A Hard Turn

Sunrise in Iowa

It’s been an emotionally challenging weekend. April 1st is normally the day we turn in our truck and begin our summer off in the Puget Sound. This year is different. We have decided to drive through the summer and take the winter off beginning in December of this year, 2017.

Instead, we are sitting in a Service Plaza in Ohio taking a twenty-four hour break so our log books will have the hours to run hard again this week. We have rolled over 136,000 miles since we started back to work in October. 22,666 miles a month. After 11 years we are still amazed at the miles.

The fact we are here in our truck in Ohio today is conformation of our bigger plan, the plan where we make a hard turn and head in a new direction.

STAND BY TO COME ABOUT!
Ready about!
HELM’S ALEE!
(In sailing terms this is where we find out if everything below is safely stowed for sea!)

At the end of this month we are taking two weeks off in Tacoma, our home port to get “Wings of the Morning” ready to put on the market. I will be pricing her for a quick sale.

One of the things we realized while we were out sailing in the San Juan Islands might be obvious to others, but it came slow to us. Sailing is a great way to escape from life, and sailboats are marvelous escape vehicles. The revelation for us was that we weren’t all that interested in escaping life. Our life on the truck is escape enough. Six thousand miles a week on the road leaves no time for making new friends, no time for learning new things. We found out that sailing can be a rather lonely adventure as well.

Don’t get me wrong. We had a blast.
Here is the routine: We sail to a beautiful island. On the way we are surrounded by wildlife, birds and seals and fish and possibly a whale of one kind or another. The view of the islands and the mountains behind them is stunning.

Once we arrive at our destination, we anchor in a beautiful harbor. We hike, we explore, we watch for new forms of wildlife. We fish, we crab, we dig for clams. We relax in the cockpit with drinks in the evening. Tomorrow is another day.

We stay for three amazing days and then we move on.
We sail to a beautiful island. On the way we are surrounded by wildlife, birds and seals and fish and seals and possibly a whale of one kind or another. The view of the islands and the mountains behind them is stunning.

Once we arrive at our destination, we anchor in a beautiful harbor. We hike, we explore, we watch for new forms of wildlife. We fish, we crab, we dig for clams. We relax in the cockpit with drinks in the evening. Tomorrow is another day.

We stay for three days and then we move on.

Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera….

For a break we visit a beautiful little harbor town where we walk and explore and eat and drink.
We stay for three days and then we move on.

It was fantastic.
Except that something was missing.

Somewhere back in one of my previous posts I said that sailing for us wasn’t going to be about a constant vacation. It was supposed to be about more than that. It was supposed to be about meeting new people, exploring new lifestyles. Seeing how others lived. We envisioned getting involved with the communities we discovered.

The fact that hasn’t happened may be our fault, maybe others have figured out how to do this, but for us the sailing lifestyle seems geared toward seclusion, not inclusion. So we are changing directions.

Our plan is to take winters off and travel overseas. Last summer while discussing all of this we talked about living with locals; in their homes and a part of their lives. That evening Sherlene typed something eluding to this into Google and came up with workaway.info . Now, there are several organizations similar to this but we like this one. You can check it out yourself, but basically we travel to a country and live with local hosts. In exchange for room and board we help them with what ever projects they have. We stay in their home, eat their food, and share their lives.

There will be challenges of course, and people being people we may find things are not exactly as advertised, but that is life. This is where we learn to adapt; Where we have our minds pried open and we are forced to deal with new ideas and perspectives.

We could keep our beloved boat and have waffled back and forth, keeping her one day and selling her the next (which we also did with our house), but way back when we dreamed of being free we decided we would do one thing at a time. If we owned a house we wouldn’t own a boat. We won’t own a boat while having land adventures. With nothing to tie us down, we are free.

Simple is good.

Meanwhile, we have the summer and fall to get through. We have a boat to clean up after a long hard winter. Living with the excitement of planning a new adventure while stuck in the cab of a truck is hard, but we are used to that. We have some fun planned for this summer, and more this fall.

Life is good and getting better.

Our hope is that you are inspired to step outside of your comfort zone. Do something crazy. Decide that maybe you can be a difference in the world, how crazy is that?

We’ll keep you posted, until next time.

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5 thoughts on “A Hard Turn

  1. Hi Kevin, I know you’ve probably been trucking for awhile but I was wondering if it was enjoyable or if the miles wear on you. I thought about trying it as the work I’ve done since I was 19 is getting harder with age. If you can inform me as to your opinion and then maybe give me on some ideas on the best way to start, if I decide to pursue it, so as not start out wrong it would be appreciated. I have a class A CDL, but never drove a big rig, had to have one to drive line construction trucks with air brakes that pulled trailers with various weights. Sounds like your new adventure may be more rewarding then the last! Thanks, Alan Larkin

    Sent from my iPad

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    1. Hi Alan, thanks for asking about this!
      The miles: There was a turning point at about five years for us. At first, every load was a new trip and an opportunity to see new parts of our beautiful country. After five years we have been everywhere in all weathers and all times and seasons. Now, we have to make a conscious effort to notice the beauty and wonder with which we are surrounded. Beyond that, twelve hours a day strapped into the seat of a truck can be very boring. You have to find a release for the mind. We listen to audible books, podcasts, and music, and we dream up new adventures. It is also very difficult to maintain any form of physical conditioning.

      The opportunity is always there, but that is an eye opener in itself. It is possible to make 50 thousand a year with a few years of experience. That attracts a lot of people. Most of those people only last a year of two. Life on the road is hard. Long hours with very little time off. Bad food, lack of sleep, pushy dispatchers, and rude customers are par for the course. Do a Google search on trucking industry turnover.
      If you stick with it you can get into a company that treats you like a human being. Driving team with my wife has made all the difference for us.

      There are driving jobs of all types. You can be home every night, or once a week, or once a month or sell the house and never come home.. You can pull flat bed, refrigerated, box, hazmat, or all of it on a regular basis.

      If you want to drive local, go see them in person. Find out what they need to have to hire you. I would stop in to JTL Truck Driving School out at 144th and I80 and talk to Shelly on a midweek day. They are very honest and helpful. Tell them I sent you. We went to school there, and I taught there one year.

      Driving truck over the road has worked for us, but mostly because we figured out how to step away from it for a break once in a while. Those breaks are a necessity for us.

      I will say this also: Somewhere down the road, five years, ten years? There won’t be drivers behind the wheel while the truck rolls down the road. They may be onboard, but they will be there to take over in some pre-described event, such as driving through city traffic or backing up to a dock, fueling etc. That may help keep drivers or it may eliminate them as we know them. Unions may play a part it the outcome. It shouldn’t effect you or me, hopefully we will be done working by then.

      Good luck in what ever you decide, and stay in touch!

      Kevin

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  2. Oh, my. That’s a huge change. for a few years and now that we’ve retired, my husband and I are talking about various ways to live in another country. Sell the house and move there. Keep the house and live away 2-3 months at a time. It’s a big decision. I hope that with this new experience, you do get to know locals and have more of a feeling of living there.

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  3. Kevin, I’m excited about your new direction. Change is good. Seclusion is great but should be intentionally sought for its own sake.

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  4. Wow! That is so exciting. I’ll be anxious to see how it all goes. In the meantime, have a good summer and keep us posted! Thanks for referring me to your blog!!

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