Despite advancements in technology, at its core, the global economy still relies on a nomadic bunch of freedom-fighting oddballs whose life is spent hauling cargo from point A to point B across the world’s highways. And, with its sprawling and illuminated network of freeways nestled right at the heart of Europe, Belgium remains an obligatory pit stop on most truckers’ itineraries. Here, we hitch a ride with some of the local boys, capturing the loneliness that comes with having chosen life on the road.
Sipke Wielinga (1959)
Friesland, The Netherlands. Driver for Veenstra International.
Sipke drives a Volvo FH. His truck is three years old and has clocked up 475,000 kilometres. All in all, Sipke has driven over two million kilometres. His favorite destina- tions are everything south – France, Italy, Spain – because of the weather and the food. He used to be a graphic designer until the age of 40. Why did he quit a desk job for life on the road? Freedom. Walls were coming down on him, so he decided to flee. His favourite music on the road is Johnny Cash.
Jurgen Vergucht (1972)
Aalst, Belgium. Driver for the company TGb.
Jurgen drives a Scania R420. He’s driven more than 300,000 kilometres with it over the last three years. He mainly drives from port to port, but his favorite destination is the train terminal in Dourges, France. His boss likes the trucks to shine, so he goes to the truck carwash once a week. His favourite music on the road is Disturbed.
Filip Cap (1974)
Sint-Gillis Waas, Belgium. Driver for Tilleman.
Filip drives a DAF YF 430. In his 11 years on the road, he’s driven almost a million kilome- tres. He mainly drives in and around Belgium, transporting piglets. Unlike most drivers, he returns back home to his family every night. His favorite part of Belgium is “de westhoek”, because of the absence of traffic jams. When driving, he likes listening to greatest hits.
Rob Savelkoul (1956)
Bocholt, Belgium. Driver for Albert keijzer Transport.
Rob has been driving a DAF ND3460 since 2007, totalling 450,000 kilometres with it. The day he turned 18, he quit school and started his career as a truck driver. The best memory he has is when a company he used to drive for, following a logistical mistake, sent all its trucks to the same destination in a day. The small village near Lyon was flooded by trucks and truck drivers, turning it into one big parking lot. Over 40 trucks used every free inch of space, with some even parked on peoples’ driveways and on the local football field. A massive four-day party ensued.
Roel Hertsens (1988)
Kallo, Belgium. Driver for Transport NV De Cock.
Roel has been driving his Volvo FM for three years now, clocking up some 234,000 kilome- tres to date. Despite his young age, he already has been involved in some serious accidents. When on the road, he prefers listening to the radio. His favorite destination is home.