Capturing Beauty Along American Highways

34-year-old Ian Shankster took to the road as a truck driver full-time. Along his routes, he discovered an unexpected beauty in deteriorating American farmsteads.

Video Transcript

Ian Shankster: You can start to overthink things when you’re on the road for so long. When you’re just sitting by yourself for so long, you can replay a lot of scenarios, and I found that’s a bad cycle. It’s a lot better to plan for the future, than focused on things that maybe went wrong in the past.

A few years back, I went through a divorce; it really upended my world. I tend to think through a lot of those things, and I always try not to forget about the journey.

Yeah, being out on the road, and traveling, it’s given me time to process the things I’ve been through, and also move forward.

We have avoided all restaurants since about 11 o’clock this morning, I have a hunch that it’s gonna be someplace nasty.

Truck driving almost seems like a dirty old man job and full of rough characters. Ready to go. I don’t feel like I fall into that category at all. It’s serving me not only my itch to travel and see the country, but also it’s affording me the opportunity to do that while paying off student loans.

Almost everyone around me, they assume that for me to be happy, I should be married and have a family, and I just kinda wonder where that mindset originates, and if they’re right.

There’s a truck over that has a bunch of orange juice in the back of it; he tried to deliver it, and it was the wrong flavor. So now he’s just getting rid of it for free.

Alright, well thank you very much.

Other truck driver: You’re welcome, you need help carrying it?

Ian: No, I-

Other truck driver: I thought you were gonna take more than one.

Ian: I just want one.

Other truck driver: Bull.

Ian: That’s a lot of juice.

Other truck driver: Two, there you go. Take two. They’re good with vodka, too.

Ian: Just doing curls, I don’t have a lot of time just to work out. It kinda gets the blood flowing and keeps the drive going long.

Grotto: Curls for the girls?

Ian: That is the main reason I do them.

Ian photographs beauty among American highways, and shares it on Instagram.

Ian: That’s what life is like, it’s filled with sadness, and heaviness, and decay. Yet, all at the same time, there’s beauty intermingled right with it. That’s my constant hope is to be able to find that, show it to other people, and push to always see the beauty, even in the heaviness, or the struggle.

There’s some beautiful sunsets, deteriorating barns. There’s a lot of times where it felt like everything lined up beyond my control. Ultimately, that’s the hope for my whole life, that things line up beyond what I can control even.

Seek Beauty (Church bells)

Be in the know with Grotto

X