How I passed my Commercial Driving License (Truck License)… again…
I have no problems with most test or exam situations. I have done many at school and university and usually I was prepared and knew I would pass the test. But it is different with driving tests. Already my first driving test a long time ago freaked me out. After I passed it I thought I would never have to do a driving test again. I was wrong…
Twelve years later I had this crazy idea to become a tour leader and driver for an overland adventure company and drive 15 trucks from Cairo to Capetown and Rio de Janeiro to Quito. And for that I had to get a special driving license.
I have to admit even though I had a car license for twelve years I didn’t have a lot of experience. I was living in a big city for a long time and it was quicker going by bike or public transport. Many of my friends looked at me shaking their heads about my idea of driving a big truck… But I wanted to do it and I believe when you 100% commit to something you will succeed.
So I went for it in the UK. I had to drive on the “wrong” side of the road and deal with hundreds of roundabouts, something I wasn’t used to at all coming from Germany. Passing the truck license in England is not easy and I knew how many other people failed once or twice before they passed. I was incredibly nervous!
After three days of training I had my first attempt and … failed… for braking too harshly (and a few other minor things). The pressure was on me: I wanted this job and without the license I would not be able to get it. I retook the test after a few days and the words “Congratulation, you passed!” were most likely among the best words I have ever heard in my whole life.
This license meant everything to me. It meant the freedom of going on the road!
I went and drove around hundreds of donkeys, kids and waving Africans. I drove over thousands of speed bumps, drove on dirt roads, swerved around thousand potholes and had to back up into the tiniest spaces you can imagine. And it felt great! I loved it!
A year later I decided to leave Africa and South America behind me and go to the United States. I fell in love with my colleague from the US driving around Africa. And so I reunited with him after eight months being apart and decided to stay with him in North America and start our own overland business.
But…there was one tiny problem: I wasn’t allowed to drive anything bigger than a normal car in the US. A European truck license does not count and I had to get a commercial driving license.
I was disappointed and itchy to drive and had to sit in the passenger seat for quite a long time. I found out that I wasn’t allowed to apply for a CDL (commercial driving license) until I had a Greencard… Well, this is another story, but let me tell you it took quite a while to get this card. And finally after waiting for many months, I was ready…ready to take a test again. A test which I really thought I wouldn’t have to take a third time!
Taking a driving test…again!
Even though I had the experience of driving such a big vehicle I was very nervous. I hadn’t been driving a big vehicle for eight months and I hardly had any time to practice driving in the remodeled school bus. For some reason I panicked a bit and started thinking I wasn’t able to drive anymore.
I don’t know what it is but even after driving in the craziest situations in Cairo or La Paz I was afraid of traffic in Tucson out of a sudden! But when I sat in the driver’s seat a few hours before my test, it all came back to me. It felt as if I never had done anything other than steering a big truck.
Still I was nervous about the different rules and just to take a test I never wanted to do again. So you can imagine my relief hearing the amazing words, “Congratulations, you passed!”, again.
Finally I am again heading out on the road. This time in my own truck – our remodeled school bus, named Atka. And this time to discover another part of the world: North America – first destination the wilderness of Alaska!
Want to join my Adventures and ride along with me in my remodelled school bus? There is a special discount for GoGirls! Sign up for the 19th of August 2013 in Alaska mentioning “TravelGoGirl” and you will get a 20% discount on the tourprice! Check out your adventure on Outdoor Fun and Wildlife – Overlanding at its best! Be a part of my first year adventure in Alaska!