Linda Atwell lives in Silverton, Oregon with her husband, John. She earned her BA from George Fox College, but it is her entrepreneurial and adventuresome spirits that have inspired her career goals. Atwell owned a successful home décor business for ten years before switching to adjusting catastrophe insurance claims and climbing roofs for a living. Now she writes. Her first book, Loving Lindsey: Raising a Daughter with Special Needs was recently released by She Writes Press and was the selected Winner in the 6th Annual Beverly Hills Book Awards in the categories of Relationships and Parenting & Family. Loving Lindsey was also selected as a Finalist in the 2017 Best Book Awards. In addition, her award-winning work has appeared in print and online magazines. Atwell irregularly writes a blog about her daughter with special needs. She is happiest traveling the world and hopes to get fifty stamps in her passport before it expires.
What do I do best?
I tend to remember people—especially their stories and where they hail from. And I travel well—I generally remain calm during a crisis. Keeping cool allows me to figure out the best solution to the problem at hand. Besides, I’ve always believed that when things go haywire (especially during travel), I often get a great new story out of it.
What makes me the best version of myself?
I have an adult daughter with developmental disabilities. Although she lives independently of us, her challenges never end. Over the years, after solving one of her many issues, I’ve had to find ways to rejuvenate. Travel is that for me. Not only does it open my eyes to different cultures and experiences, it refuels my soul.
What are my aspirations?
For the past seven years, I’ve wanted to walk the 500-mile Santiago de Camino trail, but life continually got in the way—mainly because of the time required to complete this walk. However, in the spring of 2018, over 42 days, I will finally realize this dream. Finishing the Camino will allow me to cross one more item off my bucket list. Afterwards, I’ll begin working toward several new travel destinations that still appear in my radar: African safari, Thailand, Macho Picchu…
Professionally, my first book, “Loving Lindsey: Raising a Daughter with Special Needs,” was released in the fall of 2017. Shortly thereafter, it was selected as the Winner in the 6th Annual Beverly Hills Book Awards in two categories: Parenting and Family AND Relationships, and as Finalist in the USA Best Book Awards in Parenting and Family. I’m currently working on my second book, “Expecting Perfect,” and hope to find a publisher for it in the next few years.
My Biggest Success?
I could say raising children or enjoying a long, satisfying marriage, but as proud as I am about those successes, they are only two parts of my complex, diverse life. So, I’ll go with a professional accomplishment instead.
In the 80s, when I was 25, I started Country Neighbors—a national catalog company—with a friend who lived in a different city in a different state. Even though we each had two kids under six, our spouses were supportive. Still, as far as the business world was concerned, we were young and incredibly inexperienced. The main thing we had going for us back then was the will to succeed—failure wasn’t an option. We worked a ton of hours, and within a few years, the company exceeded a million-dollars in sales.
Although I have accomplished many of my other dreams since then, I feel this might be my greatest achievement. My kids had the opportunity to participate in their mother’s success. They were assigned tasks (based upon their ages and capabilities—but mainly counted catalogs into bundles of ten) and earned a paycheck every two weeks. They learned to save a portion of their earnings and how to budget their remaining monies till their next pay period. Overall, not only was it an incredible experience for me, it also provided valuable lessons for my children, and to this day, they still talk about all the catalogs they counted and banded at Country Neighbors.
My Most Challenging Moment?
After selling my business, I became a catastrophe adjuster and climbed roofs for a living. At the end of an inspection, a young contractor fell from a ladder, landed on a concrete driveway, and died. In the few seconds it took for this to transpire, my brain tried to figure out a way for me to react quickly and save him. Unfortunately, that was not possible. The inner emotional struggle that goes along with seeing a tragedy occur before your eyes is heartbreaking. Although I’ve always understood life could change in a split second, when you witness it first hand, it makes an even greater impact. I will never again take life—or how long we have here on earth—for granted.
If it is important to me, I will make it happen.
My Favorite People/Role Models?
Several of my family members are/were my favorite people in the world: Mom and siblings (living), Dad, and paternal grandmother (deceased). The two who are gone are greatly missed.
Besides family, two individuals I greatly admire—for reasons too numerous to list—are Obama and Oprah. Based upon the positive impact (in my opinion) they’ve made in our world, I have nothing but respect and awe for them. I will never have the influence or audience they’ve experienced, but as I go through life, they’ve inspired me to try and generate a few ripples of goodness and kindness wherever my path takes me.
My Favorite Places/Destinations?
This question is rather challenging because, while I’m there, every single place I visit is my favorite. Yet one of the destinations I long to return to again and again is Sunriver, a resort along the Deschutes in Central Oregon. I love to visit our national parks and hope to see them all before my time here on earth is up. Venice has held a special place in my heart since I was a child and it certainly didn’t disappoint when I finally was able to visit in my early 50s. Then there is Mexico. The beaches, the vibrant colors, and the taste-bud tantalizing foods keep calling me back. I try to visit at least one Mexican city every year, but my favorites (so far) are San Pancho (San Franciso)—a small village north of Puerto Vallarta, Bucerias, Mazatlan, and Zihuatanejo. So, as you can read, my travel palette is diverse, and even if my travel schedule allowed, there are only a couple destinations I’d choose not to revisit.
My Favorite Products/Objects?
I love my MacBookAir, my Apple phone, and my IMac—I’m an Apple gal for life. Plus, I’m thrilled a friend introduced me to Dropbox. I could not live without it—especially being a writer. It has saved my hide (i.e. and important docs) so many times I cannot even begin to count.
My Current Passions?
I hope to get 50 stamps in my passport before it expires—and I work toward this goal every single day.