Driving a truck can sometimes take an emotional toll on your relationships with your loved ones. Your job requires you to travel long distances for sometimes weeks at a time, and your family can feel left behind. If you’re a dedicated driver for a trucking company, it can require an even greater time commitment because you’re always on call.
Throughout your deliveries, you have to find ways to stay close with your family when you’re far away. Use this road map to prevent your relationships with the ones you love most from suffering.
1) Involve your family in the pre-trip process
Ask your family to help you pack for the trip, and allow them to add one special object of their choosing to your suitcase. Pack pictures of your family to bring with you on a long trip and leave “missing you” notes for them to find while you’re away.
2) Call your family from the road
Depending on how far you have to travel, it’s probably a good idea to invest in a good long-distance calling plan. Call home as often as you can from stops or from the road if you have a hands-free device. Avoid texting because your family will appreciate hearing the sound of your voice.
3) Play games together
Bring one half of the Battleship game with you, and the other stays with your family. Play throughout the trip via text message. If you have smart phones, you can challenge your family to a multiplayer game like Words with Friends and Draw Something.
4) Stay in touch through social media and apps
The odd Facebook “Like” or Tweet directed at your family will remind them that you’re thinking of them. Use telecommunications apps like Skype or FaceTime to connect with them face-to-face. GPS-mapping social media apps like Foursquare allow you to check in and inform your family of where you are.
5) Send your family postcards
If social media is a foreign language to you, keep in touch by sending your family postcards from the road. Next time you’re at a rest station, buy a postcard for each member of your family with a personalized note attached. They can grow a collection from around the country.
6) Take pictures of their favorite spots
If you have time after making your deliveries, visit locales that your family would find interesting. Take pictures for a mini-scrapbook that you can give them at the end of the trip. As a joke, you can even bring cardboard cutouts of them to include in the pictures.
7) Bring home gifts
Purchase gifts for your family from their favorite destinations or truck stops along the road. If they have a knack for collecting, bring home that specific item (spoons, shot glasses, etc) from each of your delivery trips. Keep it a surprise until you get home.
8) Orchestrate a long-distance scavenger hunt
Before you leave on your trip, plan a scavenger hunt around your home and/or neighborhood. Text your family clues from the road. Coordinate it so that the final clue leads them to where they can find you after you return home.
9) Plot out a map of your travels
Hang up a map of your usual delivery radius (your state/province, country etc) in your home. Ask your family to keep track of where you’ve been and where you’re going on the map. It can be a fun game that also teaches your children geography.
10) Make the most of the time you have at home
The most important way to stay in your family’s thoughts is to spend quality time with them when you are home. Plan fun family trips or activities that they’ll remember fondly when you’re away. Though your nomadic life as a truck driver can be hard on them, your family will understand as long as you’re a kind, attentive parent when you’re with them.