Post image for What’s a global niche? The short answer

By ANASTASIA ASHMAN

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

[see expanded definition of a 'global niche']

Don’t coin too many terms, a search engine optimizer recently advised me. “No one’ll know what you’re talking about, and those who might won’t be able to find you on the Internet!”

Dilemma. At expat+HAREM we like to talk about our unconventional, unmapped lives. We can’t wait for popular terminology to catch up.

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

Here’s the expat+HAREM proposition: 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 concrete: family, culture, nation.

Yet we’re entering a permanent state of psychic limbo about who we are and where we belong in the world. Mixed blood, culture, family, religion. International work, study, travel. The self-actualization of virtual activity, finding our tribe, and the whole location independence movement. Our concrete center will not hold.

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

…a sense of ourselves that is both unique and as big as we can be. Call it psychic location independence.

When we discover our psychic peers and foster global community with them, and honor the many worlds we belong to by fashioning a hybrid identity — yes, a ‘salamander’ life — we’ve found our global niche.

What terms do you use to talk about this cross-worlds phenomenon we’re living? What’s your name for being at home in the world?

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Anastasia Ashman is a California-born writer/producer of neoculture entertainment based in Istanbul. This series covers what’s crossing the mind and desk of expat+HAREM’s founder.
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If you’re of the creative entrepreneur persuasion you might like to get on a special resource mailing list run by Tara Agacayak of Turquoise Poppy about building your global niche on the web: sign up here.

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  • http://www.adventuresinexpatland.com lindainexpatland.com

    I love the phrase ‘psychic, location independent, cultural amphibian’! I’m a big fan of choosing to define ourselves and respecting each other’s choices. Great post w/ video that I gladly tweet to share!

    • http://about.me/anastasia.ashman Anastasia

      Thanks a lot Linda, looking forward to hearing more from you about how you’re navigating life!

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  • taraagacayak

    My name for being at home in the world? Let your circumstances shape, guide and inspire you, not prohibit or limit you. Create ways to make your life's purpose be your life's work. #bewhoyouare #dowhatyoulove #changetheworld

  • http://www.expatharem.com/identity-messages/ Anastasia

    :-) It's our pleasure!

    Elmira I know I really appreciate the mirror-image/view you often present to those of us Americans in Turkey as an American-born Turk…

  • http://www.expatharem.com/identity-messages/ Anastasia

    True, Bernd, when you join a group that seems right for you a space opens, as if it were always there waiting for you.

  • http://www.expatharem.com/identity-messages/ Anastasia

    Good to have you here, Heidi. As Pico Iyer says, if nowhere in the world is home, all the world is home. So 'homeless' is a designation that leads to 'home-whereever', too.

  • http://cocreatr.typepad.com/ cocreatr.typepad.com/

    Well, a global niche… um, is….
    the place that opens for me in a crowd when I claim it with my presence.

  • http://cocreatr.typepad.com/ cocreatr.typepad.com/

    Well, a global niche… um, is….
    the place that opens for me in a crowd when I claim it with my presence.

  • http://www.wondermentwoman.com Elmira

    I love my global niche on Expat Harem. Thanks for bringing us together.
    .-= Elmira’s latest blog ..Hard as you try, you still can’t go no where =-.

  • http://www.wondermentwoman.com Elmira

    I love my global niche on Expat Harem. Thanks for bringing us together.
    .-= Elmira’s latest blog ..Hard as you try, you still can’t go no where =-.

  • http://www.dutchessabroad.com Judith van Praag

    Worldburgers, that’s what I call PLU

  • Anonymous

    Worldburgers, that’s what I call PLU

  • http://www.soultravelers3.com/ soultravelers3

    “We’re all born global citizens”

    Yes, we are and it’s funny that so many forget that, I do think it is changing today.

    We’ve been traveling the world since 2006 as a family and I always wanted to raise my child as a global citizen and I wanted her to always know that she was related to everyone.

