An extra bonus post this week – lighter than usual I hope – before telling you about The Transition Movement later in the week.
A couple of months ago I joined a Spain-wide networking community for the women called appropriately enough – Costa Women. It's a social and business network community both online and off for those of us who live, work or are dreaming of Spain.
As founder Ali Meehan says, friendships for women are very important and to move to another culture and country without having a good support system can be hard so it's good for women to have a site they can dip in and out of to create friendships, garner support and get information, particularly if they are new to an area
Building new relationships is just one of the benefits of joining the site which is hosted on the Ning platform. Another great one is the diversity of all individuals who all have a story to tell and come from around the world in one place – plenty of creative stimulation!
Signing up is free and anyone can become a member, no matter what your hobbies, values, beliefs or views. Specific interest niches are neatly catered for by a group function.
The main focus of Costa Women though is connection. The rest is up to you. For starters you might like to check out the dynamic Facebook Page.
With over 800 members now, I have no idea why Ali chose to feature me but anyway…I was happy to accept the invitation and be put through my paces with a head scratching series of questions which I'm replicating almost verbatim for your amusement below.
Hello Marion, tell us your story of why Spain?
My now very ex-husband was nagged to death by me after we spent a number of wonderful holidays in Turkey pre-tourist invasion back in the late '80s.
He had links with Spain because of his work and I was keen to live in a country with a more temperate climate and less restrictive lifestyle.
In a nutshell I nagged him into submission!
What is your expat experience?
It depends what you mean by expat experience My home base has been in southern Spain since 1996 but I love to travel and have set things up so I can live and work anywhere I choose.
Different cultures fascinate me, the more unusual the better.
When you were a child you wanted to be…
A star! I later found out though that my destiny is far more about inspiring, motivating and empowering – being a catalyst for positive change using creativity and life experiences as a tool.
When did music enter your life?
It's always been there from the moment I was conceived. Somehow I instinctively seem to know music from the early '60s - Mum and Dad's era! - but my passion really lies in a classical base minus the penguin suits and oftentimes stiff form of delivery.
I started playing the recorder around 5, then the piano and later the clarinet at 9. Apparently music runs in the genes. We've traced the family tree on my Mother's side back to the 1300s.
Favourite piece of music for the Clarinet
Can I only have one? Rats! If backed into a corner I would have to say the Mozart Clarinet Concerto. It's technically fairly straightforward but its ethereal quality presents some interesting interpretative challenges.
I made my Concerto debut at 19 with this piece and remember an almost out of the body experience which sparked off my interest in anything esoteric and alternative.
If you could have anyone in your orchestra who would they be and why?
I'd be after real team players rather than divas that's for sure. In my opinion, soloists rarely make good orchestral players as they have to blend.
Orchestral playing also demands you having to toe the conductor's line creatively which is one of the reasons I have no motivation to play in one these days.
I value musicality above technical brilliance and would choose people who would benefit from the opportunity rather than pick aspiring A-listers.
What other projects do you have lurking?
I've always got something on the boil! I'm an ideas person primarily but get a lot of satisfaction from seeing things through to the end, tweaking the trajectory slightly along the way like a rocket going to the moon.
I'm always on the lookout for unusual venues to perform and organisers who are prepared to work with me on a 50/50 basis - the old fee based biz model turned on its head.
Zero 2 Maestro – a project re-launching in the Fall which is designed to provide useful tools and resources for other musicians of all levels – full or part-time – empowering any aspiring freelancer to derive a sustainable living and successful portfolio career.
Location Independent - the platform for my book and int. tax/finances which are primarily aimed at US modern day nomads.
That said, I have used the same format and processes to successfully deal with people of different nationalities relocating permanently to a number of countries including Spain.
I don't do investment, pensions, life insurance or anything like that but can recommend people worldwide who are properly licensed.
Pet People – A house sitting service that isn't advertised but fits in well with everything else. Have clarinets and laptops, will travel!
What does The Transition Movement mean for you?
The Transition Movement - which is worldwide - has lessons for all of us regardless of background or business interests.
It offers an alternative way of thinking, living and working without the current total reliance on societal norms, Governments and global economic systems.
At its heart there's that same mantra that runs through everything I get involved in: collaboration, connection and community - something which is still sadly lacking in the biz world although rapidly gaining traction by the day.
Yes - it does attract New Agers but there's an awful lot of us that would describe ourselves as normal – lol! That said, I do enjoy performing gigs in bare feet and ethnic clothing for the comfort factor more than anything else!
How can others get involved?
Find your nearest group on-line and go along. The local Coin tribe is mainly Spanish but many are multi-lingual.
If you're stuck, you can always get in touch with me and I'll point you in the right direction.
And also you have posted about 1K in 1 Day - tell us more
This isn't my project - it belongs to Lea Woodward who taught me most of what I know about building businesses online. I recently wrote a blog post about the event on my Costa Women Page where you can find out more.
Discounted group membership to Start-Up Training School is also on offer if I can gather together 3+ people who are interested.
In 10 words what could be done to effect social change?
Think collaboration not competition, connection not individualism, community not self.
More about Marion, favourite birthday so far and why
Sorry to be boring but I've haven't celebrated my birthday really since I was about 5 although I do believe there's a looming 1/2 century coming up in November for somebody *ahem*.
A book that changed your life, or thinking
It's not a panacea or complete answer by any means but a good starting point: The Secret by Rhonda Byrnes.
I honestly believe that until you can answer the question what is my purpose you'll be unable to find real happiness.
We all need a certain amount of it but accumulating money and possessions simply doesn't cut it in terms of satisfaction and fulfilment.
I rather live modestly and be happy than continually chasing money and/or be stressed about debt.
What simple activity consistently makes you happier?
Lots of things! Here are a few:
- Just sitting and being alone especially next to water or the ocean with my mind completely empty
- Making people laugh - I can almost always see the funny side of life
- Inspiring and motivating people to take action and then watching how they develop and grow, taking control of their own life/career
- Good home cooked food, a decent bottle of wine, intelligent debate and a lots of laughter with the Spousette and a few close friends
Favourite quote or piece of advice
Life is too short to stuff a mushroom - Shirley Conrad