Expat Returning To The US... Maybe....

Topic 26723 | Page 1

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Andrew M.'s Comment
member avatar

Need some advice and/or comments. My situation...

Born and raised in California, but now "retired" and living in Thailand for the past 9 years. Currently 59 years old. Married to a Thai wife who really wants to explore the US. So I thought about the idea getting a CDL , go through all the initiations and training, and when I'm able to solo, have her join me for 2 years or so stint exploring everywhere we can and coming back to Thailand after a couple of years.

So a couple concerns. Am I to old to be employable? Should I keep it a secret that I'm only in it for a couple of years? Will we REALLY be able to see a huge chunk of the US and not just the interstates between the major cities?

I've already road-tripped every state in the US, including Alaska and whatever part of Hawaii I could and all the provinces in Canada except Nunavut. Plus a good portion of Mexico. And LONG ago, I used to go with my father who was a trucker on trips in the summer while I was in HS. So I'm pretty sure that I can handle a couple of years OTR with no problem.

Thanks in advance for your inputs.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

Banks's Comment
member avatar

You're not too old to get into trucking, but the amount of time you've been out of the country may be an obstacle. Trucking has government regulations these companies must abide by. Also, these companies are very selective in who they hire. We've all gotten a good portion of "no, thank you. Reapply in 6 months". They don't just hire anybody with a license. Run through some of these threads and you'll see what I'm talking about.

I also think your romanticising this. This is a job, not a riad trip. You go where they want you to go. There's absolutely an adventure aspect to it and many folks on here have shared the adventure aspect of it, but they'll be the first to tell you there are many long days. Starting out is a very frustrating period and you have to be willing to deal with that. It has to be worth it to you.

Would your wife stay in Thailand while you train or she be in the US? Training takes up a good chunk of time and will require all of your attention. When I was training I was home everyday, but I didn't pay much attention to home while I was. On the bad days I would go home and go to bed, on the good days I would go home and study.

Most companies require some time solo or experience before they allow you to have a rider. The amount of experience varies. Some might be 3 months and others may be 6.

I'm glad you enjoyed your time OTR with your father all those years ago, but the times have changed. This business is more competitive than ever. It's also more strict than it's ever been. The FMSCA. Is all over everything and again, that leads to some frustration.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Andrew M.'s Comment
member avatar

Forgot to add another possible issue. I haven't had a US drivers license for about 6 years. Would I just be able to get a new one and that would be acceptable?

Andrew M.'s Comment
member avatar

Yeah, I was worried about being out of the country too long. Is that a hard block that can only be removed by sitting in the US a few years?

You're not too old to get into trucking, but the amount of time you've been out of the country may be an obstacle. Trucking has government regulations these companies must abide by. Also, these companies are very selective in who they hire. We've all gotten a good portion of "no, thank you. Reapply in 6 months". They don't just hire anybody with a license. Run through some of these threads and you'll see what I'm talking about.

Cantankerous Amicus's Comment
member avatar

Yeah, I was worried about being out of the country too long. Is that a hard block that can only be removed by sitting in the US a few years?

If you find more info on this please share. I am in the same boat. Being in the EU also limits access to certain websites for me to dig more deeply.

Take a look at my post history here. Search for the term expat. There are a couple other threads discussing this topic. One also from South Korea IIRC.

Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

So you're looking to be a "retired paid tourist" - while driving across the country? A number of retirees do this for the change ($$) and the changing scenery - even though IT IS WORK.

A couple of issues present themselves though:

1 - Licensing - if you haven't held a US Drivers license for awhile, this is likely to present an issue. Despite your age, and the likelihood that you have held one in the past - most companies that do training DO WANT to see a years licensure before they will take you on.

2 - Work history - and this applies especially if you have spent time overseas, without any documentable work history. Some of this is a Homeland Security issue. Was your time in Thai spent running an ISIS training camp? Very few can afford to "retire" at 50 yo. How did you support yourself? Self-employed? Can you PROVE IT?

I get that you want to come back here - travel around while getting paid to do so. You will be going where they need you to go, and this will likely be interstates and the areas immediately surrounding them (depending on what kind of freight you are carrying). Not sure they care that you only want to do this for a couple of years - but they WILL WANT you to complete whatever contractual obligation you incur to offset your training costs.

Keep in mind - THIS IS A JOB - and it's not just as simple as jumping behind the wheel and DRIVING ONLY. There's a lot more involved in trucking than JUST DRIVING (even though it comprises a majority of the workload).

Best of luck to you...

Rick

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

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