Building a hero

| April 02, 2008

Newbie’s Guide to Trucking
Driver pens manual to help fellow truckers who are just starting out

Trucker Toby Bogard’s encounters with inexperienced drivers led him to write and self-publish his first book, on how to survive in what he calls “the best industry in the world.”

A truck driver for six years, now with Contract Freighters Inc. (now Con-Way Truckload), Bogard found inspiration for his trucking manual, On the Big Road, while sitting in a Petro truckstop in Virginia in 2004, drinking a cup of joe and swapping stories with fellow drivers. A driver down on his luck asked Bogard if he would help out with a meal or a couple of dollars. Bogard, 35, of Crossville, Tenn., not only bought him a hot dinner but sat down with him and began going over the pay stubs the driver had accumulated.

It turned out the driver didn’t understand how advances in the trucking industry worked. The driver was spending more than he was earning and pledging miles to his company that he wasn’t driving.

Earlier in his career, Bogard himself had trouble keeping up with money. He was spending an exorbitant amount of money on food alone, he says. His new book draws on his experience and tips and tricks proffered by other drivers for those just starting out in the industry.

“It’s a compilation of things I’ve learned,” Bogard says, “and it didn’t just come from me.” While writing it, Bogard haunted truckstops armed with paper and pen, interviewing drivers as they came in for dinner or coffee. He has great respect for truckers who have been in the business for years, with proven success in balancing family, finances and business.

“These are the guys that made it,” he says. “What better place to look for experience?”

On the Big Road covers a wide range of topics, beginning with advice on developing a healthy mind, body and spirit, and then giving practical, everyday advice for living successfully on the road. Bogard is especially passionate about his spiritual life and encourages others, no matter what religion, to develop spirituality within themselves.

“If you have a positive spiritual foundation, you’re going to look at things entirely differently,” he says. “I struggle with it like most people. I’m not perfect by any means. But if you have a positive spirituality, there’s no room for negativity.”

His family – his wife, 13-year-old son Walker and 12-year-old twins Darian and Ariana – is the foundation of his life, he says.

“These people are my security net and my support group,” he says. “I love to be Daddy.”

For more information on Bogard’s book and his upcoming works, Semi-Aware and Truck Drivers Are Mushrooms, e-mail him at onthebigroad@yahoo.com.
–Sarah Thomson

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