3rd License to Freedom

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!

My Driving Licenses from the UK and the US
My Driving Licenses from the UK and the US

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!

Alaskan Wildlife
Come join us on our trip to 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!