A few excerpts from interviews I've given and articles I've written:
Being an expatriate, you’re naturally a person in transition.
Your worst days can leave you feeling unmoored and alienated. Your best days bring a sense of your agile nature and the qualities that make you unique from the people who surround you and the people back home.
Working toward an understanding of what it will take for you to feel your best in your environment I think is extremely worthwhile. Your answers perfectly define you and the more closely they are incorporated into your business plans the better chance you have of career success abroad.
After five years in Malaysia and 8.5 in Turkey, I've made the limbo state of expatriatism (not belonging to your surroundings but having to navigate them in culturally appropriate ways AND honor the truth of who you are at the same time) a strength instead of a weakness.
With my career disrupted by international relocations and watching the traditional media business being disrupted by digital and social media, my particular m.o. has evolved into gate jumping. That’s a combination of reaction to obstacles in my environments, and a commitment to not be hindered by “what is”.
Gate jumping can work for expats of all kinds.
Here’s how I do it: Fearlessly operating without borders instead of accepting my off-the-grid, situation-mismatch as a paralyzing disadvantage.
Time zones, language barriers, geographical distances, old-school thinking and collapse in my industries of media and entertainment, these things don't stop me.
Being an early adopter of Twitter, I use it for continuing education like virtually attending conferences and entering high level discussions in my topics of interest, to networking and meeting my peers around the world.
One of the reasons I founded GlobalNiche.net is that I have noticed that the majority of expats disappear when they go abroad rather than come to local and international prominence through their expat lives as I have done.
Even fewer women expats accomplish this in Muslim countries or have managed to raise the voices of multiple other women in a country known for its censorship. See the details of this particular adventure in my piece The Accidental Anthologist.
I don't think any of this is easy to achieve. But I do think it's integral to surviving, and thriving.
A round up of my quotes from interviews, profiles and articles by or about me that keep coming back.
"Expat Harem women are challenged to redefine their lives, definitions of spirituality, femininity, sensuality and self."
-- introduction to Tales from the Expat Harem, with Jennifer Eaton Gökmen, 2005
THE NEGOTIATION OF FOREIGN WOMEN IN TURKEY:Commitment Now asks: "Do you think many of the foreign women who have made Turkey their home have found that their adjustments are one-way?"
Anastasia: "Not in my life or for most foreign women I know. If anything we’re in a constant state of negotiating which way the street is going at any given time to accommodate both our instincts and those of the people around us.
"There's a huge spectrum of society in Turkey, all with their own quotients of modernity and comfort with Western traditions. My Turkish family is secular, modern to the point of being trendy, and highly Europeanized."
-- travel author interview with Commitment Now, 2009
TURKEY'S BOND OF METAMORPHOSIS WITH THE EXPAT HAREM: "Foreign women on Turkish soil are neither what nor who they used to be, yet not fully transformed by their brush with Turkey. Aligned in their ever-shifting contexts, both Turkey and the expatriate share a bond of constant metamorphosis.
THE DAMAGING CULTURAL FACTOR SEX TOURISTS EXPORT: "Writing from the sex-toured Near East, the damaging potential of each disposable liaison is empirical evidence that Western culture is morally corrupt. One forgettable fling has the power to affect systems far larger than the person, family, village or region which witnessed and absorbed the behavior.
"The environment of sexual predation many Western women face overseas is also bound to be heightened by the wanton and culturally inappropriate choices of 'sex pilgrims'.
"Travelers and expatriates striving to modulate their behavior to find social acceptance with native friends, families and colleagues must struggle to differentiate themselves from sexual opportunists who don't have to lie in the messy bed they've made."
-- book review of Romance on the Road: Traveling Women Who Love Foreign Men, Perceptive Travel, 7/06
ON THE PARALLEL IDENTITY STRUGGLES OF TURKEY, AND GLOBAL NOMADS: “Turkey is asking itself some of the world’s most difficult questions these days,” said Ashman, comparing the nation’s quest with her own identity issues as a global nomad and the questions central to her work. “Expat Harem asked 30 foreign women what modern Turkey taught them about themselves.
"Turkey as a crucible of the self, a mirror on our own possibilities as citizens of the world.
"We chose tonight’s topic because it is relevant to Global Nomads who are concerned with the concepts of personal identity, community and belonging, and the balance of cultural influences that can sometimes be at odds.”
