The Way Home

Scot Barney
6 minutes

The Way Home

While most of our fleet is required to be out 21 days for every 7 at home, I know some of our drivers really stay out there. When working in the southeast region, I’d generally stay out for 5 or 6 weeks, but around the fifth week, I’d start to get a little crazy.

I am fortunate that I didn’t start truck driving until my youngest son was in high school after cell phones were commonly available. My wife and I would have long conversations on the phone without getting too sick of one another so I’d hear about homecoming, football season, friends and girlfriends, the new job, prom, and all the minutia. Even then, I was just experiencing life at home in time-lapse like when the movement of traffic or the stars is photographed in long exposure and you can see the light stretching out behind them and see where they had been. I could keep up with all the developments of my family’s lives and schedule home time around graduations, weddings, and funerals. It’s hard to imagine what it would have been like to have small kids at home and not be there to experience all the milestones. Hopefully, they will understand when they’re older that you were prioritizing them over yourself by providing for their best possible life and would have preferred to be there for all of it.

Sometimes managing my time away was easier than my home time. When you stay out a month at a time, the honey-do list stacks up like a towering monument to all the small things that make a house a home. These tasks that only I could do were mundane yet profoundly symbolic. They were reminders of the home life I was working to maintain, the life that continued to buzz while I was miles away.

Coming home could be a jarring transition. The rhythm of home life was always a stark contrast to the solitude of the road. The quiet of the cab was replaced by the chatter of family life, the drone of the highway by the sounds of suburban life. It could take a day or two to adjust, to switch from solitude to social, but it was a transition I loved. Home was a world of stability and familiarity but with some evidence of the trip that they had been on. Slightly deeper crow’s feet in my wife’s smiling eyes, a new tear in the sofa, some coffee cups I’d never seen, and even the new creak on the staircase all spoke of a different journey, one measured in years rather than miles.

I guess this article has a tone of hopefulness for the future through personal sacrifice. I think most of us feel an obligation to leave a better future for our kids just as our forebearers probably felt for us. I suppose, the older you get, the more you spiritually and philosophically you think about what the future holds and who the future is for.

It brings to mind a Tommy Lee Jones quote from No Country for Old Men as he describes a dream of his father preparing the way for him. And Pam reminded me of a Tom Hanks quote from the Apollo 13 movie where Jim Lovell talks about getting home.

So, as always, thank you to everyone for your hard work. May calm seas and prevailing winds always prepare the way home.

Get the Latest...

Tips, advice, inspiration, and more sent right to your inbox with our weekly newsletter.


Contact Us