The Bi-Variant COVID Booster

Photo by Anna Tarazevich from Pexels

OK – what in the world am I talking about?

I am sharing my experience with the new bi-variant boosters that have been recently approved by the FDC and CDC for people 12+ years old. Some people call them bivalent. It is like “potato potatoe” – they are all the same thing.

Photo by Artem Podrez

and I just received my fifth shot/booster! To mix things up, I received the Pfizer booster for the first time, when the first 4 were based on Moderna, For some reason, the Moderna bivalent was very popular in the Seattle area, so I had to try our Pfizer. In any case, I thought I would be a great test case and share my experience with the community in what it is like to mix the different manufacturers.

All the research and reports indicate that is safe to mix and match. Let’s roll!

Why Now?

Very simply, for the same reasons I cited in my previous booster posting and 4th jab discussion. I am an international travel for business and personal and one of the last things I want to encounter is a restriction that may be imposed or required that requires a recent booster shot. I do not like being surprised, I like being prepared and proactive.

The reality is everyone – we are going to need these once to twice a year like the Flu shot for the rest of our lives. Yep, I am getting a little older and I do not want to be one of those “unusual” cases where people are healthy and then get infected from being in the wrong place at the wrong time with super spreaders and then dying as a result. I already died twice, not ready for the 3rd one due to COVID!

And NOPE, I am not drinking that fake Kool-Aid that the vaccine is killing more people and causing more harm than good.

Bivalent Side Effects

Now, let talk about the side effects as I know this is what most people fear and hinders them from getting the boosters.

Here is what I felt for the 5th shot and first Pfizer booster – they were a slightly reduced from my second booster and original Moderna shots which I shared online.

  • After 6 hours, I felt almost no soreness in the arm or tenderness from the shot location. Positive!
  • After 8 hours, maybe a hint of a headache. Very slight, maybe a 1 Tylenol headache.
    • After about 12 hours, I started to feel slightly fatigued. But was also a Friday night and the end of a long work week.
  • Overnight, my arm finally got a little sore. Not as bad as previous shots, maybe 50-60% of the previous intensity. It was a little annoying when sleeping, but not too bad
  • In the morning, only slight fatigue, not bad at all
  • This morning, I felt slightly achy, but not bad at all.
  • The arm felt a little tender, but no major restrictions or limits of movement. Nothing that two ibuprofen cannot take of

Similar to last shots, I did a nice workout (10K run) and that seemed to ward off all the side effects and minor fatigue. Highly recommeded!

End result: feel great and back to normal!

  • Summary: The bivalent booster seems to be a great choice to stay up to date and the side effects seem to be less after each shot.

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Advice for Traveling Entrepreneurs on Staying Healthy

There’s no getting around it. Ambitious businesspersons must eventually leave the comfort of their offices. Doing so is necessary to meet partners face-to-face and conduct on-site investigations. Staying healthy is always a challenge, yet it remains even tougher when on the go. The following tips can help anyone stay in top condition while conducting business activities away from headquarters.

Image via Pexels

Eating Well

According to travel experts, 52% of travelers dine out ten or more times per week. Restaurants like to give customers oversized portions. Their recipes focus on taste rather than dietary excellence. Simple choices mitigate this obstacle. Avoid deep-fried goodies, opting instead for salads. Order appetizers instead of entrees, which are easier on both waistlines and wallets. For dessert, grab a fruit-centric treat. Many hotels offer kitchenettes. If you have time for cooking, this path allows maximum control over ingredients and calories.

Staying Hydrated

Drinking water is vital to maintaining good health. Hydration regulates body temperature, staves off infections, and allows organs to function. Carrying a thermos is the most basic hydration strategy. There are other tactics for absorbing enough fluids. One is starting your day with a bowl of oatmeal and a glass of milk. Another is taking an oral hydration solution. These supplements are great for eliminating hangovers and speeding up exercise recovery.

Keeping Active

Getting in workouts away from home can be tricky. That said, it’s always possible. Before booking accommodations, find out if there’s a gym. If no formal exercise space is available, there are other methods of getting the blood pumping. Walk to meetings instead of taking cabs. Choose stairs instead of elevators. Many aerobic routines require zero equipment. Design an on-the-road workout plan before leaving home for efficiency’s sake.

Being Safe

Jogging in unfamiliar areas puts you at greater risk of assault. Avoid running alone, especially at night.

It’s similarly wise to have a partner when prowling the streets, even during the daytime. Limit the amount of cash you carry to only what you need. Navigate discretely, and make efforts to blend in with crowds.

Safety in hotel rooms is a further consideration. When checking in, request the second level or higher, as ground floors are more often the targets of thieves. Secure the deadbolt at night. Before leaving each morning, keep your luggage locked and tucked away. Review escape passages in case there’s a fire.

