Long-Haul Women Truckers on Remote Work, Queer Identity and Self-Transformation : Rough Translation 726 miles in one day. Gas station sushi. Mysterious loading docks. We hit the road with two American women who found long-haul trucking as a means of escape and self-transformation.

Alone@Work: Miles To Go Before I'm Me

Alone@Work: Miles To Go Before I'm Me

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1111259177/1197847085" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Brandie Diamond stands by her FedEx Custom Critical truck in a Walmart Supercenter parking lot in Columbus, Ohio. Meg Vogel for NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Meg Vogel for NPR

Brandie Diamond stands by her FedEx Custom Critical truck in a Walmart Supercenter parking lot in Columbus, Ohio.

Meg Vogel for NPR

Just days after graduating from trucking school, Jess Graham drove up to her ex-partner's Michigan home in an 18-wheeler, hoisted her ten-year-old daughter into the passenger seat and drove away from an abusive relationship. But her search for financial freedom might unhitch her from the people she loves most.

Across the country in Arizona, another driver, Brandie Diamond, was looking for a way out of trucking and into culinary school. She wanted to explore her lifelong passion for cooking after 25 years driving big rigs, but she was also worried about a secret she had been harboring her entire life.

On this week's episode, two American women in long-haul trucking discover new reflections in the windshield while traversing the countless miles before it.

Their stories of loneliness, liberation and belonging, all playing out in the cab of a truck, tell us something about remote work in all our lives: How can we use alone time at work to figure out who we really are and what we really want?

Additional Context:

  • Read Anne Balay's book "Semi Queer: Inside the World of Gay, Trans, and Black Truck Drivers," and learn more about her research on working class queer life.
  • Follow the upcoming feature-length documentary "Driver" by filmmaker Nesa Azimi about the world of women long-haul truckers.
  • Keep up with Jess' adventures in trucking on her Twitter account.
  • We featured some classic trucking tunes about men in this episode, but listen to some music that celebrates the ladies: "Truck Driving Woman" by Norma Jean (1968) and "Bad Mother Trucker" by Eric Church (2020). And after decades of outlaw movies like "Smokey and the Bandit" and "High-Ballin'," women truckers are finally getting their own thriller film in "Paradise Highway" out this year.

Send us an email at roughtranslation@npr.org.

Listen to Rough Translation wherever you get your podcasts, including NPR One, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts, Spotify, and RSS.