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Our Women in Touring – Barbara Dekker

“Driving and music are my life. Now, I finally get to live it”

Truck driving, especially in the music scene, used to be a pretty heavily male dominated industry. Trucking and event transport was no exception to this rule. Until now! Here at Pieter Smit we’re excited and proud to say that the amount of women in our ranks is growing by the day. It’s time to get to know these rolemodels. So in this episode, we catch Barbara (38) who heads out on the final leg of her tour with Muse no more than 10 hours later. Whew!

Why did you become a truck driver? “I’ve been wanting this job since I was 16, but life had other things in store for me. So as soon as I heard about a government funded training to become a truck driver a couple of years ago, I jumped at the chance. I started driving for another company first, but moved on to Pieter Smit as soon as I could. I’m new- I joined in May 2019. But I feel like I’ve finally reached my goal and found my true calling. I couldn’t be happier!”

So this is your first big tour? “Yes, and I’m way too excited! The rides across Europe are so beautiful, the people are great. The crew is so good to me that sometimes I have to remember that I’m working and not just living a dream. The roads are really good, too, and I get to see a lot of the world. I really enjoy all the different landscapes and sceneries. Another perk, while I’m not in this business for the free shows, but I did see one Muse show and it was just incredible.”

What’s the craziest thing about life on the road for you? “Some things that happen on the road, stay on the road, haha! Seriously though, it’s such a unique way of life. Seeing all these massive shows being built up and torn down in a matter of hours is fascinating. And, well, I got lost on the ring road in Moscow once. I can’t recommend that. It’s a maze out there..”

But you survived! Is there a pro tip you could share about your first time on the road? “I think it should be normal for women to move into the trucking industry and work among men as their equals. Don’t get all hot and bothered over it, because it’s no big deal. If you want to hit the road, and you get the chance to work at Pieter Smit, do it. Immediately. It’s addictive. But it’s also a matter of handling responsibilities and freedom on your own. Got a flat tire? Whoops, time to get that fixed. Especially when you’re in the middle of nowhere, you won’t be able to get help and stay on schedule, so you have to be independent. But to me, that’s the charm of it. As long as you make it to your destination on time, no one tells you what to do or how to do it.”

Do people understand what you do, or do you spend birthday parties explaining your job? “Haha! Yes. Yes I do. People see amazing pictures of my travels on Facebook and they’ll just think I’m so lucky. And I am, but don’t forget that that amazing blue lake in Italy is my parking lot for the day and it can be rough catching some sleep in tropical heat, too. Trucking is a real job with real responsibilities. Loadout pictures just never really get as many likes, I guess, haha!”

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