My first piece for the Glimpse Correspondent’s Program is up on Matador, called “How to move to Kyrgyzstan and start a business.”
I will let you know now that there is not a speck of useful advice for doing either one of those two things.
This was a tough piece to write. Firstly, because I’m not the most confident writer to begin with, so the process of writing 6,000+ words was daunting and involved many fits of anxiety on my part.
Secondly, I realized halfway through the process of writing this piece that I had reached a recognizable stage of no longer wanting to rehash the (sometimes embarrassing) details of what it took for two bumbling Americans with no prior knowledge of Kyrgyzstan to attempt to set up a company here. I no longer wanted to admit that the original idea we moved here to execute (much more media-focused) essentially did not succeed, but instead we sort of stumbled into a more interesting and more successful niche.
But, I guess it can be useful to read about the behind-the-scenes process. As much as I’d like to portray myself as dripping with confidence about my decision to move to Kyrgyzstan to start a company, maybe it’s also important to let people know that sometimes the best life decisions start out with a blank slate rather than carefully laid plans. Move somewhere with little preparation and an open mind, have vague ambitions, meet people, see what works and what doesn’t, keep meeting people, keep doing work until something sticks. Now I’m the Deputy Director of a company that specializes in conducting social research in the extractive industry in Central Asia, which is not at all what I thought I would be doing two years ago.
I hope you enjoy reading the piece and please feel free to give me any constructive feedback on it!