    We’re monolinguals who raised her as a trilingual from birth & part of our travel is to give her deep fluency and literacy in her 3 languages and expose her to more languages and cultures around the world, but we started exposing her to other cultures even in the womb. Our Chinese and Spanish friends helped us with those languages as well as other friends from many countries.

    Even in a small, very “white-bread” community, there are so many amazing multi-ligual and multi-cultural experiences available, but few people partake. I’ve just always enjoyed this so perhaps that is why I seek it or attract such. I find it enriching and sparks creativity, so wanted to pass it on.

    I don’t really have any pet labels, but enjoy the experience and think more and more people will continue to go in these kinds of directions in our changing world.

    Thanks for this lovely post!

  • http://www.soultravelers3.com/ soultravelers3

    “We’re all born global citizens”

    Yes, we are and it’s funny that so many forget that, I do think it is changing today.

    We’ve been traveling the world since 2006 as a family and I always wanted to raise my child as a global citizen and I wanted her to always know that she was related to everyone.

    We’re monolinguals who raised her as a trilingual from birth & part of our travel is to give her deep fluency and literacy in her 3 languages and expose her to more languages and cultures around the world, but we started exposing her to other cultures even in the womb. Our Chinese and Spanish friends helped us with those languages as well as other friends from many countries.

    Even in a small, very “white-bread” community, there are so many amazing multi-ligual and multi-cultural experiences available, but few people partake. I’ve just always enjoyed this so perhaps that is why I seek it or attract such. I find it enriching and sparks creativity, so wanted to pass it on.

    I don’t really have any pet labels, but enjoy the experience and think more and more people will continue to go in these kinds of directions in our changing world.

    Thanks for this lovely post!

    • http://www.expatharem.com/identity-messages/ Anastasia

      Jeanne thank you! Your family definitely presents a new and intentional face of globalism.

      You’re right it seems most communities are multicultural (whether we think of them that way or not! It just takes a finer definition of culture to see it, and encourage the differences.) and that trend will only continue. Best we add embracing it to our skill set.

  • http://pychophotographer.wordpress.com Heidi

    What a gift to find this website! I just finished reading “Tales from the Expat Harem” and was referencing it on my Facebook page, and found you…my kindred spirits.

    I just wrote a long response to your post, and then it all vanished, so I’m going to make this one brief, and then sign up for the newsletters and stay in touch regularly.

    I’ve been calling myself a “citizen of the world” for the last 5 years. My lifestyle has not been the traditional one…All of my things are in storage, I’ve been housesitting for 3-month to 1 year stretches, and traveling to different countries when I can (just was in Istanbul, thus the interest in your book).

    While it has certainly been challenging to figure out how to make a living without having a permanent home base, how to still maintain long-term friendships and make local friends, and how to nurture my inner peace, knowing, and intuition through much change (some chosen, some just life), it’s been surprisingly most challenging to “explain” the beauty and essence of my need for this global lifestyle to others.

    Recently a friend of mine, puzzled, asked “Where do you tell people you live?” I answered “Where I’m living at the time.” For example, I currently am living and working 3 months in Houston, Texas, so if someone asks where I live, I say “Houston.” But last month I had been living in Taos, New Mexico, so if someone asked me then, I would have said “Taos.”

    His answer to my reply? “Oh, that’s good, I like that answer. It’s much better than telling people that you’re homeless, which is how I’ve described you.”

    Homeless??!! I’ve felt less homeless than I did when I owned my own home for 10 years!

    I’m looking forward to more discussion and exchange…thanks so much for starting the dialogue…

  • http://pychophotographer.wordpress.com Heidi

    What a gift to find this website! I just finished reading “Tales from the Expat Harem” and was referencing it on my Facebook page, and found you…my kindred spirits.

    I just wrote a long response to your post, and then it all vanished, so I’m going to make this one brief, and then sign up for the newsletters and stay in touch regularly.

