Sunday, February 28, 2021

#BeInspired Life on The Road


Grocery drawer

Some of my over the road food as mentioned on this blog. Unfortunately, the truck didn’t have a refrigerator. I had to bring things that would survive not in it. I grew up without electricity, so, I know all about that life. Sidebar: I also grew up without indoor plumbing and running water, so I’m well equipped in that life as well! 

Canned chicken breasts + Mayo

I ate so much canned chicken during this month on the road that I was off it for a while.... maybe I still am! Just the canned stuff. Don’t get it twisted! Chicken and I are still tight! Spoiler alert: I had chicken for lunch yesterday! It’s 4:30am right now as I type this. I’ve a little bit of time to kill, so I thought I’d see if I can squeeze in another blog before February ends. I’ll finish this later, God willing. 

One of my goals for becoming a truck driver, was to continue to lose weight. For those of you who may not know, I’ve lost more than 100LBS so far. I hear all the stories about truck drivers and weight gain. I made a resolution to change the narrative. I love challenging myself to that kind of stuff. I lose weight in Winter, simply because, people will say that its harder to do so. So I prove them otherwise. For fun. When I lived in South Africa and would go home more often than I do now, I would make sure not to gain weight when I went to mom’s for holidays. Or during holiday period, period. It’s another way to make push you towards your goals. I’d love to hear what your “things” are that you’ve challenged yourself with. 

When Carlos, my truck driving mentor, found out I’m someone who’s watching my weight, he got excited and told me that he needs to lose a few pounds. Maybe having me in the truck would motivate him to clean up his act, so to speak. Music to my ears. If anything, I like to try and inspire. One of my faves hashtags, that I made up for myself is  #BeInspired. I use it so that, people who come with the negative mindset of, blah blah blah, so you’re posting another before and during weight loss picture! Good for you! No! Not just good for me! Good for you too! Not a lot of people are going to see this post, there’s a reason you came across it. Use that as inspiration in your own life to prove what can be achieved. It’s not just a weight loss thing, weight loss just happens to be something visible that you can show people, therefore I use that, amongst other things. 

Carlos eats a lot of snacks. All kinds of nuts. The good ones! All kinds! I happen to love nuts. They’re one of those things I go out of my way to stay away from. If I have them or even nut butter around; that’ll be my sole focus! I will eat nothing but that until it’s finished. Carlos doesn’t seem to have that problem. Good for him. I envy people who don’t have problems with food. I mean, he must have some kind of an issue, hence being as big as he was before. But it’s probably a different one to the ones I have. Recently, someone told me that they’re inspired by my weight loss but aren’t as disciplined as I am. Uhm! If I were that disciplined, how come I got that big? Or they’ll say, they love food. Uhm, duh! 

There are a few big truck stops our company works with. Those companies give out reward points for fueling. You can use these points to buy anything in the truck stops, including “premium parking”. You also get free showers, terms and conditions apply for showers. Because my trainer owns his truck, I believe they have a different rate for him. He gets more points, possibly even double at some spots. Don’t quote me on this. It was nice of Carlos to make sure when we did fuel, we used his payment card (I had one assigned to me by the company), and my rewards card, so that I can be rewarded in his scale, which was higher. Free money!

Eating Chesters chicken for the first time. Surprising amount of sugar!

I drove an average of 10 hours per day, that’s around 500 miles / 800km per day. Your body feels beat because you’re not used to it but you quickly build up stamina. It also helps to have a decent driver’s seat. Carlos had a few seat cushions to choose from. Honestly, though, I’m not sure if they helped but I definitely had my favorite one. Based on, well, it looked cleaner than others. I knew that he had been training students on his truck for seven years. The truck wasn’t the cleanest, so I didn’t  know the pillows ever saw a washer. At the same time, you’re in someone’s home. You shouldn’t offend. I just white bubbled myself through it all. 
Eating fried Frog Legs for first time. Carlos’ treat. I’d had cooked ones before in Palm Springs

I ate my precooked meats and boiled eggs asap as they were going to go bad if I didn’t. Not being in the fridge and all. The truck was freezing throughout the day. I guess that helped some. I like room temperature but I’m a trooper. I went with his temperature. I knew I was going to get used to it. We would stop at Walmart for groceries. As you may know, you don’t have fridge, you shop often. That helped. Kinda. It’s not really my style of financial management, shopping often. When I go shopping, I at least buy enough stuff to last me a week, as I didn’t know what lay (lied?) ahead. Carlos bought us 24 waters for the truck and kept the empty bottles to recycle. I’m all for going green and the earth and all that but it’s already a small space. There are already left over empty bottles from Lord knows whenever! 

Nice view from Rest area where we stayed the night

I let him buy us the water once. I know he promised but I’m not used to feeling like I owe someone a favor. Next time we went to Walmart, I paid for the water. He didn’t like that, so we had those weird moments of, no I got it! One time, I let him pay for it but bought an extra couple of gallons of water. I don’t think he liked that. I get it: rude! But why is it polite to make someone else comfortable and rude to make myself comfy? Am I the narcissist here with this logic? 

The air in the truck was nice. I think we were both matured enough to be able to co-mingle. At least, I hope he was ok as well. He taught me how to back. One thing I was the least good at. See what I did there? Haha. He would tell me to watch how I set up before I even start to back up. The thing about driving a tractor (truck) that is hauling a 53ft (16metres) trailer, is that, it’s longer than anything I’ve ever driven. And I learned to drive on a box truck (I think that’s what a lorry is called in America). That thing has nothing on an 18 wheeler truck! I would set up, look in the mirror and realize, sht! This thing is long! How in the world am I going to fit this in between those two trucks without causing any damage? It was intimidating for sure. Having Carlos there, with his nice demeanor, helped a lot. Also, we do what they call, in the industry, GOAL. WHich is an acronym for 
I had asked from the beginning that Carlos let me do all the backing, even if he happens to be driving. As long as I’m awake, let me back that thang up! And he did. Lots of getting out to see what everything looks like from the back. No pun, and then back in the truck. About that though! Yeah, it’s nice to know you’re not about to hit anyone but the perspective is totally different. At least, from how my brain works. I see people measuring from the back, in person and then getting in the truck using that estimation to fit it in. That’s not how my brain works. The perspective is different from mirror, to in person from the left side of truck, to right side, etc. Sometimes, I’d get it the first time. Those days were exciting. We did a lot of counting to 4. Turn the wheel four times this way, back up, counting to four. One one thousand, two one thousand, the whole shebang.  Going downhill? Foot on brake, count to 4 seconds, then release. Good teacher, that Carlos was. I got lucky! Trust me. I’ve heard the stories. 

At least, he was a good teacher, until two weeks in. Everything changed as I knew it! 
More on that next blog. 

Thanks for riding along with me. Pun intended. 

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