking at me over signing my name on the wrong part of my camping cup.  When asked what I had to say for myself, I responded with, "No excuse!" and my instructor said that was the most intelligent reply he'd heard all week and we carried on.  Your staff want to see how you react under pressure and whether or not you can keep timings and accomplish tasks while under duress (physical, mental, sleep deprivation, etc).

 

Basic really isn't all that awful.  Toward the end I found myself wishing for a few more days because I had found my stride and enjoyed the people in my training platoon.  I almost wanted to stay for more.  I loved the army though, and some days I miss it terribly... but then I remember the boring parts, of which there were many, and the nostalgia ends.  :pirate:

[ Level ?? ]  Rurik the Windblade, the Blade Who Dances, Warhawk of the Steppes.

BRUTALITY 13 | FINESSE 12 | GRIT 13  | INSIGHT 15 | MOXIE 13

Challenges:1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34

 

"Rangers have to at least give up on pants. It's a special rule we enacted after Rurik Harrgath became a Guild Leader.” – DarK_RaideR.

"Did I just get my ass kicked by a member of Metallica meets History Channel's Vikings?" - Wolfpool.

"By the Well-Oiled-and-Meticulously-Groomed Beard of Rurik!" - Tanktimus the Encourager.

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Basic really isn't all that awful.  Toward the end I found myself wishing for a few more days because I had found my stride and enjoyed the people in my training platoon.  I almost wanted to stay for more.  I loved the army though, and some days I miss it terribly... but then I remember the boring parts, of which there were many, and the nostalgia ends.  :pirate:

Basic is pretty great in some ways, once you hit your stride and the drill sergeants start to relax a bit.  The training is a lot of fun, you make some good friends, and you feel productive almost all the time.

 

The "boring" parts of the Army aren't even close to the worst parts, though.  The worst part is the sense of being f*cked with, when there is nothing you can do to fix it.  Your pay gets screwed up, the higher command makes a decision that for some reason freaks out your commander, and then you have to finish some online training before you can leave for the day, except the online systems all suck and no one can connect in order to finish the training.  Then when you do finish it at 11pm that night, the "Print Certificate" function still isn't working, and your squad leader has you coming in 20 minutes early for the platoon inspection, which is 20 minutes early for a ridiculously early formation in which everyone will be using flashlights to check that you have all the gear you are supposed to have, even though they know you don't have certain items because the supply room ran out weeks ago and won't be getting more before you have to leave.  And by "leave", I mean you are going on a training exercise during which you will be yelling "Bang!" and "Pow" and "Boom" because your unit forgot to forecast / has no funds for blank ammo, and the Lieutenant is getting annoyed that you aren't taking the training as seriously as he thinks you should be.  Also, your squad leader tells you he forgot to submit your promotion packet to the First Sergeant in time, so you'll have to wait another three months until the next board, even though you've been promotable for over a year and submitted your packet to the squad leader two months in advance.

 

There is a lot of ridiculousness that is much much worse than the boredom.

 

*Edit* Don't get me wrong, I love hate the Army, and just hit 15 years, with plans to keep going until it isn't fun anymore, which will be at least 20 years.

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Searching the world for a cure for my wanderlust.

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Funny thing about the Army--and I would assume the other branches as well-- is how much it sticks with you.   I've been out for longer than I was in, yet last night I had an incredibly vivid dream about being back in.

 

There I was, a Staff Sergeant again, with my squad, getting ready to deploy.   It was so vivid, I can  tell you the bumper number of my truck in the dream.  It was Bravo 12.   B-12 was never even one of my trucks.   :D  I can even tell you that it was the same squad I had when I first took it over before people started ETSing, and PCSing, and I started replacing guys.   All my old crew, loading and inspecting and rigging for deployment.  

 

Strange as well, because I was a middle aged man like I am now who had been recalled, but all my guys were still in their 20s.  Even though the dream was set in the present, we were all in BDU's instead of ACU's, I guess, again, because that's what I experienced.  

 

Anyway, all these years later and it still takes up that much of my brain that I have dreams that stay with me like that after I wake up.  

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Did I offer advice in my post?  Please keep the following in mind:

  • I am not a doctor nor any other kind of medical professional.
  • I am not a lawyer.
  • I am not a mental health provider
  • I am not a nutritionist
  • Your mileage may vary
  • I don't do anything in moderation
  • I have lots of injuries & if you train like me, you probably will too.

 

 

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And just like that we're awash in nostalgia!

 

I don't miss the boots though.  I much prefer having the freedom to select whichever duty footwear I would nowadays.

[ Level ?? ]  Rurik the Windblade, the Blade Who Dances, Warhawk of the Steppes.

BRUTALITY 13 | FINESSE 12 | GRIT 13  | INSIGHT 15 | MOXIE 13

Challenges:1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34

 

"Rangers have to at least give up on pants. It's a special rule we enacted after Rurik Harrgath became a Guild Leader.” – DarK_RaideR.

"Did I just get my ass kicked by a member of Metallica meets History Channel's Vikings?" - Wolfpool.

"By the Well-Oiled-and-Meticulously-Groomed Beard of Rurik!" - Tanktimus the Encourager.

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Haha. Like I used to tell the guys, the Army, like everything else in life, from prostitutes to sugar-free Oreos to Communism, is great in theory but gets ruined by the people running it. Leaders don't get promoted because they're good at their jobs; they get promoted because someone fucked up.

 

I do like the boots. I liked the fact that I never had to decide what I had to wear every day; they had that taken care of.

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I liked the mandatory social circle.  I never had to go out of my way to make friends... they were always there.  The downside, of course, was the mandatory social circle.

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[ Level ?? ]  Rurik the Windblade, the Blade Who Dances, Warhawk of the Steppes.

BRUTALITY 13 | FINESSE 12 | GRIT 13  | INSIGHT 15 | MOXIE 13

Challenges:1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34

 

"Rangers have to at least give up on pants. It's a special rule we enacted after Rurik Harrgath became a Guild Leader.” – DarK_RaideR.

"Did I just get my ass kicked by a member of Metallica meets History Channel's Vikings?" - Wolfpool.

"By the Well-Oiled-and-Meticulously-Groomed Beard of Rurik!" - Tanktimus the Encourager.

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I liked the mandatory social circle.  I never had to go out of my way to make friends... they were always there.  The downside, of course, was the mandatory social circle.

There is something amazing about meeting 30 people you've never met before and knowing exactly how to relate to them.  You receive a collective task and everyone has a pretty good idea of what needs to happen and the division of labor just sort of miraculously happens, with everyone picking a sub-task that needs to be done.

 

There are quite a few people I've met that I'd be perfectly happy to never meet again, though.

 

Two of the junior soldiers in the last class I took hated each other, to the point they were going out of their way to avoid each other off-duty.  They both got assigned to the same duty station after the training.  Not knowing anyone else, they started hanging out, and two years later are married with at least one kid.

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Searching the world for a cure for my wanderlust.

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