Sunday, October 9, 2011

Expats: Do You Struggle With Your Global Identity?

Hi Everyone, If you ever struggle with your global and/or creative identity, today's post about Anastasia Ashman and Tara Agacayak's new website, Global Niche, might interest you. Anastasia's name might already be familiar to some/many of you, as we interviewed Anastasia back in 2007 about her book Expat Harem, and many of you might also see her regularly tweeting expat links as @AnastasiaAshman. Anastasia tells us more...

Get Creative About Your Place in the World: 
How To Operate On A Micro-Yet-Global Level With A Global Niche

"Do you ever feel suspended between multiple worlds  challenged in your pursuits and interests by culture, geography, language or time zone?

Welcome to the club. The Global Niche club, that is. Here we take advantage of our situation mismatches.

In fact, after fourteen years of expatriatism and through my cultural identity work as a writer/producer I’ve come to see this psychic limbo state about who we are and where we belong  familiar to people with trans global lives and culturally hybrid lifestyles  as our secret weapon.

To start at the beginning, we’re all born global citizens even if that knowledge gets trained out of us. As we mature, a global identity seems nebulous, and ungrounded. Better to bond with the more concrete: family, culture, nation. Our schoolmates, colleagues, neighbors.

There’s a problem with concrete, though. It cracks over time and in quickly changing conditions, and sometimes even under its own weight.

I’d even venture to say that ‘our people’ today are not who they used to be. We’re unbounded by the communities in our physical midst. Now we can find inspiring new kinship in interest and outlook.

Expats and international types have more reasons than most to find a way to operate independently of where we happen to be physically. But with today's economic uncertainties no matter who or where we are, we all have to embrace an enterprising view of ourselves  a way to operate unlimited by the options around us. With recent advances in virtual technologies like mobile devices and the social web, we have tools at our disposal to help us live a globally unbounded life.

Now we don’t have to be a tech expert or social media guru to build a micro-yet-global base of operations with a professional web platform and virtual network for continuing education, professional development, and a close-knit but world-flung set of friends. We can be digital world citizens and achieve a cutting-edge state of being  that is, what I call ‘psychic location independence’.

I coined the concept of a global niche  defined as a ‘psychic solution to your global identity crisis’-- at expat+HAREM, the online community of global citizens, identity adventurers and intentional travelers I founded in 2009. The group blog was inspired by the global community that gathered around Tales from the Expat Harem, an anthology by foreign women about their lives in modern Turkey that I co-edited in 2005 with fellow Istanbul resident Jennifer Gokmen. was also informed by the idea of an ‘expat harem’ itself, where all the writers in the book and the readers drawn to them are cultural peers in a virtual realm. 

Along with my partner Tara Agacayak, a creative enterprise consultant from Silicon Valley in America who’s spent the past 10 years in Turkey, this fall I launched a new work-life initiative at

In this hands-on venture we'll be practicing creative self enterprise for the global soul, based on the philosophies evolved from 175 incisive neoculture discussions and 2,800 comments at the expat+HAREM site.

Besides the expat+HAREM revelations, we’re also applying life-work innovations Tara and I have been exploring in the past few years in our professional communities of creative entrepreneurs and social media proponents. Combining our expat and entrepreneurship experiences has led us to the conclusion that networked reality is the most important independent survival skill of international people.

If you are interested to receive email about the life-work journeys of mobile progressives and cultural creatives in situation mismatches, please sign up at Thank you!"


Sezin Koehler said...

I also recall that Anastasia and Tara also did an interview with in January 2010, about using social media to solve our expat career disruptions, and explained the whole concept of building a creative entrepreneur platform online.See here:

There has been a great deal of transition in my life these last few months -- a move from my home of 4 years in Prague to Germany and publishing my first novel ( -- and Anastasia and Tara's thoughtful solutions to many of the issues I've faced are innately bound to this idea of a global niche. I work full-time from home now and without Anastasia's idea of psychic locational independence I don't know how I would be managing at all.

This post is a great summary of what the Global Niche will be and I can't wait to see it launched!

Quan said...

This post really gets me looking forward to it! Thanks for sharing.

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