When it comes to being a member of the nuCamp family, Andrew Chwalik and his wife Rachel are relative newbies. The young couple got their TAG in September 2020. And since then, they have been putting Gladis (their camper’s name) through her paces while indulging their love of travel.
While Andrew was born and raised in Ohio, Rachel is originally from Michigan and came to Ohio as a child. Now the couple plans to explore the rest of the country. We asked Andrew to share his travel background, their on-the-road experience with the TAG, and his role as a nuCamp Brand Ambassador.
Q: How did you first get interested in traveling?
When I was in fourth grade, my dad took me on a trip to visit my uncle in Mexico City. That was my first time truly traveling and experiencing another culture. It was pretty eye-opening for a kid from a tiny farm town in Ohio. A few years later, my dad brought me along on a business trip to Ireland. I made friends with some of the other kids and we all ended up exploring Dublin together. Those two adventures to Mexico and Ireland really got me addicted to traveling.
As for camping, while I wouldn’t call myself a true tent camper, my friends and I have always been outdoorsy people. We’ve spent a number of weekends hiking and camping in the Midwest. Plus, being a Boy Scout really made me fall in love with outdoor adventuring.
My wife has a similar background in terms of outdoor activities. But while she would camp with friends, she too was never a serious tent camper.
Q: Are you a full-time or part-time camper?
My wife and I are currently part-time campers and camp every single month of the year. Since we have a heater and an A/C unit in our TAG, you’ll find us out in the dead of winter, in the hot summer sun, and everything in between. When Rachel is busy, I will sneak away for a short camping trip on my own. However, for our bigger adventures, I always make sure she can come. She just makes adventures so much more fun!
With our TAG, we camp anywhere and everywhere! While it always is nice to stay at campgrounds for the hookups, we’re partial to boondocking. It’s just so much fun going out in the middle of nowhere to spend the night. You get less light pollution, can avoid people, and feel a part of nature. It’s such an awesome experience!
We also camp in our TAG when we need to visit family or friends. If they live more than a few hours away, it’s always a good excuse to bring out the TAG and just make an adventure out of it! For the Fourth of July, we packed up the TAG and headed to Michigan to spend it with some of our family just across the border. This year, we’re planning a month-long trip to explore the eastern side of the United States. We got married October 3, 2020 and did our honeymoon road trip out west, so we thought that it would make sense to do the same out east.
As for a travel bucket list, we have two main destinations at the moment: Mexico and Alaska. My wife wants to explore the part of Mexico where the monarch butterflies migrate during winter. I want to make it up to Alaska to see the Northern Lights. Once we accomplish those two goals, we’ll add two new destinations to our bucket list.
Now we’re gearing up to finally go full-time in our TAG in March 2022. I’ve always wanted to live the full-time life. It took some time convincing my wife but she’s finally on board! Having her attend uCamp21 and meeting so many other full-timers was the final nudge she needed.
We assume that the biggest adjustment we’ll need to make is getting more organized when it comes to planning our camping destinations. Before, we didn’t have the most organized process when it comes to planning our adventures and would always just wing it. We’d discuss cool destinations we’d like to visit, do a little research to see how far they were from Ohio, pick a destination based on the time we have available, make a list of the various attractions we’d like to visit, either book a campsite or plan to find one when we get there, and then hook up our TAG and take off.
It always made for some awesome adventures, but that will have to change when we go full-time. We’ll both be working full-time and will need to ensure we’ll have reliable internet, and that requires more planning.
I currently run my own marketing agency called Twillful. Since social media marketing is almost 100% digital, that allows me to work from almost anywhere. It’s the perfect career to be able to hook up the TAG and just escape for weeks at a time.
My side hustle is actually being a wedding videographer. I film and produce weddings videos all around the state of Ohio. The dream would be to start booking weddings around the United States and use the TAG as home base. The traveling wedding videographer…how cool would that be?
Q: Any highlights from your travels you want to share?
Well, our honeymoon road trip has certainly been our most memorable trip. Who wouldn’t want to spend 30 days exploring the United States in a TAG with their brand-new wife?
One specific moment from that adventure was when we arrived in the Badlands. It was late evening so when we pulled up to the park, we couldn’t see anything. As we wove around these rock formations in our Jeep, we started to realize how large they were. The headlights would give us glimpses of these massive mounds of earth. It felt like we had just landed on Mars and were exploring another planet! That was our first night of our honeymoon and it was the perfect way to kick off our adventure!
Q: Is the TAG your first towable?
I’ve towed trailers before, but this is our first camper. Holy cow, do we love it! We wanted a camper that was compact and contained all the necessities for long trips. Being minimalists, we didn’t want something with tons of space that we didn’t need. The TAG actually has more than enough storage space for us, so it was the perfect camper. It has everything we need and is the absolute perfect camper for us. Our Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk, called Hawk, is our tow vehicle.
As for why we chose nuCamp, I’ve been following the company for a while now. After a few years of international travel, my focus turned to exploring the United States. The best way to do that is via road trip. I began looking into “van life” and stumbled across teardrop campers. Once I found out about nuCamp and how they produce some of the highest quality campers in the world, I was sold.
Q: When did you become a nuCamp Brand Ambassador? Why did you become one?
I became a brand ambassador with my wife right before our honeymoon. I’ve been making videos on YouTube since I was a kid. Thankfully, that passion for video creation has carried over to adulthood. nuCamp saw some of my travel vlogs and liked the idea of me capturing our honeymoon adventure out west in our TAG. The nuCamp brand and company are just amazing, so it’s been a blast helping spread the word about their legendary campers!
Q: What are your top travel tips for those new to being on the road?
- Have a checklist for getting your camper ready for a trip and a checklist for packing up when you’re ready to head home.
- Document your adventures with videos, photos, or by journaling.
- Practice backing up your camper in an empty parking lot.
- Every once in a while, just hook up your camper and drive somewhere random.