Truck Bays, Oregon Convention Center

Memo to Peace Corps Vets

From a private listserv based in Portland, Oregon

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One of my more positive futuristic visions, woven into my science fiction (blogs, websites, other social media) is: my “Trucker Exchange Program” also dubbed “Truckers for Peace” (T4P).

Picture yourself as a truck driver in Ethiopia who gets recruited for, or signs up for, an academic program that will let you apprentice on distant routes, such as Beijing-Tehran (part of One Band One Road). Eventually, you might get to drive it solo, or be the teacher for someone new.

Although the freight has to keep moving in a timely fashion (a fresh driver takes over as you pull in to Kabul, having just done the Khyber Pass), individual drivers such as yourself often get multi-week tours of duty, including R&R, on various campuses, where you’ll learn local history and gain language skills, along with higher level STEM skills.

A senior trucker is a kind of diplomat polymath in this picture. A truck stop campus is more like a school of international and commercial affairs, with lots of restaurants and gift shops for the general public as well. Truckers usually drive in pairs. Some are married.

I found a Truckers without Borders group on Facebook, and joined it as a learning opportunity. I don’t post to it, not being any kind of trucker. I watch YouTubes made by truckers talking about their jobs, and know about truck simulator software (like flight simulators).

By doing my homework, I’m able to invest more realism in my brand of science fiction.

[ I don’t try to involve Washington DC in all this brainstorming as that’s not a city I want to work with especially. DC had its chance, and mostly blew it. DC’s reputation for exceptionally debilitating xenophobia (my meaning for “American exceptionalism”) precedes it, meaning T4P will probably take root elsewhere first (lets hope, right?). ]

Kirby

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