Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Day at the Beach

“Like a Day at the Beach” is a great saying. An oasis of calm and relaxation, a vacation you can take any time and on any budget. For as long as I can remember, going to the beach in the summertime was “the” thing to do. When I grew up, it was free to park, free to spread a blanket and free to stake your claim in that perfect spot on the beach. Not too near the water, not too close to the lifeguard stand, and certainly not too close to the family with a brood of kids under five years old. Alas, a day at the beach is now far from free, but it is still a bargain.

We just returned from a wonderful family vacation. Drake’s Island (in Wells Beach, Maine) was a hidden treasure that we found on the Internet. 300 miles from home, it was just far enough to make the drive-time acceptable.  

We checked out Kennebunkport and Kennebunk, the home of President Bush. We explored Ogunquit with its world famous beaches, artist community, fishing villages and fabulous shopping. Lobster, clams and lobster - every day of the trip.


The entire point of going to Maine was to get away from work, to get away from stress, and to get away from technology. Unplug and relax! Leave the laptops at home!

Technology made the vacation better.

Our GPS in our phones and car allowed us to see much more of the Maine coastline. Our smartphones allowed us to find just the right places that were doggie friendly. I was able to put up an auto-responder away message on my email, and yet using my service, know that if someone really (really) needed to find me for something urgent, they could. Technology allowed me to get away from technology, and leave my laptop at home. When you tell someone that they can contact you during your vacation - they will. There are less emergencies in life (and in business) than we imagine. So, I felt perfectly fine leaving my laptop at home for this well deserved and needed vacation.

I did not leave my laptop at home.

There were five of us (including Bella) in Maine; there were four laptops and four smartphones. Wi-Fi was everywhere, and that allowed us to do more, see more and have more fun. On the drive home, my oldest son plugged in and worked on his online courses from Quinnipiac University. There is something amazing about taking college courses online from the backseat of a Lincoln Navigator, while doing 65 MPH on Rt. 95 Southbound from Maine towards New York City.

When you master technology, then the technology becomes your friend. When the technology masters you, technology becomes the enemy.

Our last day on the beach, the weather was “iffy”. In fact, severe weather was predicted. I was able to check out the from the beach, and purchase tickets, just in case the day at the beach turned nasty. But, via keeping in constant contact with we knew that the clouds were going to pass us by, and that we could stay on the beach.  Close, but no storms to worry about in our area.

Smartphones allowed our family to have a better vacation. My service told the business world that I cared, but please don’t bug me unless it was a really big deal. GPS technology saved us time, money, and found us dog friendly rest stops. If it were not for our smartphones, we would have gone to the beach with Bella too soon - no dogs on the beach until after 5pm.

I don’t know if I would ever want to completely unplug from the world, whether on vacation or at anytime. Technology can make anything better, or it can make anything worse. It is really up to us how it all works out. 

I guess it is like they say in sports: "play the ball, don't let the ball play you".

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