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SPECIAL MESSAGE: Back Story Vlog:151

Zena Sue asked me a question the other night, while we were yakking on the phone, “How did you get into trucking? I’m always interested in the back story.”

That question presented the perfect way to bring the SPECIAL MESSAGE I wanted to share with subscribers…

I cannot tell you what your participation in commenting (and watching) the so-called land search videos, meant to me and to Jai.

It’s far more than a simple “thank you”.

It’s about genuine gratitude for your allowing me and Jai to have the advantage of your experience and your BEAUTIFUL MINDS!

I know people say “Thank you” sometimes in a polite way, to let you know they noticed what you did. Or because they think it fits. That is not the case on this occasion.

What I’m trying to convey here is this…

…over the last few weeks, I have had the opportunity to take a long and insightful look at the many turning points in my life. Events and situations that some would call “failures”. And in fact, I did as well, for a long while! And yet…

In the midst of EVERY failure you and I experience in life, there IS the seed of success and possibility.

It is there! However…

In the middle of all the feelings that go along with difficult events in life, we often do not see that “seed of opportunity”.  I know this has happened to me, many times.

However, in the last couple of weeks, profound changes have been taking place in my life. Changes and insights that have given me a deeper perspective on just exactly what led me to drive a truck as a team-driver AND…

…how much GRACE it has brought into my life. THIS job has given me this chance to begin re-creating my own life and future success… and to re-focus on my own life’s purpose.

I can honestly say these hours spent traveling all across America, have given me time and opportunity to contemplate the possibilities in life. To learn about and understand myself. To investigate mind… the powerful ally it can become when invited and opened.  AND… I get to get paid while doing so!

When Jai and I started CDL school, we had a very limited amount of time to get it done. Meaning… to get hired and get started earning income.

We figured that it would take roughly 2-3 months to get through to that point where we were earning income. That’s a very long time when you’re bringing in no income and yet bills don’t stop!

With the theft of his tools (read: un-employable) and the subsequent lay-off from his primary employer… we still had to pay bills and keep our noses above water long enough to get going.

Most people – us included – are literally a paycheck or two away from financial ruin.

In our case, Jai had been laid off 5 times in 18 months. Can you imagine?

We were constantly playing “catch-up” for those 18 months. Never able to really get ahead.

And when things seemed as though they were turning around

BAM!

He was laid-off at the most unexpected time we could have ever imagined.

This came on the heels of his employer’s promise of years of work ahead, with government contracts in place. Thousands of dollars had been spent to getting Jai the appropriate government ID’s to enter bases in the area, so it was literally crazy.

Why would they pay all that money to get his ID’s… and lay him off?

We were shocked

And then the shock wore off.

Sanity began to return and the options were… well, there weren’t any.

The only thing that stood out as a possibility for us to  stave off losing our truck, our place of residence and essentially everything… was a quietly percolating idea secreted away in the back of my mind.

It was an idea Jai knew nothing about until that Saturday morning in December, 2013, when I asked him the following simple question… “What do you think of driving a big truck as a team?”

The “idea” of driving had never occurred to me before. Not ever.

Although I have always loved trucks… the look of them, the way they move, the beautiful lines, the mammoth size and glorious strength they seem to exude …it still never occurred to me to go learn to drive one!

At least not before the trip I took just before Jai’s work situation exploded.

In October of 2013, I took a trip to St. Louis, Missouri, to trade in our ten year-old Chevy 3500 HD, for a new one.

I went to make this purchase at the same dealership we had purchased our first truck. 2,500 miles away from where we lived in San Diego!

I can’t tell you how good the deal they offered was. It was VERY good.

Since we could no longer purchase any kind of warranty for our 2003 Chevy, AND since Jai’s new job was looking so solid… it seemed to be the sensible thing to do.

On that trip, which I took alone, I travelled 5,000 miles around trip.

I left in October, purchasing our new truck on the last day of the month. Then spent the Thanksgiving Holiday with my parents (seeing them for the first time in six years) and then headed back to San Diego with the new truck at the beginning of December. I was gone two months.

It was the first time I can ever remember actually enjoying driving

This was a BIG surprise because previously, I was famous for stopping every 2 or 3 hours to take a nap, while on road trips (LOL)!

On that trip, I chose to sleep in the back of the truck at truck stops, instead of going to a hotel. I just wanted to experience the road in all it’s forms.

I would get up in the early morning hours, have breakfast while sitting on the tail gate, and watch the trucks waking up from their night-time slumber. I watched quietly from the sidelines as the soldiers of the highway took to their steering wheels and began the march toward the truck stop exit… heading for the highway, and wherever it was they were going.

Afterwards, I would climb in our new Chevy and take to the highway myself.

I stopped at interesting points along the way… tourist traps (love those), thrift stores (love those even more!), farmer’s markets and flea markets that looked interesting and anything that took my fancy.

It was like my own personal Mother Road trip.

I spent a lot of time finding old Route 66 places. 🙂

When I got back to San Diego, it was the first December.

Shortly after my return, the fireworks began.

When I returned, the idea of driving a big truck still had not occurred to me. It was only after the simple idea that I could perhaps turn our new truck into a little business enterprise, that I started doing some research.

I did this late at night while Jai was asleep!

I knew nothing about how I could our truck for a business…. but I’m a damn good researcher.

I ended up Craig’s List in the “Transportation” section. It was there I first saw ads for “team drivers” for big freight companies.

The ads promised $10,000 sign-on bonuses. I’ll admit that got my attention.

Of course, I learned that most of those bonus promises are for experienced drivers, which we were not. We didn’t even have a CDL! But I saw the possibility and it intrigued me.

Still, I didn’t really think of this as a real possibility for us. I had reasons as long as my leg (and I have fairly long legs!) for why I couldn’t do this…

I didn’t tell Jai anything about this research. I didn’t want to get his hopes up if nothing worked out. But…

Over the two weeks between his tools going missing and the lay-off, I began to realize this could indeed be a viable option for us. The question was for me, “Do I want to do this? Am I willing to commit to something so seemingly radical?”

I knew if I brought it up, I’d have to be committed.

For several years after the car accident in 2004, I struggled with health issues. I became sensitive to everything you can imagine: shampoo, make-up, moisturizers, cleaning supplies… everything. My immune system was under a lot of stress with the after-math of injuries sustained in the accident.

However, by 2013 I had recovered 100%. Other than the frustration from struggling with vocal issues, I was fit and ready to take a crazy leap into the unknown… the world of trucking.

So began the new adventure…

…and, so began the opportunity that has now changed my life in ways I don’t yet have the words to describe. But… I will find them 🙂

– Andrea

 



Andrea Steward

Andrea Steward

Before driving professionally for Con-Way Truckload, Andrea was (and still is) a professional photographer/musician/singer/artist/writer and serial entrepreneur. She has written and produced 5 albums (available on CD Baby). Now... she's driving in a husband/wife truck driving team and LOVIN' IT with passion. "Life in America depends on truckers... my Grandaddy did it for 45 years, it might be in my blood!" - Andrea
Andrea Steward

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Andrea Steward
About Andrea Steward (145 Articles)
Before driving professionally for Con-Way Truckload, Andrea was (and still is) a professional photographer/musician/singer/artist/writer and serial entrepreneur. She has written and produced 5 albums (available on CD Baby). Now... she's driving in a husband/wife truck driving team and LOVIN' IT with passion. "Life in America depends on truckers... my Grandaddy did it for 45 years, it might be in my blood!" - Andrea
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