It has been almost 4 1/2 years since I last visited NYC in the blizzard winter and it is hard to believe how much time has passed since the COVID pandemic disrupted everyone’s travel timelines. Let’s talk about the latest experience!
In the Seattle airport, maybe only 1% of the people wear masks any more which is disappointing. We will see if that changes when the next wave hits us.
The number of people on the subway wearing masks in NYC was maybe 5 percent. I could not determine on any statistics based on demographics on who was masked versus not.
On the airplane, maybe 10-15% of the passengers wore masks which was comforting (slightly).
I do admit it was nice to get a warm meal again on the flight and not just “snacks”. The improved seating was much more comfortable and less confining that previous configurations.
The traffic is just as brutal as before and it takes a full hour to get from JFK airport to Manhattan even at 9 o’clock at night. Times Square never sleeps.
As mentioned above, it has been a long time since I have been to NYC and I must admit the vibe and vitality stand out. It was cool to see how the hotel welcomed me back with a gift and a card as soon as I arrived, I must admit this is how programs like the Marriott Bonvoy frequent traveler program build long term loyalty…
It has been many years, but Times Square is still the shopping Mecca for tourists
Even many people come to NYC to visit this one specific store.
The Swatch store has a rare watch that many people are looking for around the world. As a watch aficionado which I have posted in the past, I could not resist!
I have to admit, one of the challenges in NYC is choosing where to get various meals. There are so many choices – maybe even a dozen different choices on the same block/street!
I even got a chance to check out the University Club and have a cocktail in this great historical and relaxing venue. Seems very similar to the Rainer Club in Seattle.
Tip: NYC Dunkin Donuts has the best coffee, not Starbucks!
Of course I went running (as always) since Central Park has the best running club(s)!
I just recommend you leave your hotel around 6:00 AM so you do not have to deal with traffic slights, traffic, and people filling up the sidewalks.
I have done this route before, but it always has great scenery and sports atmosphere in the mornings.
It is hard sometimes to not stop and take some photos with your Windows 8 phone that you also use for music and picture taking on your runs.
For some reason, there were a lot of police and people talking pictures on this side of the park, but I am not sure why…
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.
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.
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.
Update: I received my fall 2022 influenza vaccine two weeks later.
Symptoms? Mild soreness in the arm, some fatigue/exhaustion at the end of the day. Minor nausea in the morning.
Solution? Go for a long run like I do for the COVID vaccines and the vaccine hangover is cured 🙂
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Sharing some first hand experiences on some luggage tracking devices that I tried out.
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 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 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:
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
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 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.
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
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.
The AirTags are probably the best of the bunch, but they have some limitations too.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Did you miss any of my other postings about the Galapagos? You can find them here: