I have a favourite YouTuber. Her name is Allie Knight and she's a trucker.
I don't often get to see real life versions of the games I play. Could I watch footage of Rainbow Six Siege-like training exercises, or real life military raids? Maybe. I don't particularly want to do that though. And there's no way for me to watch any kind of science fiction escapades in the real world because even though scientists are now surfing on gravitational waves, there don't appear to be any intergalactic journeys involved. Bah, I say. GET WITH THE PROGRAM, SCIENCE.
There are sports games, of course, but in those cases, I saw the real version of the sport (and sometimes even played it) before experiencing the games based on it. What I want to find, essentially, are video diaries of games happening in the real world. And I want to find them because, based on how much I'm enjoying a series of videos I found last week.
They're trucking videos and have been the perfect companion to my American Truck Simulator obsession.
Allie Knight, the lady who uploads them, describes her YouTube channel like this:
"I explore the country looking for rad freight. Earning an honest living doing the kind of driving that makes civilized life possible for the rest of us. Join me on my epic journey throughout the US with Lazarus, my Peterbilt 579, Tom, my GPS, and Spike, my obnoxious cat."
And that's exactly what the videos show, journeys across the US, with occasional tours of the sleeper area of the truck's cabin, conversations about states and freight, and truckstop critique. Allie is good company, upbeat and talkative, but the scenery is the star of the show for me.
I've visited a few cities in America but I've only ever travelled into or between them by plane. And that means that whole, ridiculously large mass of land isn't really a landmass at all in the psychogeographical spaces of my mind. It's an archipelago of cities, divided by sky. And by imagination.
Allie's videos, along with American Truck Simulator, are a wonderful way to stitch together the places in between and to make them real. Remarkably, the YouTube channel hosts a new video EVERY DAY, which means it's actually possible to follow Allie's trucking adventures chronologically should you so wish.
Here are some highlights:
Never-ending New Mexico. From the silos sparsely sprinkled in the early stages to the enormous skies of the middle period and the burning sunset of the final moments, this is great.
And this has a dramatic title and completely different terrain.
The coldest video. I'm cold right here in my house, in Manchester, but this is far colder.
MORE DRAMA. Plus off-road action. As in, out-of-the-truck action. Not truck off-roading. This is real life.
Interspersed with the trucking, there are days of downtime and the videos are an insight into not just the job but the person doing the job.
When I shared one of these in the RPS chatroom, Alice laughed. I am too old to have a favourite YouTuber, I think. But I've been watching these every day since and, yeah, I have a favourite YouTuber.