I remember the first time it truly dawned on me that people here in the United States don't live a uniform lifestyle. Travel to other countries unveiled a myriad of situations, but here in our home country? I generally thought it was all suburbs and desk jobs, ongoing service broken up by an occasional holiday.
We were on our first big camping expedition. The whipping wind of Wyoming tugged at our doors as we pulled into a gas station for momentary respite. Nate ducked into the shop and when I looked up next, he was standing beside the doors of a nearby Peterbilt. The two travelers swapped stories, kicked tires, and exchanged glances into each other's cabins.
This, I've learned, is the human version of dogs sniffing each other's butts.
When my husband finally pulled himself away as the big rig rattled forward, he told me what he'd learned from the truck driver. Origin and destination, cargo coupled with a demanding schedule.
“Where does he sleep?” I pondered aloud.
“There's a bed behind his seats,” Nate said. “A whole mini-cabin. That's where the drivers are hanging out when you see them parked on the side of the road in the middle of the night.”
For me, our trip looked a little different from that point forward. I noticed myself peering through the tinted windows of adjacent vehicles and wondering about the lifespan of abandoned trailers and well-worn tractors.
After that trip, we found ourselves drawn more and more into the vehicle traveling community.
Trucks, bikes, mopeds, motorcycles, automobiles…the varying modes of overland transportation are vast.
I love that we are able to take our children along for the ride, as they learn about the world right alongside Nate and myself.
What's even more delightful to see is their curiosity about the driving force behind these vehicles. Upon seeing a toy automobile a few days ago, the first thing Sidekick asked was the story of the “tiny man” behind the wheel. In a world where possessions and shiny things are always front and center, it makes me smile to see our boys acquiring a healthy interest in the people around them.
We’ve been working with 1in100million.com and watching their unique #WorkforceStories. Through their YouTube videos, I’ve been showing my boys a behind-the-scenes look at careers of interesting workers.
Their featured worker this month was a truck driver, which tied in perfectly with our continued conversation about fellow travelers. Shannon NeSmith from Clermont, Florida travels for the same reasons we do: freedom, new scenery, meeting new people. She works hard, delivering everything from military equipment to golf carts all over each coast, and she's engaged to a fellow truck driver she met at a loading dock in Oklahoma! Shannon hails from a truck-driving family and has wanted to follow in her mother and brother's footsteps as long as she can remember, a point that resonated with my boys as we frequently discuss how both boys and girls can achieve any career they put their mind to.
How do you teach your children about varying lifestyles?