    I’ve been calling myself a “citizen of the world” for the last 5 years. My lifestyle has not been the traditional one…All of my things are in storage, I’ve been housesitting for 3-month to 1 year stretches, and traveling to different countries when I can (just was in Istanbul, thus the interest in your book).

    While it has certainly been challenging to figure out how to make a living without having a permanent home base, how to still maintain long-term friendships and make local friends, and how to nurture my inner peace, knowing, and intuition through much change (some chosen, some just life), it’s been surprisingly most challenging to “explain” the beauty and essence of my need for this global lifestyle to others.

    Recently a friend of mine, puzzled, asked “Where do you tell people you live?” I answered “Where I’m living at the time.” For example, I currently am living and working 3 months in Houston, Texas, so if someone asks where I live, I say “Houston.” But last month I had been living in Taos, New Mexico, so if someone asked me then, I would have said “Taos.”

    His answer to my reply? “Oh, that’s good, I like that answer. It’s much better than telling people that you’re homeless, which is how I’ve described you.”

    Homeless??!! I’ve felt less homeless than I did when I owned my own home for 10 years!

    I’m looking forward to more discussion and exchange…thanks so much for starting the dialogue…

  • http://bazaarbayar.blogspot.com/ Catherine Bayar

    Thanks for this post Anastasia. It’s coming at the perfect time for me as we settle into our new/old city. Global citizens – so true, and being back in Istanbul reinforces my long-term comfort with global community thinking.

    Abit has called us “cultural chameleons” and that morphing helps us connect with like minds. I’ve found my place in the world, physically and psychically. We may be ahead of the wave, but let’s keep working to find ways to increase that gravitational pull.

    • Anastasia

      Welcome back to Istanbul, Catherine.

      Chameleons, salamanders…interesting dualities and differences. Chameleons reflect their environment, and blend in. Salamanders are born breathing water but adapt to air and land.

      • http://bazaarbayar.blogspot.com/ Catherine Bayar

        Thanks Anastasia – surprised by this rain! Then I’d have to say that Abit and I are both creatures, since we assimilate and adapt, but don’t truly blend in anywhere.

  • http://www.bazaarbayar.blogspot.com Catherine Bayar

    Thanks for this post Anastasia. It’s coming at the perfect time for me as we settle into our new/old city. Global citizens – so true, and being back in Istanbul reinforces my long-term comfort with global community thinking.

    Abit has called us “cultural chameleons” and that morphing helps us connect with like minds. I’ve found my place in the world, physically and psychically. We may be ahead of the wave, but let’s keep working to find ways to increase that gravitational pull.

    • http://www.expatharem.com/identity-messages/ Anastasia

      Welcome back to Istanbul, Catherine.

      Chameleons, salamanders…interesting dualities and differences. Chameleons reflect their environment, and blend in. Salamanders are born breathing water but adapt to air and land.

      • http://www.bazaarbayar.blogspot.com Catherine Bayar

        Thanks Anastasia – surprised by this rain! Then I’d have to say that Abit and I are both creatures, since we assimilate and adapt, but don’t truly blend in anywhere.

  • http://www.rosedeniz.blogspot.com rosedeniz

    Sometimes the language for a movement (in art, in writing, in culture) is absent for a period of time. It is being defined right now, as Sezin says, and I believe written as it happens. Not using new terminology, not developing a new language, hinders the possibility of growth and long-range vision. Even if it means temporarily being out of step with search engines, the gap will eventually close. Without forerunners, how would movements have been created anyway? The global niche gives a voice to a way of thinking, living, and being, that is being created now.

    • http://bazaarbayar.blogspot.com/ Catherine Bayar

      Totally agree with you Rose – as artists, designers, writers, it’s our calling to be creating this global niche.

    • Anastasia

      True, Rose. The problem of nomenclature goes far beyond keywords too. It seems whole categories for what we’re talking about — living, and doing — are missing from web directories.