Bringing Companions

Having a piece of home with oneself enhances mental well-being. A photo or memento may deliver necessary peace of mind. Taking a dog along tends to be a more powerful comfort. The benefits of animal companionship are well-documented. Plus, needing to take your four-legged friend for walks forces you into moving. This scenario is perfect for freelancers and solopreneurs.

Journeys with tail-waggers require forethought. The right animal travel products are essential to keeping fur babies happy. Shop for portable bowls, a doggy travel first aid kit, and calming treats. Before buying anything, it’s best to read online product reviews. Choose unbiased sources for superior information.

Seeking Wisdom

These are only a few suggestions on how businesspersons can be health-conscious while on the road. Some businesspeople, such as David Cross, regularly share their travel experiences in blogs. Read his stories along with those of other entrepreneurs. These tales are bound to provide valuable insights.

Staying healthy and safe while being a traveler is a common struggle. That said, remaining in shape is easier with the right approach.

Image via Pexels

Catherine Workman always wanted to see the world. As soon as she was old enough to travel on her own, she began taking trips to new destinations, far and wide. She created Wellness Voyager with some of her travel mates as a place to chronicle her adventures and inspire others to leave their comfort zones and embrace all the world has to offer.

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Hood Canal Washington

We decided to to explore one more area of Washington State that we have not visited yet over the past 30 years…

and decided to check out the Hood Canal area. We stayed in the Hoodsport area.

At first glance, on Google Maps, it looks like it will be a easy 90 minute drive from the Seattle area, but with the summer travel season, post pandemic, it took almost 4.5 hours to drive to an AirBNB rental.

I have to admit the cabin options are incredible and are fantastic escapes from the crazy high tech/fast paced culture of the Seattle area. The cabins along the water are so relaxing and comfortable at fair rental prices.

It is a very rural and simple area, so many big city folk may need to change their expectations a little…overall it is a friendly town with no stop lights. The local restaurants are limited, but you can get a good pint and some pub grub at the local sports bar to watch the Seahawks the same as the big cities 🙂

But you must be patient during peak times as small restaurants may only have 1 cook and 1 server, and when waves of people come in from out of town and are renting places with a demand to eat out only…it take 1+ hours to get service in some cases. The town culture is different than you would see in the Seattle area…

One of the highlights of the area is to go exploring with kayaks around the area.

One fascinating historical site near our cabin is an old float plane dock and shelter.

The local stories say that back in the 1930s, this was one of the favorite stops that Charlie Chaplin flew in and out of when he was visiting the area on vacation/holiday.

Another popular activity and food choice is Oysters! You can find them easily when the tide is low and they are plentiful and large.

Here is one cool one where three oysters are bonded together from all the barnacles. If you were harvesting them and cooking them cup side down, not sure you would be successful in getting this one to be easily grilled on the BBQ…

All the locals go out and check their crab traps at night too. The boys made some friends playing who could grab each other (claws) and not get snapped. Believe it or not, this picture was taken in the dark and using the Pixel NightSight mode, it almost appears like daylight. You can see the landscaping lights in the background which are on.

The best place to east the Oysters is Hama Hama Saloon which is so popular on the weekends you MUST make reservations to eat the famous roasted oysters and climb on the mountains of shells that are piled after the constant harvesting of oysters from this massive farm.

The risk is not the local draft beers, but the local root beer. The bees crave it so much, they will swarm you and take it over in minutes.

If interested, here are some other of the great explorations we have checked out in WA state over the past two years of travel lockdown and restrictions:

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Luggage Trackers Review

Sharing some first hand experiences on some luggage tracking devices that I tried out.

Photo by Edgar Okiog

I have been travelling a lot lately and the airport chaos has been quite dramatic across the world, so I spent a little time and money testing out various luggage tracking devices.

There are some great blogs on this topic around the industry, but here is my experience and assessment of several tracker options over the past 3 trips!

Trackdot

Trackdot was cutting edge when it first came out. It was ahead of its time.

I had this one in the past, but since it was based on 2G, it has been pretty much been discontinued and useless going forward. Do not use.

Tracki

Tracki was an interesting experiment. After only relying upon the airline tracking app and limited information, I wanted to see if there was any alternatives to AirTags or a replacement for Trackdot.

It is a battery powered GPS tracker and here are the advantages and disadvantages based on my usage on two trips:

Advantages

  • It does have have GPS signal tracking
  • It can help you determine where a bag may be sitting if it is outside
  • It is most helpful in determining if you bag is in an airport or not
  • When my flight was cancelled, I had confidence that my back was still in the airport and I was able to show an airline luggage employee that they were all out on the tarmac and needed to be brought to the arrivals areas

Negatives

  • It requires a monthly subscription which can be expensive
  • It has a hard time getting a signal indoors, inside luggage carriers, inside the airport
  • It may not update itself for long periods of time
  • The mobile is not very usable and very confusing
  • It takes a long time to get an update when they can find a signal

Summary: It is primary used for external vehicles, devices, etc. so you can track where they are moving (i.e. cars, bikes, etc.) It is helpful to determine if a bag was left behind, but the reliability of signal tracking is so low, it is not worth the cost for using for luggage.

