I quit my cosmetology job to become a truck driver. My husband and I tag-team driving across the US, and we’re loving every minute.

Deb driving her truck
  • When I was 40 years old I decided to quit my cosmetology job and become a trucker. 
  • I get to see the most stunning sunsets while driving across the country. 
  • This is Deb Labree’s story, as told to Lauren Crosby Medlicott.

Fifteen years ago, right around when I was turning 40, I sat down with my husband, a heavy equipment operator at the time, to talk about switching jobs.

I could feel myself burning out from working in cosmetology and knew it was time for something different. “I know this sounds crazy, but I’d love to get my commercial driver’s license and go trucking,” I told him with an eager smile on my face. That’s exactly what I did

After I got my license, we moved to Missouri to start our careers in trucking. He already had his commercial driver’s license, so together we could be a tag team duo that never needed to stop when delivering goods.

All these years, we’re still trucking together, loving every minute of it. 

What a day on the road looks like for us

The day before we set out on a journey — which these days, lasts for about a week — we prep food for the trip, change the linens in the truck, pack our clothes, and do all the checks to make sure the truck is safe to drive. Then around 3 pm, we’ll set off.

I take the night shift from 3 pm until 3 am. Then my husband gets behind the wheel for the day shift while I sleep in the back cab of the truck. 

After I’ve driven for 12 hours, I eat some of the food I prepared at the house, wash my face, put my hair in a ponytail, and get my pajamas on. Within minutes, I’m fast asleep, cuddled up with our three little Dachshunds and lots of pillows. 

When it’s time to take over the driving, I wake up and do exactly what I’d do at home — brush my teeth, get dressed, and have a little bit of fruit and oats. After checking the weather and the truck, I get behind the wheel, start the ignition, and press down on the gas.

I don’t get tired of driving through the night

For the next 12 hours, my eyes don’t veer from the road ahead of me. Some people wonder if I get tired of driving through the night for that length of time. I used to when I first started, but I’ve gotten used to it now.

To keep my mind awake and alert, I listen to crime fiction novels on Audible or uplifting podcasts that make me think. It’s really important to keep stimulated when driving, especially at night when visibility isn’t great and weather conditions become more dangerous. 

Weather is the aspect of truck driving that rattles me the most. Driving in severe winter weather is part of the job, especially in the part of the US we live in, but I still find it frightening. I decided long ago that if there’s ice on the road, I won’t risk driving. You just never know how your truck or the other trucks on the road will respond to the slick roads. 

Halfway through my shift, I get out and walk our dogs for 30 minutes. Truckers struggle with making sure they eat well and exercise. My husband and I don’t eat fast food anymore. We warm up prepared food in the microwave on the truck, and I try really hard to move whenever I can. 

One of the best things about driving a truck is the chance to see stunning sunsets nearly every night. When we used to drive longer distances across the whole country, I’d watch the last of the sun’s pink, orange, and purple colors go down over the mountains, the prairies, the cities, the deserts, and the oceans. You can’t beat it. 

Our plan is to keep driving for as long as we possibly can. You’d think we would have tired of trucking and each other after all these years. But I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else than with the man I love most, doing my favorite job I’ve ever.