lifestyle design

Interview With Yesilist About A Global Niche As Sustainable Lifestyle

"The new era is about believing in yourself and creating your own niche," writes interviewer Ergem Senyuva of Yesilist, Turkey's guide to sustainable living, after talking to me and Tara Agacayak. "GlobalNiche helps people realize their visions and reach their dreams." Read the entire interview here. Moving to a new place can be challenging for many people. What are your suggestions for them? Build your safety net before you need it -- that means creating a global niche even before you move to smooth your transition. Connect as soon as possible with potential peers in your new location. Take care of your personal and professional needs, you’re the only one who knows what they are.

Can you please briefly tell us how you became part of Global Niche.  Even though we’re from the same San Francisco region in California, we met in Istanbul through a professional women’s group in 2009. Then we took an expat professional women life design class together and learned more about our commonalities, and noticed how our backgrounds complement each other. Anastasia is a media person with experience in Hollywood and New York, and Tara is an information tech person who designed databases for the US Department of Defense. Combining the media and info tech, we were both early adopters of social media used as a survival tool -- especially Twitter, which brings the world to you -- so in 2009 we started talking to groups of international women about becoming visible in the world through a professional web platform. That’s an online presence meant to support you as a professional person. was an off-shoot of Anastasia’s cultural producing work at the site for global citizens. ExpatHarem was a group blog and discussion site, and GlobalNiche was meant to take all that philosophy and put it into practice. We wanted to give people the practical skills and tools they’d need to thrive. Tara came on as chief operating officer in 2010 and in 2011 we started having monthly webvideo conversations to discuss the issues of being at home in the world. Now we have a program and two monthly live webvideo events and a private Facebook support group for people in our program.

You live in different continents and different time zones. What are the obstacles you run into while you are running the operational aspect? We use Basecamp, an online collaboration software, and Skype for weekly conference calls. We’re connected daily on an asynchronous basis through Twitter, email, and the other social web services we use. We have an ambient awareness of the other’s activities through all that social media. Even though it’s nice to be able to work around the clock by passing the baton back and forth to each other, the biggest obstacle is often the time zone. We can’t always connect when our energies are at similar levels.

GlobalNiche operates online. Do you sometimes believe you are missing the warmth of face to face communication? How do you compensate for it? Live web video has the warmth of face to face communication. We use the Linqto app for that. We also make the effort to see each other and members of our community when we are in close proximity to each other, with planned and impromptu GlobalNiche meetups around the globe. We’ve had gatherings in San Francisco, New York, Istanbul, London. We also know that virtual life is just as real as actual life, and what’s most important is not the exchange of molecules but rather the depth of our human connection.

How do you see Global Niche evolving over time? This is a solution whose time has come, and the problem will only continue to grow as people move around and the economy remains weak. We’d like to continue to listen to the needs of our community, develop even more robust products and services to help them overcome these huge life challenges. We hope to continue creating a nurturing environment, providing tech-savvy, globally-aware, culturally-sensitive support. We’d love to add some live bootcamps to speed people through the process. Get them on their feet, and doing what they love, right where they are.

Creative Self-Enterprise Since Life Is A Work In Progress

There goes half the year. Time for a holiday, whether you got your stuff done or not. Apparently, this is your brain, on vacationa fun break from routine is not a luxury -- it's a requirement in stress relief.

Preparing for the upcoming Global Niche webinar (stay in the loop by joining our GN page), last month I asked for your burning question. A lot of you say you've been thinking about your effectiveness in life, work, play -- and how priorities and time management manifest in our final result.

I hear you! I've come to see this quest to achieve our best situation (both micro and macro) -- that is, truly our global niche -- as the creative entrepreneurship of self.

We are our own enterprise, after all. A work in progress. A human mission statement.

Seeking/building/maintaining our global niche is an investment in self that pays off...

  • Or pinpointing what exactly community means to us (to create the lifestyle we envision whether it's local or global, we need to be clear on this!) like the people in this video.
  • Or the 70+ life and work hacks from career renegades, zen habitues, and cubicle escapees at Chris  "The Art of Non-conformity" Guillebeau's World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon this month where "the road less traveled starts to look like the standard path." (Download Chris' free guide "How to live a remarkable life in a conventional world", no sign-up required)

These breaks from routine pay off.


Send us your problem: What's the main obstacle to being effective in whatever you do? What stops you from creating the lifestyle you envision for yourself?


