Family vacations are the stuff of which memories are made. When I was twelve, we went on one memorable vacation. I have one sister — there were only four of us in a two door hatchback driving from Texas to Pennsylvania. And that’s not even the painful part of this story. It’s important to note that my sister and I have not grown one inch in height since the sixth grade.
Two-door cars basically have a back seat for people with no legs, aka young children under three feet tall. Hatchbacks, if you are unfamiliar with the term, don’t have trunks. The back window lifts up and you load a very small space, the size of a kitchen sink, with luggage. Technically luggage was too bulky to fit in that space, so we packed in bags— gym bags, duffel bags, book bags, grocery bags. You name it. To use the space well, we also took random items and filled any empty holes. When we unloaded the trunk, and I use that term "trunk" loosely, someone’s tennis shoes came out and then a hair dryer, followed by a rolled up pair of pajama pants, etc. Then 423 assorted bags started flying out. At a fancy hotel in Atlanta, we unloaded while the valet held our keys (a fat lot of good those were going to do him) and the bell hop stood with his jaw gaping open and eyes bugging out as we loaded his luggage cart with 423 motley bags and 14 haphazard items. He would never roll it to the room with out a catastrophic avalanche. My sister and I were mortified. And that’s not even the painful part of this story. Just to be clear, we had a larger family car at home but the gas mileage was so much better in this car. After all, gas was 62 cents a gallon.
Knowing this would be a tight fit with four full grown bodies with no places for legs and things stuffed everywhere because it didn’t all fit in the kitchen sink sized trunk, my mother — who is always full of good ideas — devised a plan to ease our travel angst. Stop every two hours, get out and stretch our legs, then rotate seats. If you were behind the driver you moved to the front passenger seat, the front passenger moved to the seat directly behind them, etc. Dad always stayed in the driver’s seat. I’ve neglected to mention to you that I grew up in Corpus Christi. My mom fondly refers to it as the end of the earth. Pennsylvania is 18,000 miles from Corpus Christi. No matter what way you slice it, this was going to take 27 hours of driving. If you limit these “life-saving stops” to 15 minutes each, and it’s not likely that you will, you’ve just added three and a half hours to the trip. And that’s not even the painful part of this story.
The little hatchback, let’s call him DeVille, developed an issue. He refused to start his engine by a simple turn of the key. However, he would gladly rev it up if we gave him a running start. Every two hours on this God-forbidden journey that would never end, I would get at the back of DeVille and push, my dad stood with the driver’s door open, one hand on the wheel and one beside the windshield ready for a jog, as my mom from the passenger seat cranked the key. Every two hours, so that we could travel without angst, mind you. The reason you hear nothing of my sister’s designated spot in this ordeal is because she was in the back seat doubled over in pain dealing with menstrual cramps — or so she said. And this is not even the painful part of this story.
Now that DeVille is rolling, Dad is jumping into the driver seat and I am running along side a moving vehicle that none of us want to stop for fear it might die. Some how I have to jump in the back seat of a two door where the driver is already seated — that’s not even humanly possible because the driver seat while occupied leaves no access to the back seat. Once I wrangle my body into DeVille — God rest his soul — Dad’s practically on the highway. And guess what?
We still need to rotate seats, so that our travel experience won’t be full of angst! Everyone is now seated in the appropriate restful place and we have exactly 84 minutes before we do it all again. Oh DeVille, we made some memories that summer!
Sometimes our well thought out plans are no longer accomplishing the purpose but we continue to execute them. We had some serious angst on that trip that could have been eliminated by adjusting the plan. Do you need to flex a little in your current plan? Consider hiring a coach to help you re-think your strategies.