I’m a paid
tourist. That’s what I tell people when they ask what I do for a living. I
travel around North America and get paid to do it. The scenery is never the
same, and neither is the weather. Invariably they say, “Okay, but what do you
guess it’s not always tourism, I have been trying to make it more like that. About
six months ago, I woke up thinking, wow, I’ve “seen” a lot of these two
countries without really seeing them. This wasn’t a come to Jesus moment or a
freakin’ aha Oprah moment. It was a quiet realization that, as truckers, we see
so much of this great land but don’t get to stop and appreciate it. I wanted to
change that for myself.
as a small project, a little like a self-help thing. I just looked to get out
for a walk once a day in a place with cultural, architectural, or geographic
significance. It left me wanting, so I started doing a walk every second day
and then every day. It wasn’t a stretch for me as I already walked every day.
The problem is coming up with somewhere significant to walk in my travels.
this was challenging. Some stretches of highway across the plains are pretty
much devoid of geographic features. In addition, there are several areas of
cities, usually where the truck stops are, that have little in the way of architecture
or culture! My plan started to fall apart.
back to other articles I’d written on the lack of facilities for truckers, I
was tempted to abort the plan and write it off as some other reason to be hard
done by. Then I thought about other people in their day-to-day 9 to 5 jobs.
These guys and gals don’t get the opportunity to check out something new every
day. They might not see new scenery for weeks or months - even years. Here I am
worried about seeing and visiting something new every day while the average
North American never gets that opportunity.
As I said,
I am already a paid tourist, so I decided to research the places I’ll be in,
and since there are often multiple interesting things to see, I have to decide
which ones to see on each trip. I also want to engage with locals when
possible. With this plan, I may even be excited for an extra day layover in a
does this look in practice? Well, it’s a little too early to tell. I’m a couple
of months in and have walked/hiked some great trails in Idaho, Washington, BC
and Montana. As well I have met some interesting local folks. On the flip side,
I’ve had nights confined to walking laps of the truck stop. I’m heading off to
Texas next month and have a layover planned with a rental car and a tour of the
Space Center in Houston, possibly a trip to Hill County.
research is done, and the planning, well, you know how planning is in trucking!
As they say, “…the best-laid plan of mice and men…” So I’ll let this be a two-part
story - stay tuned!!