Enterprisingly yours,



P.S. Check out our brand new time-saving, graphic Scoop-It page on all-things-global niche. Potent, right!?


Check out May's "Flowering" +++++

Making The Psychic Limbo Of Global Citizens A Productive State

The expat+HAREM COMMUNITY AIMS TO HELP YOU: 1) DISCOVER your psychic peers + global community 2) CREATE a hybrid identity from your many worlds

Why do you need our help? The short answer: Because liminal life is a bittersweet limbo -- coming, going, never quite arriving -- and here at expat+HAREM the community embraces this unmoored and central reality of our globetrotting, multicultural, hybrid times.


The psychic limbo and identity adventure global citizens experience today is expat+HAREM's sweet spot. Our neoculture.

This neoculture is our situation in life and our world view. What we work to make sense of, and to capitalize on.

Here at expat+HAREM we've defined the problem, and provide the solution.

Glo· bal· niche, n.

a psychic solution to your global identity crisis

[More about Anastasia Ashman, the founder of this global niche.]

MAKING LIMBO A PRODUCTIVE STATE Limbo is usually considered a place in-between. A state of suspended animation. Paralysis, a spinning of the wheels. Nowheresville. But it can also be an unconstrained place where anything is possible. That's how expat+HAREM choses to see it. Multifaceted people like us have strength and flexibility and experience and access to multiple perspectives. These are all assets.

WE'RE IN THE VANGUARD AND NEED EACH OTHER Globalization has had an unfortunate disenfranchising effect. (Perhaps like many in our community you've been there personally!) However, despite the resistance and misunderstanding and worrying 'purity' movements we're witnessing in populations large and small, at expat+HAREM we believe fostering our particular dialogue of culture and identity is a way forward. A chance to find new and meaningful connection to the world while making sense of conflicting situations.

IT'S NOT ALL BIG PICTURE Sure, we like to talk about the big picture -- whole hemispheres and societies! -- but at our heart we're concerned with the smallest details of the individual. Navigating relationships with people in your life. Achieving psychic location independence. Negotiating our personal connection with the many worlds we love to belong to. That's how we'll find our global niche.

HERE'S WHAT WE MEAN WHEN WE SAY "WE'LL HELP YOU FIND YOUR GLOBAL NICHE": a psychic solution to your global identity crisis.


Our most important bonds are no longer solely decided by geography, nationality or even blood. When we find where we uniquely belong in the world we've found our global niche.

expat+HAREM, the global niche embodies the Expat Harem concept* -- localized foreigner, outsider on the inside -- while speaking to intentional travelers, identity adventurers and global citizens of all kinds.

This 2-year archive of neoculture discussions delves into perspective on the crossroads and dichotomies of our hybrid lives:

  • modern existences in historic places
  • deep-rooted traditions translated in mobile times
  • limiting stereotypes revisited for wider meaning
  • the expat mindset as it evolves from nationalism to globalism


THOUGHTS ON HYBRID LIFE WRITING Combining outsider-view-from-the-inside and journey of self-realization, we think expat/emigree/immigrant literature deserves a shelf of its own.

+++ OUR ROOTS +++ Based on the original Expat Harem concept by Anastasia M. Ashman and Jennifer Eaton Gokmen

expat+HAREM, the global niche is the archive of a group blog and community site launched in 2009 by Anastasia Ashman, coeditor with Jennifer Eaton Gökmen of Tales from the Expat Harem: Foreign Women in Modern Turkey.

* The site is inspired by the cultural embrace and self-exploration of that best-selling and critically acclaimed 2005 expatriate literature collection.

+ DETAILS: media coverage, academic uses, and awards for the anthology created and edited with Jennifer Eaton Gökmen, compiling the work of 32 international Expat Harem writers.

+ BEST 5 BOOKS ON TURKEY: Turkey’s most-read author Elif Shafak picks Expat Harem among the best 5 books on Turkey (Five Books, November 2010)

+ THE ACCIDENTAL ANTHOLOGIST: expat+HAREM founder's personal story behind the book.

+ HAREM GIRLS FOR SALE: 2 years from workshop to bestseller list -- the story of two expat editors.

Editors interviewed on The Crossroads satellite TV, July 2009

+++++ Take the next step with us --> into's creative self enterprise for the global soul.  Another good place to explore:  Anastasia Ashman's producer page at Facebook.