Tiles

Tiles were another experiment that I wanted to try after my first experiment with Tracki.

I do not have an iPhone, so I wanted to compare and see what alternatives may exist for the Android community. Here is what I found after one international trip and one domestic connection.

Advantages

  • Very easy to determine if your bag is close to you
  • We found that we can detect if the bag is near or in the plane
  • You can detect when the bag has arrived in the conveyer at the airport
  • Very easy to use
  • Very low cost

Negatives

  • It is only useful when the bags are close and within Bluetooth range
  • It cannot be used to determine where a bag may be elsewhere in the airport
  • It does not have precise locations, only general vicinity detection

Summary: When travelling, it is handy to know your bags are nearby, on the bus, arriving in luggage., etc. but they are not true trackers and have limited usage.

Apple AirTags

The AirTags are probably the best of the bunch, but they have some limitations too.

Advantages

  • They provide a combination experience of Tracki and Tiles
  • They have the best visual application experience on the phone
  • They can provide quick confidence the exact location of your bag when in populated areas

Negatives

  • If nobody with an iPhone is around your luggage, there is no data
  • They do not provide locations when they are enclosed in spaces where are no people around

Summary: When you want confidence if someone other than yourself has your luggage, this is probably the best solution. Or if someone might have stolen or grabbed the wrong bag. However, if a bag is lost and not being stored near people with iPhones, the tracking will not provide any help in locating the bag.

Conclusion

In general, BlueTooth trackers are great in the airport and finding a piece of luggage when there are masses collected together or bags coming out on the conveyer belt in large crowds. However, I have not found a broadly available and holistic solution outside of these so far.

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Galapagos Sea Lions

The sea lions are the #1 inhabitant of the Galapagos and they are EVERYWHERE.

I should have started with them, but I wanted to share the full experience and some of the greater videos that I captured which took much more bandwidth than is available on the islands.

They are very playful.

The males, females and young sea lions are all very different.

Some are more friendly than others.

and it is always a delight to find when there is a newborn sea lion is only 1-2 days old!

It was pretty amazing to see the ritual and how long young sea lions rely on nursing with their mothers.

The #1 predator of the sea lions are the sharks. We did not run into any or see any except late at night at the back of our boat.

Unfortunately they do get attacked and the general policy of the oaekyis is to not assist as historically medical assistance by humans causes more harm and infections to the population than good.

The most fun is when you get to swim or snorkle with the sea lions who are very friendly and playful.

It was even more fun when we ran into one who was playing with a discarded piece of plastic and showing off for us when we exploring the reef around the Santa Cruz island.

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Modern Quito

At the beginning of our vacation, we stayed, explored and visited shops/restaurants in the older/historic part of Quito.

At the end of our trip, we decided to spend a day in the newer and more modern Quito. I must say, it is very different and enjoyable to experience both. We stayed at the JW Marriot which has some nice views of the mountains and also close to many shops, restaurants and local hot spots.

It was a hard decision to choose a lunch restaurant because it feels like there are so many tough choices!

The local recommendation for fast food was actually Pollo Campero and it blows away the American KFC. Give it a try. Seriously. $5 combo meal is killer.

We also got to check out some of the local markets and one amazing historic Inca/Indian museum and craft store.

Olga Fisch is restricted and a little hidden, but definitely a place to seek out. They have artifacts that are over four to five thousand years old.

Very quiet and intimate.

and many stories behind each of the artifacts.

I am not sure I have seen such history this old since the last time I visited the National Museum in Taiwan.

They even have some more modern exhibits that help to tie in the current culture of the country to many of the customs and festivities.

What is the way to end a vacation — find a great highly rated restaurant in the city to rave about!

We had the 4 course fixed menu at Somos which was amazing, but…it takes a long time and the service is slow. It was worth it and we are still raving about the flavors and artwork in both the restaurant and in the food.

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Galapagos Bird Watching

Today, we took another long hike on Espanola that is flat, but very rocky!

It is a long hike only because of (a) all the rocks and (b) there are lot of things to see.

We hopped into the Zodiacs and 10 minutes later, guess who greeted us?

a colony of red/black marine Iguanas. They are EVERYWHERE!

They look furious, don’t they? They actually each algae and crawl up and down the cliffs to eat algae from the waves and come back up to bask in the sun.

We also found our first snake in the Galapagos. This one is known as “Runner”. They do not bite, but they are like the anacondas and like to suffocate their prey.

We also found their prey looking around on the low nests on the island. Their nests are basically on top of the highest rocks they can find. Here is the second Galapagos Hawk we found on this trip.

