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Meet Wendy Altschuler of Travel and Lifestyle Freelance Writer

Today we’d like to introduce you to Wendy Altschuler.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Wendy. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I grew up with panoramic snow-capped Montana-mountain views, saturated with lodgepole pines, western larches, beargrass, twinflowers and sage. I also grew up dirt poor, with zero resources and no safety net. I witnessed my family struggle in heartbreaking ways and I knew that I would have to claw my way out of that narrative and create a new one, a happier one. I left home right out of High School and enlisted in Americorps, a year-long, residential volunteer service with the domestic Peace Corps. Through this experience, I was able to travel around the U.S., helping people in need. I worked in underprivileged schools; on flood and tornado disaster relief projects; in retirement homes; in parks and forests, cleaning up the environment and much more.

After graduation, I had money in the bank to use toward college. While at DePaul University, I studied abroad short-term in India with the English and Women’s and Gender Studies departments. After I graduated with High Honors, I landed a career at a boutique luxury travel company, writing itineraries and putting together travel documents. Learning about destinations across the globe, and gaining exposure through accessible travel, was incredibly exciting and I knew I wanted to continue a life full of engaging adventure and travel after starting a family. I easily moved into the world of travel and lifestyle freelance writing, which enabled me to contribute to my family while also having a more flexible schedule.

Now, I get to write stories on skydiving with a pod of bad ass mothers, learning how to do outdoor trapeze, solo travel with women adventurers, learning how to surf, rappelling 26 stories off of a Chicago building to raise money for lung health, spa retreats with equine therapy, backpacking in the Grand Canyon rim to rim, and on and on. I’m the sort of gal that seeks out joy, passion and adventure, eschewing apathy and boredom. I strive to be enthusiastic!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Carving out the life you want is never easy but it’s important to dream big and make incremental steps toward your goals. As a writer, I’m no stranger to rejection but what I’ve learned is that if it’s important enough to you, you will find a way to make it happen. Putting yourself out there, being vulnerable, being open to what others can teach you about the process, making connections, networking, believing in yourself and what you can bring to the table, and operating with integrity are all ways to move the needle forward.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Travel and Lifestyle Freelance Writer – what should we know?
I began consistently freelance writing for Sun-Times Media—my articles were published in Chicago Sun Times and Pioneer Press print newspapers (as well as online) across Chicago and the neighboring suburbs. I also had a parenting column for the special sections, Good to Know, Sun-Times Media website. I have many clips in smart publications like Delta Sky magazine, Yoga Magazine, Modern Luxury, Parents Magazine, Eluxe Magazine, OM Yoga and Lifestyle Magazine, Make it Better, Red Tricycle, Simplemost, Chicago Parent, The Daily Meal and more.

The articles that I most enjoy writing are the ones that feature women overcoming fear, pain or insecurities to push themselves into discovering something new and adventurous in the outdoors. I love surrounding myself with strong women that are willing to advocate for their own wellbeing, women that live enthusiastically and unapologetically, women that may have started from a tough place but didn’t let it define them or squelch their desire for joy and a life lived out loud.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
In many ways, it’s not what you know but who you know in the freelance writing space. I’ve worked with a number of fantastic editors and I’ve met wonderful writers that have collaborated and inspired me to reach for the high-hanging fruit. Cultivating and nurturing relationships with pr and media companies has also helped immensely. My greatest (and cutest) supporters, however, are my three boys and husband—they are the faces I picture when I knuckle down and get to work.

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