The love of the open road, along with quality time spent together, drives their passion for trucking. Although they enjoy the wide-open vistas that unfold outside their truck, they are content to share the relatively small cab that is their home for days at a time.
Shabnam and Balwinder Singh, better known as Pooja and Pal on their YouTube channel Punjabi Trucker Couple, showcase their trucker lifestyle by posting videos in Hindi and Punjabi to their more than 10,000 subscribers.
Pooja, 27, and Pal, 28, who work as a longhaul team for Mississauga, Ont.-based Day To Day Logistics, laugh when they hear people talking about needing their own space. “We don’t want any space, we like being together, in fact we are always together,” Pooja says.
Pal says if there is a disagreement and tempers flare up, one of them goes to bed while the other is driving. When they wake up, anger is a thing of the past. “We park, make out and make up,” he says with a big grin.
Although they don’t mind pointing a camera at themselves while they vlog during their trips, Pal says they are introverts at heart. “We don’t have many friends and our interests are similar.”
The couple met in 2016 and got married in 2018. Pal, who started driving seven years ago, wanted Pooja to join him at work. She worked other jobs before obtaining her A/Z licence in 2021 and began trucking. “Now I don’t want to work anywhere else,” Pooja says.
Although they love the lifestyle, it is difficult to stay healthy while trucking, and Pal struggles with his weight. At one point he lost 40 kg but gained it back as the pandemic struck in 2019 and gyms were shut down. For the past five years, he’s also had to contend with a herniated disc.
He says three months ago, they slowed down their schedule so he could focus on working out and losing weight, opting to run shorter routes rather than their preferred weekly trips to California.
It worked well for a while and Pal lost 10 kg, then put on 5 kg. Pal says, “I like to eat, it is my fault. During home time I don’t eat healthy, when I am in the truck, I eat healthy, that’s why I like to be on the road.”
He stops every two hours when he drives, gets out and inspects the vehicle. It forces him to move. Pal says it is harder to lose weight while he works. “If I am not driving, I can go to the gym six days a week. I can either work out or work.”
Usually, they find the time to go for a walk, Pooja adds, but sometimes they must do without.
Pooja and Pal take a little extra time while hauling loads to California and back. They stop to work out at gyms along the way, use trails for walks and make videos whenever they can. Since they only eat fresh, home- or truck-cooked food, they also must shop for groceries in the U.S. as some food cannot be taken across the border.
Pooja says she prepares healthy meals, sometimes sitting on the floor of the cab. “She is slim and can fit in that small space, I’ll likely get stuck,” Pal says with a smile. What is his role? “Chopping meat, vegetables and fruit,” they reply together.
The couple had planned to vacate the room they rent, buy a bigger vehicle and live in the truck. They wanted to spend their 36-hour resets staying at hotels while traveling and exploring places. But since work has slowed down, that plan is on hold.
Social media influencers
Pooja and Pal say their videos have helped others join the trucking profession. They receive comments and messages from viewers, including couples who are now working as team drivers. “They tell us, ‘If you can do it, we can do it,’” Pal says.
They also use other social media and have now begun a podcast. They aim to keep trucking for now, but plan to move to the East Coast, buy a home and start a business. Travel is a big part of their future. “We want to travel the world,” Pooja says. “We don’t want to just scratch the surface, we want to explore places over long periods of time,” Pal adds.
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