The Trucker Spotlight series explores the lives of truckers and their journey to make a difference in their industry. We interview different truck drivers to understand some life lessons that make them who they are today. We also learn more about their motivations, and the problems that they encounter on the job. We also tackle how Trucker Path’s solutions helped them with what they do. The information that they provide helps inform other people who are looking to delve into the trucking world.
Today we are putting the spotlight on Shelby, who’s been driving for 3 years now. She’s has a blog and Youtube channel called, Happiness by the Mile, where she shares her experiences and also gives information on everything you would want or need to know to become a professional driver, and live on the road. Let’s get to know more about Shelby and how she gets happiness out of every mile.
What made you decide to be a trucker?
It was just a childhood dream of mine to drive a semi. I was not invested in making a career out of it. I just wanted to do it to say I could. It was more of a bucket list item than anything else. Now, I love it so much I could never leave!
In the years that you have been driving, what are the significant changes that you’ve noticed in the trucking industry?
I have not seen much of any significant change during my short time in the industry, but I have to say that there is a definite shift happening with the reduction of mom and pop truck stops, access to good food, and good training for those getting into the industry.
What made you decide to create a Youtube channel? And why did you choose the “Happiness by the Mile” name?
I initially started an Instagram page with the name “Happiness By The Mile”. I thought it was the most ideal reference to my mindset of being on the road. We chase many things down the road, our thoughts, fears, hopes for the future, but we forget all too often our happiness is not and will never be a destination. We have to be present in our current lives, and happiness is a choice that we can make at any time. I want to encourage drivers to build happiness as they drive down the road, not chase it into the sunset.
Do you have a name for your truck?
My current truck’s name is “Waldo”. I play a game on Instagram with my followers where I post my truck at a truck stop, and they try to guess where it’s located. “Where’s Waldo?”
Are there times of loneliness while driving? How do you deal with it?
I love to keep my brain stimulated by listening to podcasts and audiobooks. I also go out of my way to make kind gestures to others by buying their coffee for them, or helping them out if they are trying to fix something on their trucks at a rest area. I think we all benefit from some positive interaction with other humans on the road. It just takes a bit of effort to put yourself out there to receive.
As a trucker, what are the current struggles in this COVID19 pandemic?
The hardest was finding food for a long time. With a lot of the restaurants and fast food joints having fewer hours or being closed all together it was quite a struggle.
What are your usual routes? Favorite scenic truck route?
I run I-80 quite often. If I go east it is usually to Pennsylvania or New Jersey. Most of my routes on the west side of the united states are to Montana, Washington or Oregon. I tend to stay where the snow happens to be the worst. Just the luck of the draw for me. My favorite route is anywhere through US 191, north or south of Salt Lake City it doesn’t matter. It is absolutely breathtaking and goes through various national parks.
Weirdest or most unusual haul?
My most unusual haul had to be a single pallet of medical supplies across the entire United States (not during COVID).
How often do you use rest stops / truck stops? What are the things that you look for in a truck stop? Favorite truck stop meal?
I stop and truck stops and rest areas frequently! I stop often to let my dog Dakota out to stretch her legs, as well as myself. We take a generous amount of time to make sure that we both are feeling awake and ready to keep moving down the road.
What are the common troubles or problems you encounter while trucking?
We often struggle to find a place to park with the doubles set. Pull through parking spaces are the only option most of the time, and not all truckstops have them. We are sometimes forced to park on the curb out of the way, or on exit ramps of the interstates.
What are your pet peeves while driving/trucking?
I don’t have many pet peeves. I do wish that there was more respect given to the trucks from cars on the road, but it’s hard to know what we do unless you’ve been up there in that seat doing it. We oftentimes need to back off a busy street to a customer dock, and it can be hard with cars zipping around you instead of giving you a few minutes to do what you need to do to get out of the way.
We’re glad that Trucker Path has been of service to you! Could you share your favorite feature of the app?
I like to use Trucker Path’s map feature to see where all the truckstops are around my current location, and I use it to help me trip plan to my final drop location.
What are some tips that you would like to share for aspiring truckers?
Take it slow and steady. No matter how many years you have on your belt, you can never know it all, and always have something to learn.