Happy Groundhog Day!
Traditionally, today is the day we rest our hopes of an early Spring on the weather forecasting skills of Punxsutawney Phil.
If you don’t know, Phil is part famous Pennsylvanian groundhog and part meteorologist.
A weather “hognosticator,” if you will.
But he’s also a movie star — a real Woodchuck Norris — having famously appeared in the 1993 Bill Murray classic “Groundhog Day.”
And that movie — which focuses on a man living the same day over and over and over and over [*takes a deep breathe*] and over and over again — got us thinking…
Obviously, driving semi trucks across the country is a great adventure. Each day brings something new and as far as jobs go, this one is awesome.
But like any job, after years of doing it, even the most enthusiastic professional drivers may have stretches where they feel like they’ve done it all before.
And that made us wonder: What are some good ways to break up those periods of the temporary monotony of the road?
So here are 5 ways for over-the-road (OTR) truck drivers to make each day on the road feel new, fresh and exciting:
1. Team Driving
Many drivers love solo driving and spend their entire careers doing it. But for other drivers, years of solo trips can start to feel like the same old routine.
If you’ve been going it alone and feel like you’re getting cabin fever, why not try heading out on the road with a friend or your spouse? It may take some getting used to, but if you can learn to live in tight quarters with someone for extended periods of time, you may find that team driving is even more fun than solo driving because it’s a shared experience. Having someone to talk to and to share both the work and the fun with can keep your time on the road from getting stale.
Not much of a “people person?” Some carriers may even let you take a pet with you to keep you company.
No matter who your travel buddy is, companionship can go a long way toward breaking up the routine and keeping your trips fun.
2. SiriusXM Radio
One possible problem with driving across the country is that the regular radio stations come and go. That’s where SiriusXM Radio can come in handy.
If you get a subscription to Sirius, you can listen to and follow the same radio personalities no matter which state you’re crossing. Following the same radio hosts can be fun because you can really get into the different ongoing bits and stories as they evolve over time. Plus, unlike the popular songs of the day, talk radio usually doesn’t repeat itself over and over and over and— …you get the idea.
Oh, and if you’re not sure which show to listen to, check out Road Dog Trucking. It’s a channel dedicated to truckers!
3. Mealtime Mixup
Instead of eating the same old truck stop food all the time, try to mix up your meals on a daily basis.
Food may seem like a small thing, but having a different meal every time you eat will add just enough unique “flavor” to each day to keep the miles from blurring together.
Another tip: Cooking in a crockpot is a great way to avoid not only eating the same thing all the time, but also eating anything you don’t really want to eat. By cooking for yourself, you’ll be able to look forward to lunch and dinner (because you’ll be the chef) instead of just eating whatever’s around. Having options like that can really keep your adventure fresh.
4. Get A Hobby
A hobby that you can work on when you’re not behind the wheel can make a big difference because it gives you a change of pace as well as something to drive toward and look forward to.
But what kind of hobby should you get?
Well, your best bet is to work on something that you can “build,” so to speak.
Some drivers have their own Youtube channels, for examples. Others like to write down their experiences on the road and use those stories to create a blog.
In both of these examples, it’s important to take note of the small details of your day because that will be way more interesting to your audience. For example, telling your audience, “I drove a bunch of miles today” isn’t nearly as interesting as saying, “I was driving down Route 491 and saw a sign that said “Buy A Cactus!” but for a second there at first glance, I thought it said ‘Fly A Cactus!’ and I thought, ‘Well, flying on a cactus still sounds more comfortable than the cramped seating on today’s commercial airlines.'”
And here’s the kicker: The more you pay attention to the details of your own day, the more interesting your day becomes to you, too!
Whatever hobby you pick, actively building something to share with your friends, family or fellow drivers is a great way to keep your personal engagement level up, which will help you to treat each day like the new adventure that it is.
5. Listen To People
Whether you’re loading/unloading, fueling up or forced to wait out the dreaded downtime, talking to people can give you a much needed change of pace. But here’s the thing: talking to people isn’t nearly as fun as actually listening to people.
When you meet fellow drivers and other new people, asking questions to find out about their experiences and who they are can be just as entertaining as your favorite radio show because you never know what you’re going to hear.
You can learn about road conditions, hear funny new stories and even make friends out there. Asking other drivers about their journeys can really open up your world beyond the confines of your cab.
And after all, isn’t exploring what’s out there a big part of the reason you started driving OTR in the first place?