      Since I launched expat+HAREM, the global niche six months ago, I’ve been listing it with blog aggregators and other directories. Very few categories seem appropriate for the cultural and identity exploration scope of the site, and those that overlap its content and audience seem too limited to be correct.

      I would like to say yes to all of these: expatriate // lifestyle // travel // culture // subculture // global citizen // globalism // global living // multiculturalism // contemporary society // entertainment // cultural psychology

      Yet in many directories culture drifts very quickly into museums, festivals and food, while multicultural seems the purview of ethnicity alone. At one directory existing subcultures we can choose from include skateboarders, nudists, Burning Man (which all sound like the same thing to me, ha ha).

      At DMOZ, the open directory project (“the largest and most comprehensive human-edited directory on the web”) for lifestyle choices, Luddism and ‘car-free’ are some options. There’s urban living but not global living. There are regional subcategories but not a global one, nor a transnational one. Maybe we’re Society: Future: Utopias? Society: Lifestyle choices: Intentional communities? But who’s looking there?

      Perusing further, I’m attracted to the suggestion of Society: Issues: Micronations but when I check it out, I see a related category is Games: Roleplaying: World building: Created Worlds … and other “geofictional” places. Are we at expat+HAREM geofictional? Geoagnostic may be more like it — and more like our idea of psychic location independence.

      Society: Issues: Micronations: Dispersed Territory also sounded intriguing, if far-flung. But it sure was a dead corner of the Internet with only two lifeless sites listed.

      Yeesh! This reminds me of the days of webforms when you had to choose your profession from a drop-down menu that never listed the industry I worked in*, nor the type of work I considered myself doing. Still happens, but at least the concept of career has become more flexible, and more realistic.

      *”Automotive” was always on the list — wonder if it shows up as often now.

      • http://www.Sezin.org Sezin

        I think you can also add Cross Cultural Studies, Intercultural Studies, Transcultural Studies, even Cultural Anthropology, Sociology, and Nomadology would apply to the expat+HAREM global niche.

        You have done something really amazing with the expat+HAREM space as well as coming up with a term that has so many levels of meanings, is still nuanced AND is able to fit the experiences of so many different people globally. Congratulations, Anastasia. People are going to write books about you one day. :-)

  • Anonymous

    Sometimes the language for a movement (in art, in writing, in culture) is absent for a period of time. It is being defined right now, as Sezin says, and I believe written as it happens. Not using new terminology, not developing a new language, hinders the possibility of growth and long-range vision. Even if it means temporarily being out of step with search engines, the gap will eventually close. Without forerunners, how would movements have been created anyway? The global niche gives a voice to a way of thinking, living, and being, that is being created now.

    • http://www.bazaarbayar.blogspot.com Catherine Bayar

      Totally agree with you Rose – as artists, designers, writers, it’s our calling to be creating this global niche.

    • http://www.expatharem.com/identity-messages/ Anastasia

      True, Rose. The problem of nomenclature goes far beyond keywords too. It seems whole categories for what we’re talking about — living, and doing — are missing from web directories.

      Since I launched expat+HAREM, the global niche six months ago, I’ve been listing it with blog aggregators and other directories. Very few categories seem appropriate for the cultural and identity exploration scope of the site, and those that overlap its content and audience seem too limited to be correct.

      I would like to say yes to all of these: expatriate // lifestyle // travel // culture // subculture // global citizen // globalism // global living // multiculturalism // contemporary society // entertainment // cultural psychology

      Yet in many directories culture drifts very quickly into museums, festivals and food, while multicultural seems the purview of ethnicity alone. At one directory existing subcultures we can choose from include skateboarders, nudists, Burning Man (which all sound like the same thing to me, ha ha).

      At DMOZ, the open directory project (“the largest and most comprehensive human-edited directory on the web”) for lifestyle choices, Luddism and ‘car-free’ are some options. There’s urban living but not global living. There are regional subcategories but not a global one, nor a transnational one. Maybe we’re Society: Future: Utopias? Society: Lifestyle choices: Intentional communities? But who’s looking there?