However, our real mission was to find some Galapogian Alabatrosses.

We found that a lot of them were nesting, but unfortunately we found one egg that had been abandoned. They only lay one chick/egg per season and if the spouse does not return in time with food, they will end the mission and leave the egg.

but to make up for that loss, we found a very young chick with her parents!

Surprisingly, we also found a lot of nesting Blue Boobies here too. Here were two young chicks staying in their mandated circle. They were ticking and craving for their parents to bring them some sardines that will help make their feet blue.

Here is a blue boobie up close
A mockingbird hunting for food

Did you miss any of my other postings about the Galapagos? You can find them here:

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Galapagos Tortoise Sightings

Let’s start off this posting with the required answer that many people is asking: did I go running in the Galapagos?

Of course I did! The unofficial Galapagos Beach 5K.

The El Progreso area of San Cristobal is a very scenic and relaxing area to visit, sight see and have a cocktail during sundown.

The local towns in Galapagos are very friendly to visit and stroll around. Just make sure to pack a light rain jacket as the summer months can frequently drizzle and light rain.

Earlier in day we pulled into San Cristobal port and got stopped by customs who thought we were smuggling XBox consoles for the local fire ant colonies.

Since the fire ants are so damaging and attack the young turtles, they are off limits for arriving guests. Be careful, they bite when they lose their Xbox FPS games.

and also do not let them convince you that the local apples are yummy as an afternoon snack. To humans, they are poisonous and you will be very sorry tomorrow.

Our true mission was to find some giant tortoises.

They are not very active, but they are amazing to see in person. But if you are patient and have a sharp eye, you can find many in the conservatory.

Here is a 100 year old turtle in Santa Cruz

Here are two males fighting like old American boxers. The highest neck is the winner.

Did you know you can also swim/dive/snorkle with the turtles as well?

The young turtles are raised and protected for 5 years before being released in the wild. This one is only a year old.

And this XBox gaming clan are reaching their age to attend their first gaming convention and live eSports competition next year.

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La Pinta Review

After a trip to the Galapagos, many people ask me for a review of the ship and if it was a good choice,

The tour company made the choice, but many may decide on the tour based on the ship quality. La Pinta is a medium sized ship and holds about 45 people.

Logistically, it does take some patience to take the bus from the airport to the docks and then get a ferry or zodiac scheduled to take you to the boat and back. If you have carry on bags, be ready to carry them on and off the zodiacs. They do not help you with these very much.

Overall, I found the quality and amenities quite comparable to most cruises. The dining room holds everyone at once – where most lunches and dinners are pre-ordered choices of your meals that are served at your table and most breakfast days are buffet only. No complaints. Nice blend of standard western fare and local cuisine.

There is a tiny gym on board, but your days are so active and busy, there really is not a need or desire for gym time.

It has both an open deck lounge as well as an internally seated lounge of almost equal sizes. You can see there is an outdoor hot tub off to the side which can be reserved by guests with a signup sheet. It holds only 4 or 5 people max.

The internal lounge is where the main bar exists and is where most briefing, lectures or talks are held. Comfortable and not cramped.

The wine list is OK. It is not horrible, but not great either. Mainly Chilean and Argentinian wines.

One nice hidden room is the library which has some books, games and cards which many like to use the evenings when they do not want to just sit around in the cramped cabins which do not have televisions, etc.

One complaint is the complimentary dryers, They are horrible and barely work to dry your bathing suits, etc. You have to run them like 10 times to get the water out.

Overall, the crew is quite good, very helpful and always looking to assist customers with their needs. Their English is not perfect, but it is quite reasonable and never a blocker for getting help or solving a need that you might have. The Zodiac drivers and guides are very professional and top notch. They are never too strict or controlling — they just want to ensure everyone has a safe and fun time,

And here is how every day ends on LA Pinta
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Finding Boobies

Today we went on a challenging hike first in the morning.

A true hike and not just a beach walk along a trail.

Our mission was to not only explore the beautiful scenery.

But to explore and seek out the famous boobies in Galapagos. Believe it or not, these rocky trails are better for flexible water shoes compared to stiff and thick hiking boots.

After some climbing to the higher elevations, we found our first red footed boobie.

and once we reached the plateau, we found a blue footed boobie.

Believe it or not, they are very different. The red footed are very independent and do not care for the young. The blue footed boobie create a circle that the young must stay within…and if they leave, they are no longer welcome and no longer cared for. The red have only 1egg and the blue always have 2.

Here is what they look like when they are less than 1 year old and cannot fly yet and stay with their parents. The male in the blue footed boobie is the only one that stays with the young.

This was a funny, but also sad, when two boobies had just came back with a fish and a frigate (bird) flew right in and took away their recent catch.

The local political blue boobie graffiti in Santa Cruz
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