Truck Driving: The Authentic Adventure

Getting to see this country firsthand is a privilege not afforded by many. Even fewer actually get paid to travel. It may be just one aspect of the job, but it’s one that stands out to me because of my personal experience.

When I was in my early twenties, I embarked on a new career in truck driving. In addition to a nice paycheck for the first time in my life, I was also thrilled by the adventure of the road. Getting to see California, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and the Northwest territories all left a big impression on me. Each day challenged me by demanding something new. One day I would be turning curves up a winding mountain road, and another I would be traveling across the corn and wheat fields of the mid-west without another car passing me for hours.

I knew before I started driving that I didn’t want to work in an office setting, but I didn’t know how much I would love life on the road until I was already living it. Perhaps my favorite early experience was when I was hauling for NASA, transporting shuttle engines from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida, to the retrofitting location in Mississippi. I can still see the inside of the vehicle assembly building and the shuttle being lifted by a crane into the crate supporting it for me to haul.

Maybe not every job is as thrilling as that one was for me, but one of the things that truckers everywhere experience is a sense of pride in what they do. When you drive a truck, you realize how much this country depends on over-the-road transportation. Even though when I started out, I was fairly independent (and still am), as a truck driver I instantly became a part of a very special club, and it’s a club I’m proud to belong to. Whether it’s food or fuel, America can’t run without it. Each of your deliveries alone will impact hundreds to thousands of people.

Today, I’m an instructor to students who are finally taking the step to realize their dreams. They might be fresh out of college, or they might have already found success in other fields. Of the more than one thousand students I’ve trained, some have even come from white collar careers as doctors, lawyers and engineers to join our ranks. For many, it’s the sense of adventure that makes them want to trade in their desks and cubicles for a big rig.

Whether you are seeking financial stability or you are looking beyond the cubicle walls, there is one thing certain – truck driving will give you a chance to see places you might have only seen pictures of. It’s the ultimate adventure to be paid to travel. I wouldn’t be so passionate about devoting my career to training people to drive trucks if I didn’t know for certain that it’s a career that is fulfilling as it is financially rewarding.

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Post Author:  Greg Dotson, Program Director, Lead CDL Instructor-Maryville, Peak Technical Institute