      Perusing further, I’m attracted to the suggestion of Society: Issues: Micronations but when I check it out, I see a related category is Games: Roleplaying: World building: Created Worlds … and other “geofictional” places. Are we at expat+HAREM geofictional? Geoagnostic may be more like it — and more like our idea of psychic location independence.

      Society: Issues: Micronations: Dispersed Territory also sounded intriguing, if far-flung. But it sure was a dead corner of the Internet with only two lifeless sites listed.

      Yeesh! This reminds me of the days of webforms when you had to choose your profession from a drop-down menu that never listed the industry I worked in*, nor the type of work I considered myself doing. Still happens, but at least the concept of career has become more flexible, and more realistic.

      *”Automotive” was always on the list — wonder if it shows up as often now.

      • http://www.Sezin.org Sezin

        I think you can also add Cross Cultural Studies, Intercultural Studies, Transcultural Studies, even Cultural Anthropology, Sociology, and Nomadology would apply to the expat+HAREM global niche.

        You have done something really amazing with the expat+HAREM space as well as coming up with a term that has so many levels of meanings, is still nuanced AND is able to fit the experiences of so many different people globally. Congratulations, Anastasia. People are going to write books about you one day. :-)

      • http://www.expatharem.com/identity-messages/ Anastasia

        Actually, if ‘automotive’ means self-powered, maybe it’s one professional (and personal) description we can all select!

  • Silvana Vukadin-Hoitt

    Sezin says pretty much resonates with my thoughts and feelings re: global niche post. As a TCK/A I am always trying to figure out my wild streak in the conventional. expat+Harem and women affiliated with the online community it fosters so very often gives me the tools and the words to define my ideas better. Thank you for the post.
    PS- Anastasia, I love the words ‘Inside the Third Tribe’ Just beautiful! SVH

    • Anastasia

      Thanks for your comments Silvana. I’m not Third Culture but I find so many commonalities with people who are, and that includes the phenomenon you mention: “trying to figure out my wild streak in the conventional.”

      By the way, I can’t take credit for “Inside the Third Tribe” since that’s an educational community created by a group of Internet marketing people. I am a member, and an affiliate. They believe there’s a middle ground between the hard-sell marketers you find online and the touchy-feely social media type who sneers at the idea of making money from relationships. That’s what they mean by Third Tribe, a philosophy where you can be personal and transparent *and* effective in a business sense too. Much to learn from them!

  • http://www.giuliettathemuse.com/blog Giulietta

    Hi Anastasia!

    The SEO guru might not be a global nonconformist!

    I totally agree that we are born global citizens. Great definition. Once we re-recognize that perhaps we can start working toward creating a world that works for all of us. I know it can be done. This site is a great place to start the “wave.”

    Giulietta
    .-= Giulietta’s latest blog ..Is childhood an endangered species? =-.

    • http://www.expatharem.com/identity-messages/ Anastasia

      Hi Giulietta, always nice to see your smiling face. Also, interest piqued by your latest blog post, will visit in a second.

      The SEO may be conformist, but that’s the secret of his work! To know and address how search works, and what kind of information the majority of people online require to understand — and act. Then, the aim is to build the bridge between new terms and the old ones. He said he faced the problem of connecting with his target audience 15 years ago doing some web marketing work for Microsoft because “nobody knew any web terms back then”.

      Bridging convention and the avant garde….let me tell you, this expat+HAREM nonconformist is grateful! Especially as you say Giulietta, if we’re going to start a wave of awareness about the global citizenship we share.

      If intrigued, check him out here: his name is Craig Fifield. (Oh, and related to Silvana’s comment, I met him on Third Tribe where he kindly answered everyone’s questions.)

  • http://www.giuliettathemuse.com/blog Giulietta

    Hi Anastasia!

    The SEO guru might not be a global nonconformist!

