It all started a long time ago. I grew up moving around from place to place; mostly to different neighborhoods in the greater Chicagoland area. After 12 schools in 12 years, you could say that moving was in my blood.
At 16 I moved with my mother to Tulsa, OK. There I got my drivers license and a new love of traveling was born. What my mother didn’t know was, while she was sleeping, I would sneak out at night just to go for a drive. I loved being behind the wheel and feeling, for the first time, that I was in control. I moved back home to Chicago 9 months later and there I didn’t have access to a car, and it bothered me. Yes I knew people with cars, but I wasn’t driving. I wasn’t in charge of setting the course or getting us from point A to point B. Some of my fondest memories were when we would take a spontaneous drive to Wisconsin, but those trips still left me feeling as if something was missing.
It would be several years later when I would have access to a car again and now I was married with children (insert love and marriage theme song here). I found myself back in Oklahoma. This time, instead of driving just for fun I used driving as a way of keeping sane. When my first husband would go into a drunken or drug fueled rage, I would get in the car to get away. Even if it was just for an hour or two, driving and seeing the headlights light up the mile markers was a way of feeling a bit less trapped in a marriage that was doomed from the beginning.
That means of keeping myself sane and in control, when the rest of my life was falling apart, remained with me for the rest of my life.
At the end of my second marriage I felt broken and lost. I had moved back to my hometown of Chicago but I felt adrift. I didn’t feel settled inside even though I was surrounded by some of my oldest and dearest friends. After my last child moved out, I felt even more alone and lost. While talking to a friend one night who lived out West she made the offer yet again to come live with her. This was an offer I had heard time and time again but this time, with my emotions high and my life adrift I said yes and set a date to be there. Then and there I resolved to sell or give away most of my belonging, pack a few meager belongings into my car, and start fresh in Washington.
The trip to Washington took me two weeks. I took my time, stopped and saw what I wanted to, and reconnected with friends and family. The most memorable part of that drive was the Pacific Coast Highway. The twists and turns brought me breath taking views mile after mile.
Once my trip was done I settled into life in the Pacific Northwest. Every chance I had I was in my car. I would head to the ocean, to the mountains, or just down a road to see where it would take me. I had a job, and while I hoped I would settle I never really did. I had dreams and ideas but while the fancy to do this or that might take me one minute, what I really wanted to be doing was driving.
At the start of the rainy season here I settled into a depression and stumbled across several blogs and vlogs of truck drivers. That lead me to doing some research and looking at companies on Trucking Truth and other forums about truck drivers. I thought about my extended family, spread out all across the country, and how a life on the road might give me another options of seeing them more often.
Finally I made the plunge. I was turned down by the first company I contacted, which made me sad because they were definitely the top of my list. Not a giant behemoth where I would be a number, but rather more of a mom and pop shop. I sunk into another depression and resolved to just wait until the spring to try again, as my company was heading into their busiest season. Then a good friend gave me the proverbial slap upside the head by saying “Why put your life on hold for this company? It wouldn’t put itself on hold for you.” Two days later I applied to my second choice and well, the rest is now history.
I now find myself on a Greyhound Bus headed to my next destination. I am filled with anxiety because so much is unknown, but I’m also filled with a lot of hope. I’m doing something that is completely different from anything else I’ve ever done before and I have a plan. A real honest to goodness plan for the future. Not a musing or an idea but a comprehensive plan. This trip is the first step in executing it and all I can think is: Let’s do this!