EXPATS' AGILE AND UNIQUE NATURE IS KEY TO SUCCESS ABROAD: "Being an expatriate you’re naturally a person in transition. Your worst days can leave you feeling unmoored, and alienated. Your best days bring a sense of your agile nature and the qualities that make you unique from the people who surround you and the people back home.
"Working toward an understanding of what it will take for you to feel your best in your environment is extremely worthwhile.
"Your answers perfectly define you and the more closely they are incorporated into your business plans the better chance you have of career success abroad."
EXPATRIATISM AS FOURTH GENERATION IMMIGRATION: "Being an expat to me may be more akin to someone who simply isn’t living where they started. I’m just farther away. I guess you could say I’m a fourth generation immigrant, since my parents and their parents and their parents before them all left their homelands or their cities in search of better opportunities in the west. Coming to Europe completes that loop for my family.
"When I'm slathering Mediterranean olive oil on a wild arugula salad I am enjoying something a distant ancestor once did but that my closer relatives did not, as they served Spam in Chicago and tofu taco salad in California."
ON PUBLISHING AND THE DIGITAL WORLD CITIZEN: "Geographic disadvantage demands I compete in my home market virtually...and my global audience is now virtual.
"I’m shifting to new school thinking in distribution, promotion, and sales.
"Internet access equalized my ‘90s expat reality. Now Twitter closes the professional morass as Tweetdeck columns resonate thought leadership across publishing, technology, and marketing. I’ve got Web 3.0 plans for my second book not only because as a contemporary author abroad I must connect with readers and offer dynamic interaction with the material, but because as a digital citizen I can."
SOCIAL MEDIA ERASES THE TRADITIONAL DISADVANTAGES OF EXPATRIATISM: "Social media affords expats location-independence (work where you are and where you'll go), self-actualization (be an expert in whatever you choose), language (communicate in your preferred tongue), and flexibility (time and location become irrelevant).
"You can be current, involved, and a player in your field thanks to the new platforms. Once upon a time we expats were disconnected from our bases of operation that our countrymen back home had available to them.
"Now, the divide is digital. Virtual. Non-existent for the expat who makes use of technology."
WRITERS ABROAD BUILD NETWORK FOR NEW ROLE AS CONTENT ENGINEERS: "Reach beyond readers, other writers and even publishing folk. Seek out thought leaders in marketing, interactive tech people, small business owners and creative entrepreneurs. These are all fields that a contemporary author and content producer is entering whether she knows it or not.
"I’ve been revisiting all my projects to see how I can bring them to life in the most current way -- in terms of technology and distribution distinct from the low-percentage, high-barrier traditional paths.
"Writers are now producers, and directors, and engineers of content."
THE 'PROBLEM' OF GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP -- AN IDENTITY SUSPENDED BETWEEN MULTIPLE WORLDS -- CAN BE A SOLUTION FOR 21st CENTURY WOMEN: "We often dream about a spot where *our* kind of people live, where we can lead *our* chosen lifestyle.
"Today the bittersweet psychic limbo of global citizenship frees the multifaceted woman. Frees us to bond around common interest. Experience. World view.
"Through the digital nomadism pioneered by location independent people and use of self-actualizing social media, we can now operate independently of where we live and tap into a sense of ourselves both unique and as big as we can be."
-- She's Next digital media series, inspiring 60 second video interviews to cultivate happiness and leadership in 21st century women, 10/28/10
ASTUTE PORTFOLIO BUILDING: "I knew I could benefit from a more professional approach to the craft.
"[When I pitched a profile to the Village Voice I ended up publishing] a profile/book review/event announcement -- the managing editor’s hybrid idea when I emphasized the curating work my multimedia poet interviewee was doing at St. Mark’s Poetry Project, and an upcoming performance there of a new Brion Gysin book.
"If an editor was gracious enough to tell me exactly what he could use all I needed to do was accept the challenge."
HISTORICAL TRAVELOGUE CAN HELP FIND YOUR PLACE: "Long-term travelers, expatriates and global citizens often struggle to make sense of life's evolutions abroad, as well as find meaningful access to their new surroundings. Whether I'm simply passing through, or putting down roots in a place, I've come to crave a certain type of book.
"Historical travelogue and portraits of adventurous women travelers who came before me often helps connect me to the land, and remind me of the transformative tradition of female travel."