Psychic Solution To Your Global Identity Crisis

Glo· bal· niche, n. psychic solution to your global identity crisis

Don't coin too many terms, warn the smart search engine optimizers. "No one will know what you're talking about plus they won't be able to find you!" At expat+HAREM we like to talk about unconventional, unbounded and unmapped life as we experience it, and if we could find the lingo we need in common usage, we'd certainly use it.

(Tell us the terms you use.)

On Twitter someone asked, “is ‘hybrid life’ kinda like what a salamander leads?” Uh, could call us cultural amphibians. Water, air, land, we (try to) do it all.

If you've arrived in the expat+HAREM community, perhaps you do know what I'm talking about. Or maybe you want to see what's next in neoculture (another coined term to-be-explained).

Here’s the deal.

WE'RE ALL BORN GLOBAL CITIZENS even if that knowledge gets trained out of us. A global identity seems nebulous, and ungrounded. Better to bond with the more concrete: family, culture, nation.

Problem with concrete though: it cracks over time, in quickly changing conditions, and sometimes even under its own weight.



Globalization means we’re entering a permanent state of psychic limbo about who we are and where we belong in the world.

Mixed blood. Crossculture. Third Culture. International work, study, travel. Fusion faiths, dual nationalities. Many of us know the bittersweet liminality of living between multiple worlds, and the soul-sprung righteousness of refusing to settle on just one.

The more we move around the less home is one place --  not to mention the mirage home becomes as soon as we leave it -- so our associations spread and bifurcate and split again. Our capacity for inclusion grows, and our sense of self expands along with it.

Coming, going, never quite arriving. This is where we live today. We’re searching for our place in the world, our people, the hybrid lifestyle that will make it all cohese. We know this:

Our concrete center will not hold.

OUR PEOPLE ARE NOT WHO THEY USED TO BE We also recognize we’re unbounded by the communities in our physical midst and traditional markers like geography, nationality or even blood.

Now we find inspiring new kinship in interest and outlook.

Virtual technologies like social media and mobile devices help identity adventurers, global nomads and digital citizens integrate even faster across out-moded boundaries.

To become the global citizens we truly are, we need to find our place in the world.

This has always been the case. But the 21st century offers new ways to find where we uniquely belong, and a new urgency to actualize our global citizenship.

Here at expat+HAREM we believe you can create a psychic solution to your global identity crisis.

Call it psychic location independence.

She'sNext interview: Here I'm talking about how multifaceted, 21st century women can find their global niche.

TAPPING INTO OUR OWN GLOBAL BEING When we discover our psychic peers and foster a global community with them  -- fashioning a hybrid identity and a 'salamander' life that intersects and honors the many worlds we belong to -- we've found our global niche. It's good to be home.

I Dream Of GenY: In Sync With Today's 20-Something Worldview

If you're over 30 (OK, over 40) you probably don’t yearn to recapture 20-something days of gritty uncertainty. It’s even less appealing if you’re from the tail end of the Baby Boom, a generation gap in itself. My birth year alone meant I’d always occupy an entry-level position in that cultural generation.

Last week a visiting friend and I reminisced about our salad days in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. Now Sex and the City types fill its fashion showrooms, art galleries and wine vaults but in the late ‘80s -- when our loft went Hollywood in the film Fatal Attraction and Madonna launched her naughty picture book from the basement nightclub -- it was a no man's land. Motorcycle gangs. Transvestite prostitutes. Bloody meatpackers in white coats and industrial rubber boots. You know, affordable. Plus, our landlady (a dominatrix!) didn’t complain about the party noise.

Unconventional freedom after-hours compensated for our brick-wall career prospects in mainstream media, entertainment, architecture and advertising. Unlike the disaffected GenX slackers a couple years behind us, my downtown loftmates and I refused to embrace the fact we'd never build equity with our marquee employers.

We still had our eye on the ball! Just. Needed to. Get. A foot. In. The door. No surprise the rising tide of GenY and its status quo rebellion has recently uplifted me.

Even with today’s dismal economy, the blogosphere is abuzz with possibility for young adults. A location-independent lifestyle design site launched this week challenges us to “live an awesome life on your own damn terms” while top blogs of young entrepreneurs spearhead social renewal.

The idealistic, brazen careerist mindset resonates because I'm old enough to have faced the corporate cubicle and young enough to frolic with a novel and unbounded reality.

Time travel to GenY’s brand of 20-something grit is a trip I'm willing to take. Ever felt in sync with a different generation?