Detour Ahead

After a year and a half of trucking, it’s time for me to take an indefinite break. Chris and I picked up our last load with this company, and after a week home, he will be driving the truck back to Georgia, then seeking work with another company. I will keep living and working in town for the foreseeable future, while Chris keeps driving trucks, hopefully running regional or dedicated routes so that he can be home more often. We wish we could stay with our company, but they recently transitioned to team-only. If I decide to get back into trucking, we will definitely take advantage of their revolving-door policy.

Eighteen months on the road feels like a lot and also nothing at all, especially compared to some of the lifers out there. There are a lot of things I really love about the work and lifestyle, chiefly the money and autonomy, but also the sense of perpetual motion and exposure to this beautiful country. I will certainly miss it. But in the pursuit of all those benefits, I’ve let slip my quality of life and the needs that I have at home, things that can only be felt through slow accumulation. I won’t go into all the minutiae of priorities that I feel I’ve let fall through my fingers in the past year; suffice to say that in total they’ve taken a toll on my physical and mental health. Trucking is an easy job in some ways, and infinitely hard in others. As a lifestyle choice, it can give a lot but take much more.

As I’ve been keeping my family and close friends abreast of this transition, I am asked if I made the right decision. I have to remind them, and myself, that there is no such thing. There are only outcomes and consequences, some of which can’t be accounted for with planning and expectation. And even though we’ve made plenty, experience has shown us that even the most carefully laid plans will go awry, and expectations almost always get defied. That’s why it’s important to set goals, not hard plans, and to expect nothing but change. And in more concrete terms, if things go really sideways, we can always get back in the truck together. I will have my medical card through to next spring, and my CDL for many more years.

In the meantime, my goals are to further my freelance writing career, supplemented by a stable position—hopefully still within the logistics industry—and work with my other partner in a local business venture, utilizing our skills as craftsmen. With the new season, we are all feeling energized by change and new growth, working toward our common goals to become more independent, learn new things and continue our education, and build a sustainable family and community, where we can live according to our own values and not the constructs of a society that distracts itself with consumption to maintain an arbitrary status quo. That sounds vague because it should, since this isn’t the platform to air my personal information or opinions beyond what’s relevant to trucking. I’m just sharing enough to highlight what this career has really taught me: to adapt to the unexpected, pay attention to the signs marking the way, embrace the alternative route—when the most direct one is dangerous or shut off—and keep moving forward.

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