After a long hiatus, I’m starting this up again. My husband’s latest job has given me the perfect opportunity to write about my favorite subject – which, of course, would be travel.
About two years ago, Younes was looking for a good-paying job that didn’t involve 2-4 more years of school and gobs of student loan debt. So he decided to go into trucking. As in, big rig trucking.
So he went to trucking school for a few weeks (seriously, the programs are that short), passed his test, and got his Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). At the time, I was working full-time, so he headed off on the road alone. He did that for about six months. My grant was not renewed so newly jobless, I joined him last fall.
As a child, I did a good amount of domestic travel with my parents. By the time I left for college, I had traveled to over half the states in the US. Those trips were a huge highlight of my childhood, a source of wonderful memories.
But after I went to college, the lure of international travel distracted me from domestic travel. From 2003-2013, I only made it to two new states, and one was just passing through (New Jersey on my way to New York where I lived for a brief time). In my defense, I was out of the country for nearly three of those 10 years. Anyway, riding along seemed like to perfect opportunity to get back into the swing of adventuring around my home country.
And what an adventure it has been. Breakdowns in the mountains of West Virginia and Colorado. Watching, white-knuckled, as Younes backed into a dock across four lanes of oncoming traffic in the Detroit ghetto (he did fantastic). Sharing a single bed in the sleeper berth. Learning to cook in the truck in relative darkness, which took me back to my Swazi days. Seeing a New England fall. Getting back out to the west. And yes, I did knock off 12 more states, bringing my total to 43.
It isn’t all fun though. The interstates can be incredibly boring, especially when you know beauty and adventure are just a few miles away, but time restraints and lack of truck parking prevent you from accessing it. The chain truck stops lack character of the yesteryear truck stops. The waits for loads are long. I passed the time by reading, especially two books by Bill Bryson, which ponder the complicated relationship current and former expats have with this country. It’s something I can greatly relate to and in the spirit of Bryson, I’d like to ponder that too.