By Rebecca Kling
Will has been driving for over five years now. I had developed a few preconceived notions about his job from a wife’s point of view. I finally got the opportunity to take an overnight trip with him in his truck and I will admit that my ideas, beliefs, and preconceived notions of what his life was like were wrong.
Being a trucker’s wife, I had a few preconceived notions about my husband’s job. That perception, however, changed significantly when I took an overnight trucking trip with him. Here are 4 lessons I learned during my trip that made me more compassionate and appreciative.
When I married my husband Will in 2002, I thought we’d be an active-duty military family for at least 20 years, but that didn’t happen. Life had other plans for us.
After four years of being a navy wife, we moved our family back to my home state and settled back in as best as we could to civilian life.
In 2013, Will first mentioned going into trucking. I knew next to nothing about the trucking industry. Even though he’s not home as much as our family would like, at least trucking would mean we wouldn’t need to worry about deployment. We deal with his extended absences the best we can.
Will has been driving for over five years now. Whatever I know about his job primarily come from our conversations, and to be honest, I’ve developed a few preconceived notions about his job.
Changing my perception of overnight trucking
I finally got the opportunity to take an overnight trip with him in his truck in June. I will admit that my ideas, beliefs, and preconceived notions of what his life was like were wrong.
Lesson 1: It’s not a leisure trip
I used to think that his job was more of a fun road trip, but I quickly learned that this was completely wrong. As a family, we had our fair share of fun and not-so-fun road trips, but this was neither.
I saw a shift in Will as soon as he hooked up the trailer. This was business for him.
Lesson 2: Detention time can be frustrating
The second thing that I realized was how draining and exhausting an extended wait at a shipper or receiver can be.
When we were on the road, we ended up waiting at a shipper for four hours. There was no restroom, no napping, and no food. I instantly thought back to all the times I had been less than understanding. I could see the frustration on his face as he kept looking at his drive clock, confirming that he would not be able to make that particular delivery on time.
I never understood why his whole mood would shift because of wait times, but I found out first-hand. I admit I’ve been guilty of saying, “At least you can take a nap or read or watch something while you wait.”
Lesson 3: Showering is a challenge
There were many nights when Will called to say a quick goodnight, mentioning that he was too tired even to shower.
I’d jokingly call him lazy because in my mind I wondered, how hard can it be to just go and shower?
When we were on the road, I learned a hard lesson about the challenges of being able to shower comfortably while on the road. The water might not be warm enough, it can sometimes get crowded, or there might not be any shower facilities at all.
It wasn’t as simple or nearly as comfortable or relaxing as jumping in the shower at home.
Lesson 4: Being on the road can be lonely
I often pictured Will on the road, driving in quiet solitude, escaping “real life.” This is probably the number one thing I envied about his job since I’m at home with our four kids 90 percent of the time.
On the day we were heading home, I noticed several drivers sitting in their trucks alone, eating their lunch alone, and driving alone. I realized how lonely it could get after more than just a few days or how hard it would be to be away from loved ones.
There are days when drivers probably feel the heartache of their extended absences—sad that their kids are growing up too fast or that life is happening, without them.
I’m sure there are probably days when they just want someone to talk to and not be alone. I had only been away for 24 hours, and I was already homesick and missed our girls.
[Check out my latest article: 5 real-life tips for trucker wives: What to expect when your spouse is away]
A clearer understanding of overnight trucking
This trip was long overdue. Although it was far from being my favorite thing we’d ever done together, in the end, I got a first-hand glimpse into what it’s like to be on the road.
I experienced the frustrations, the waiting, the boredom, and the loneliness. I also experienced the freedom of the open road, the beauty of the changing landscape, and the satisfaction of a job well done.
Until this trip, I thought my job as a stay-at-home mom was harder than his. I used to think his job was so easy.
I still don’t understand why he chose this profession, but through this trip, I saw his passion, resilience, and hard work shine through. I’m glad I gained a better understanding of his role as a driver. Because of it, I’ve become a lot more appreciative and compassionate.
Did you know?
Did you know that Will Kling uses the Motive ELD (formerly KeepTruckin ELD) and the Smart Dashcam in his truck?
Here is his unboxing review and first impressions of the Motive Smart Dashcam.
If you have any questions about the Motive ELD or Smart Dashcam, connect with a sales rep.