Chante and Chris Drew were both exhausted with their previous jobs. Chris had been working in healthcare as a nurse for 23 years, and his feet were wearing out from 12 hour shifts. Chante had been working in digital marketing for several startups and kept getting shuffled around as the companies were bought and sold.
Chante came home from work after a bad day at work, and Chris suggested truck driving. His grandfather had been a trucker and he’d grown up riding in the truck every summer.
“We were both like, what can we do that we can do together and kind of downsize our lives as well as have some fun? He mentioned truck driving one day when I came home from work all flustered and I said, ‘Well why not?'” she said.
They enrolled in truck driving school and started looking into trucks. Chante and Chris sold their house, became owner-operators living out of their 2017 Volvo 780. Two years later, they drive reefer, hauling mostly fruit and vegetables, over the road.
“We don’t have to worry about home basing anymore. When they ask us what we want to do for home time we say point us to the beach or some place near a resort that we can get the truck into,” Chris said.
They decided to become owner-operators so they could control where they run, how hard they run and when they run, said Chris. They also didn’t want to share a company truck with other drivers.
“With our own truck we own it and it’s our house and we can do what we want to it. I don’t have to worry about anybody taking it away from me,” Chris said.
The couple met online through the dating site OKCupid and Chante says they’ve been pretty much inseparable since then. Team driving works for them because they get along so well and are able to rely on one another.
“It’s one of those easy relationships and I think that’s one of the most important things for husband and wife teams,” Chante said. “You have to make sure you get along really well because you are together 24/7 and that’s all we have out here is each other. We have friends and family all over the country but we’re all each other has, especially stranded out in these truck stops sometimes.”
They think driving together has made them a stronger couple because it’s made it easier to relate to one another about work. A lot of couples come home from work and may not want to talk about their days to each other, Chris said, because they don’t want to feel like they’re dumping their day on their spouse.
“When you’re out on the road together, you’re both experiencing the day at the same time so there’s a lot more of understanding what you’re going through because they’re doing it too. If you’re having a really bad day, they know you’re having a really bad day and they can understand a lot better,” Chris said.
Chante and Chris make it a point to have a lot of fun while they’re on the road and they’ve already built a lot of memories together. For Chante, one of her favorite memories came from her first week of driving. They had a load going to Wisconsin and they’d been routed through Yellowstone on the goat trail. She’d never had to drive a truck down such narrow roads and the sharp corners found in Yellowstone National Park.
“I had six deer pull out in front of me. It was a little stressful,” she said.
Meanwhile, Chris was watching and trying to keep it together.
“She’s holding onto the wheel white-knuckled, squealing at the top of her voice because she thought she was going to go into the mountain or off the road,” Chris said. “And I’m doing my best not to make chocolate diamonds in my pants while I’m watching.”
Chris’ favorite times from the road are whenever they’re able to shut down somewhere remote and breathe clean, fresh air and see the stars.
“You see so many stars when you’re out in the middle of nowhere because you don’t have the light pollution. It’s really relaxing when you get out there,” he said.
Chante enjoys being able to capture those scenes on camera. She shares her photos on her Facebook page, Stumbling Through Cities, and on Instagram, @hello_chante.
The two of them also like to spend time together socializing with other couples. They use Facebook and other social media platforms to meet other couples and figure out when they may be in the same area.
“It’s just really nice hearing about other couples and their stories,” Chante said.