It is clearly a global phenomenon, as demonstrated by this video, but what is it about trucking culture? Would you see a funeral like this one in Sweden associated with any other profession than truck driving?
This is a major life event taking place and the main facet of the event is the fact that trucks are involved. The single most important thing about this man is the fact that he was a truck driver and his family and friends want to celebrate this as part of their farewell to him.
This video is titled ‘Father’s last ride, Airis Ozolins, 1970-2020’ as the fifty year old’s funeral takes place in the snows of Sweden.
“I was still going to kindergarten when father took me with him to my first trip to France,” says his son, Linards Ozolins, in his comments about the video. “I didn’t expect that I will take him on his last and the most longest trip so early. However, I believe it wasn’t his last trip. I think he is still driving up there in the skies. Probably, somewhere in the skies above Italy.”
The whole story shows us something about trucking around the world, an extremely strong bond between the people driving trucks and their industry and equipment, no matter where they are in the world.
There is clearly something about the life on the road behind the wheel of a truck which enables those involved to develop a common culture and one which is clearly separate from the culture most of society lives in.
The other aspect of this culture is the fact that it is global. Yes, the trucking experience in each country is very different, dealing with different problems and handling different tasks, but there is a similar solidarity among drivers and a deep love for trucks and trucking, which is common across the board, whether in Manhattan, Manchester, Mildura or Mumbai.
This strong culture which hooks people in and doesn’t let them go is a two-edged sword, truck drivers feel a bond with their fellow truckies and love the job to the point of being unable to work off the road, but some ruthless employers exploit that love and dedication by pandering to the driver’s predilection for a particular style of truck, at the same time as skimping on pay and conditions.
Truck driving can be a very hard life, admittedly with benefits of being out on the road, seeing our amazing country and working on your own initiative in many cases. It’s not a profession many want to get into, but it is also one which is loved much more by its participants than is the case in many other working lives.
What is it about trucking culture? After over forty years, I still don’t know.