    I totally agree that we are born global citizens. Great definition. Once we re-recognize that perhaps we can start working toward creating a world that works for all of us. I know it can be done. This site is a great place to start the “wave.”

    Giulietta
    .-= Giulietta’s latest blog ..Is childhood an endangered species? =-.

    • Anastasia

      Hi Giulietta, always nice to see your smiling face. Also, interest piqued by your latest blog post, will visit in a second.

      The SEO may be conformist, but that’s the secret of his work! To know and address how search works, and what kind of information the majority of people online require to understand — and act. Then, the aim is to build the bridge between new terms and the old ones. He said he faced the problem of connecting with his target audience 15 years ago doing some web marketing work for Microsoft because “nobody knew any web terms back then”.

      Bridging convention and the avant garde….let me tell you, this expat+HAREM nonconformist is grateful! Especially as you say Giulietta, if we’re going to start a wave of awareness about the global citizenship we share.

      If intrigued, check him out here: his name is Craig Fifield. (Oh, and related to Silvana’s comment, I met him on Third Tribe where he kindly answered everyone’s questions.)

  • Silvana Vukadin-Hoitt

    Sezin says pretty much resonates with my thoughts and feelings re: global niche post. As a TCK/A I am always trying to figure out my wild streak in the conventional. expat+Harem and women affiliated with the online community it fosters so very often gives me the tools and the words to define my ideas better. Thank you for the post.
    PS- Anastasia, I love the words ‘Inside the Third Tribe’ Just beautiful! SVH

    • http://www.expatharem.com/identity-messages/ Anastasia

      Thanks for your comments Silvana. I’m not Third Culture but I find so many commonalities with people who are, and that includes the phenomenon you mention: “trying to figure out my wild streak in the conventional.”

      By the way, I can’t take credit for “Inside the Third Tribe” since that’s an educational community created by a group of Internet marketing people. I am a member, and an affiliate. They believe there’s a middle ground between the hard-sell marketers you find online and the touchy-feely social media type who sneers at the idea of making money from relationships. That’s what they mean by Third Tribe, a philosophy where you can be personal and transparent *and* effective in a business sense too. Much to learn from them!

  • http://www.Sezin.org Sezin

    The salamander imagery as well as the concrete buckling in on itself metaphor from the extended blog resonates with me and how I’ve been interpreting this idea of a global niche. More than ever I beleive the world is becoming a place where we make our own corner in our own way, and one that intersects with other people’s spaces, some of which physically may be nowhere near us but psychically are very similar.

    This is such an important moment to define the global niche, with the upcoming World Cup Football, that always seems to inspire violent nationalism instead of collaboration.

    Thank you so much for expounding on this theme, Anastasia. Now there’s a place I can send people to read more when they ask me what the heck I’m talking about. :-)

    • Anastasia

      Thanks Sezin, I’m honored you’ll send people here to find out what *you’re* talking about!

      You’re right competition is a hard place to foster camaraderie. Maybe the World Cup needs a little injection of the Olympian ideal?

  • http://www.Sezin.org Sezin

    The salamander imagery as well as the concrete buckling in on itself metaphor from the extended blog resonates with me and how I’ve been interpreting this idea of a global niche. More than ever I beleive the world is becoming a place where we make our own corner in our own way, and one that intersects with other people’s spaces, some of which physically may be nowhere near us but psychically are very similar.

    This is such an important moment to define the global niche, with the upcoming World Cup Football, that always seems to inspire violent nationalism instead of collaboration.

    Thank you so much for expounding on this theme, Anastasia. Now there’s a place I can send people to read more when they ask me what the heck I’m talking about. :-)

    • http://www.expatharem.com/identity-messages/ Anastasia

      Thanks Sezin, I’m honored you’ll send people here to find out what *you’re* talking about!

      You’re right competition is a hard place to foster camaraderie. Maybe the World Cup needs a little injection of the Olympian ideal?

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