The other day I was strolling through a local shopping center when I noticed a colorfully ragtag quartet of young travelers camped out in the little plaza outside a chain coffee store. They were presumably hitchhiking across the country, their entourage complete with two friendly mutts and a couple of beat-up guitars. The whole bunch was in high spirits, although judging by their looks, they’d been on the road for a long, long time.

At first I was reminded of my own teenage travel adventures, when my friends and I had cheerfully slept on sidewalks or railway station floors, immune to the disapproving frowns of the locals.

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