Threat Never Takes A Vacation – Are We There Yet?

August 18, 2015 JP Blaho

are we there yet words on highway road going up as an arrow

How many of you have participated in a long-drive vacation? Depending on the size of the family brood, this usually consists of a loaded vehicle, invisible national borders formed in the back seat between each child, with a demilitarized zone allowing one of the front seat drivers just enough time to prevent World War III.

It is a test of wills, family love, and automotive engineering. I bring up the road trip, because in our first blog we talked about preparing for the inevitable problems that occur during vacation planning, and last week we discussed how summer camp was used as a way to develop personal skills. This week, I want to speak directly to the adult minds…the parents…the combined arms…the enforcers of the family. This week I want to focus on the journey to our destination, and the importance it has in setting the tone for the actual vacation.

We have all seen when a parent loses complete control of a situation while traveling. We have all experienced the outcomes of a child’s meltdown on a plane, at an amusement park, or at the beach. It is not a pretty sight, and we immediately look for the nearest adult to take the blame. We then watch, with one raised eyebrow, to see how the parents handle the situation. Is this a sustained attack from the child, or is this averted before we all move to DEFCON 2? We observe the parent going into the line of fire to see what tactical maneuvers they need to put into place. Then we look to see if there is a strategy in place to establish a cease-fire. And finally we watch to see if the family unit has the proper logistics in place to address the attack while minimizing the damage. It can be quite entertaining when the screams are not piercing your ears.

This reminds me of a vacation horror story a colleague of mine shared recently. Their family braved the I-95 corridor to drive from New Hampshire to “The Happiest Place on Earth;” Disney World.

Picture it: a 20-hour drive with 6 passengers in a 1974 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. The car consisted of 2 adults in the front seat, and the youngest child sitting in the middle (yes a bench seat in the front). The backseat consisted of 2 other children with their Grandmother sitting in the middle (Smart move keeping all children separated at all times.). Here were the guidelines established by Dad:

  • The car would leave the house at 4:00am with the expectation they would arrive shortly after midnight;
  • The car would stop at each state welcome center for a quick bathroom break;
  • There would be no stopping for breakfast;
  • Lunch would be eaten at a rest stop closest to lunchtime; and
  • Dinner would consist of Waffle House, provided all children were behaved, and there was no significant weather or traffic delays (which in that case would require a quick drive-thru dinner instead).

A couple of background items to know:

  • The car was a coupe;
  • All adults smoked…like chimneys;
  • The kids were ages 10, 6 and 4;
  • It was August, 1979, and they were driving to Florida;
  • The only entertainment was an AM radio with a broken 8-track player that could only play the stuck Kenny Rogers “The Gambler” tape; and
  • Two (one adult and one child) suffered from carsickness.

Here are the cliff notes of the vacation:

  • The family departed home around 8:30 am, and arrived in Orlando at 11:00 the next morning;
  • The late arrival resulted in having to wait in the car or at the local Denny’s for an additional 3 hours before checking into the hotel;
  • Virginia and the Carolinas had multiple bathroom stops due to being very long states to drive through, and significant slow traffic due to heavy rains and a tornado warning in 2 of these states (remember it was August);
  • One ticket for driving too slow (Grandma was driving);
  • All 3 children officially knew when to hold them, fold them, and walk away before they even got to Virginia…including the 4-year old;
  • Folgers’s coffee house cans make effective port-a-potty in a crunch;
  • Taffy goes soft and melts while sitting against the back window of car during a sunny day; and
  • Holiday Inn’s sell out near Disney World in the month of August.

In this third installment of our vacation horror story series, we take a look at how many families focus on tactical and strategic components of the trip more than they do the logistics. As a result, the trip ends up longer and more exhausting, ultimately impacting their joy upon reaching their destination. Tomorrow, we will share another blog from Sam Curry that discusses the importance creating a network security defense that optimizes the combined arms of people, process and tools. Sam discusses the need to transition to an inverted spending pyramid that should allow for more maneuverability around proactive technologies and less spending on prevention-type of solutions. In our vacation series, this inverted pyramid would focus more on addressing the logistical aspects of the travel such as highway optimization and entertainment instead of the tactical aspects such as preselecting pit stop locations and bathroom breaks. For those of you who have future plans for driving cross-country in the near future, remember, don’t plan every mile, and instead plan against your desired outcomes of the journey. Incorporate “the ride” into the vacation.

Check out tomorrow’s blog titled “Logistics, Logistics, Logistics.” And think about some of those crazy family vacations your have experience in the past — feel free to share them with our readers here. And don’t forget we have two more weeks left before all schools are back in session, so keep coming back to hear some more vacation horror stories!

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