For truck drivers, being away from home can be the most difficult part of the job. It can feel like you’re missing out on the lives of your family and friends – graduations, weddings, soccer games — even as you’re earning money to support yourself or your family.
But in today’s high-tech world, there are more ways than ever before to stay in touch while you’re out on the road. Texts, phone calls and video chats have taken the place of postcards, letters and cards as the most common and convenient forms of communication. A cellphone or Internet service is all you need to reach out and make a connection.
Check out some of the more creative ideas that drivers are using to stay in touch with family, friends and their community over the long haul.
Babysitting may seem like an impossible task on the road, but for Trent McCain, a truck driver from Kansas, it’s all in a day’s work.
McCain’s 9-year-old daughter Joselyn asked him to take her favorite doll, Abbie, with him in his truck. He happily obliged. In fact, he even started taking a few photos of their travels.
Jocelyn visited a neighbor’s house every day to keep track of Abbie’s adventures through Facebook, and she sent along helpful instructions to teach her dad how to care for the doll.
McCain posted some of the photos on his company’s Facebook page and has garnered more than 200,000 reactions from people who are interested in Abbie’s travels. Social media allows you to send photos, videos and other updates so that your family and friends to follow along.
Counting the days
Ford Trucks is helping truck drivers feel a little less alone while boosting the spirits of families across the U.S.
With help from MediaMonks, Ford has created an interactive calendar for truck drivers who are missing home. The calendar, shaped like a truck, can help drivers form a stronger bond with their loved ones back home.
By using a mobile device and a GPS installed on their truck, the calendar knows exactly when the driver is arriving home. The GPS alerts the family when the trucker is less than a mile from home by flashing the calendar’s headlights and honking its horn.
The truck comes with 12 removable cards for each month of the year. When drivers visit a Ford dealership for their annual maintenance check-up, they receive the next year’s set of cards.
The buddy system
Some ideas have been around even longer and have given support to truck drivers, as well as the next generation. Trucker Buddy International is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping educate and mentor school children. Drivers communicate with students in Grades K-8, as well as those who participate in Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and other youth organizations.
This exchange of words improves students’ writing and reading skills while providing a gateway into a whole different world—teaching them about geography, history and more. Meanwhile, drivers enjoy the opportunity to share their stories and make a valuable impression on young people. And while Trucker Buddy is a great organization, drivers can do the same with their own kids, sending them postcards from any place they stop and sharing their experience.