A good friend Jewel Jones President of Over the Road Apparel e-mailed me a request the other night. She wanted to do a promotion for driver appreciation week in the form of a contest based around the simple hashtag of #WHYIDRIVE. She asked me if I would mind taking a picture with that tag in one of my OTR designed shirts. With out thinking twice as she is a good friend and I like the quality of their shirts I said yes.
Then I got to thinking. Why do I drive??? That is such a simple question. Yet it is one that is not as simple as it looks on the surface. My first thought was it is because it is who I am. Diesel has gotten into my veins. Despite my interest in driver health and health advocacy. I can not see me hanging up the keys and exchanging it for an office. Driving trucks has become a key part of me. How does one explain this to someone who is not totally immersed in the industry. How the long hours, isolation, stress of life on the road, poor diet, is a life style that so many of us can not see leaving. I came up with several other reasons. Yet none of them seemed to convey what it means to me to be a driver, and why I chose this lifestyle. (Or maybe the lifestyle chose me?)
I thought back to my previous life at a major electronics retailer. I had put in 10 years there and could easily have qualified for a management position if I chose. Yet one day after another marathon session of long hours and being abused by customers I snapped. I slammed my keys on the counter and left in tears. It was that or throw the customer through the window. (As tempting as it was I believe I made the right choice, by walking away.)
After several months of trying a few different jobs I realized I no longer had the temperament for retail. Something in me changed, I dreaded it. Till this day the thought of doing retail or customer service positions for any length of time gives me the shakes. I saw an add for trucking school and responded. After several months of research I realized this was going to be a good fit for me. So I entered the workforce as a driver.
After a few weeks family and friend noticed I was the happiest I have been in years. The solitude the time for thinking gave me a chance to look at myself and make some personal changes. Seeing the country waking up to some of the best views one could see helped to renew my soul. The quiet desolation and solitude of the desert southwest truly speaks to my soul and is healing. One may laugh but I truly find it to be God’s country. It is where I can be still and forget about the distractions of daily life and focus on me.
So the answer to #whyIdrive is simple for me. It heals my soul. It may sound corny but for me driving despite the frustrations and aggravations. At the end of the day has been one of the best things for me. It has allowed me to grow as a person, and to realize it is OK to be alone and take time to listen for that still quiet voice that gives us direction and hopefully peace.
In the interest of full disclosure. Jewel and OTR is a supporter of Road Tested Living. Their support makes all of this possible. To learn more about the contest check them out on Facebook.