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Posts Tagged ‘Manhattan’

Recently LocationIndependentProfessionals.com asked why we want to be location independent. “Whatever you’re looking for you can find where you are.” It’s simply not true.

We can get what we want and need where we are — but not with a local solution. Try a psychic one.

22 by A.AshmanTake this week’s short and balmy trip to Manhattan. I acted as a technology mule, bringing iPads to poor, under-served early adopters here in Istanbul, and reconnected with friends doing work I admire on scales and with methods I aspire to. My peers.

Right up my alley. But I may never live there again. Most of us cannot (always) go somewhere on the ground where all our people and our perfect lifestyle exist. We must find that psychically — our “global niche“.

The meaning and purpose of location independence and digital nomadism is to live and work autonomously. Although it evokes mobility, it’s especially crucial for long term living situations: to find a way to get what you want and need despite the limitations of your location.  Much like the cross-national quandary posed at expat+HAREM — “are you a global citizen by choice, or necessity?” —  out of necessity to live and work to my abilities I aim to be independent of my specific location.

Are you location independent by choice, or necessity? Where and why?

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If you’re over 30 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 like me.

This 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 of motorcycle gangs and transvestite prostitutes.

Meatpacking District party invite circa 1987

Our lifestyle and career struggles seemed par for the course. We didn’t realize birth year alone meant we’d always occupy an entry-level position in our cultural generation.

I post today at expat+HAREM, the global niche about being my very own generation gap, and how the 20-somethings of GenY bring the status quo rebellion I seek.

How about you? Ever felt in synch with a different generation?

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I’d been on the move for a decade when I reviewed Pico Iyer’s Tropical Classical for the Far Eastern Economic Review, Asia’s pioneering newsweekly magazine closed by its owner Dow Jones this week.

…first I’d escaped the radical provincialism of my hometown by shipping off to a ruggedly urbane college; traded suburban Philly rhythms for the pulse of Manhattan; sought relief from the big-city crush by moving to big-sky LA, and finally enticed to boomtown Asia. As one person put it, “taking the geographical cure.”

Iyer’s a travel writer, Third Culture Kid and global nomad, an ethnic Indian raised in California, settled in Japan. He reasoned in his 1997 collection of essays about society, culture and the human spirit that if nowhere in the world is home, all the world is home.

The happy syllogism — or is it rootless predicament? — resonated with me as I jockeyed for a foothold in Asia. I wondered if my acclimation was helped or hindered by a progressive Western upbringing laced by traditional Eastern influences: Kodokan judo instructors, Asian-American summer camps, ‘Asian-cluster’ classrooms. I knew far too much about the East to ignore it for my Western convenience but that didn’t make me Asian.

A decade later PEN American Center’s World Voices festival of international literature asked panelists (Iyer among the writers-in-exile) “How do we define the places we live and how do they define us?”

Where I’ve lived has made the world more accessible but leaves me craving opposing aspects of other places and other mes. New York, California. East, West. Country, cosmopolis. Even though 2009 marks the longest I’ve stayed in one spot for 20 years Istanbul won’t remain my base forever.

How have the places you’ve lived defined you, and shaped your idea of home? Do you feel at home now?

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