In the heart of Palma, close to the Es Baluard museum of modern art and Santa Catalina there is an open space with trees and benches surrounded by beautiful old buildings. Anne Scott lives in one of them.
A narrow staircase connects the floors. It is all stone flooring, dark wood furniture, wooden beams and balconies looking out onto the warm stone walls of the church. It is classic vintage Spain.
– It’s not a space for those who love to cook, she says with a laugh as she enters one of the tiny kitchens. But it is the perfect place to just ‘be’.
Anne is the founder and global community manager of Girl Gone International, a worldwide online and offline community and magazine for “the new generation of women living, working, loving, studying and travelling abroad”.
No traditional life
But living in Mallorca and dedicating her life to a non profit organization was not at all what Anne had planned from the beginning.
– In 2003 I was set to go to London having studied in international economics and languages. I was supposed to go down the corporate route and work for one of the Big 5. But something just felt wrong. I couldn’t see myself spending my days in a basement office.
– Every single fibre in my body screamed ”no”.
So she turned her back on the traditional life she had been primed for and instead got a job working in an Irish pub in Palma and started her new life – whatever that would be.
– People thought I was running away, but actually I was running towards my true self.
Working from anywhere
In every room the decor hints about a girl who loves freedom, travel and simple living. Maps on the wall, globes on side boards and vintage suitcases on the floor.
– My life is about connecting people all over the world. About encouraging, supporting and empowering women of any age to live life however they want to, wherever they want to, Anne says.
But the journey started with her own. She lived in Mallorca until 2007. By then she had left her beer pulling days behind her and focused on the travel industry. Her experience and reputation grew, which gave her the opportunity to start her own business.
Anne realized that she could create her own work, take it with her and live anywhere. She decided to become a digital nomad.
Over the next ten years, she lived in ten different cities. Love and opportunity took her across the world. She thrived on it, but also felt somewhat lonely starting over. Again and again.
– The highs are so high, but the lows are the lowest. When you are on your own, you are overwhelmed, you feel isolated. The lack of belonging can be devastating.
A Girl Gone International
When she got to Hamburg, her tenth city in ten years, she felt she needed to find a faster way to feel at home.
– I was exhausted from starting over repeatedly. Knowing no one. I knew I would settle so much faster if I had friends. But how could I find people like me? I knew from experience that it took a painfully long time.
It was the beginning of the social media era and Anne created the Girl gone international community online. 5 years later there are over 120000 active members across the world, and over 100 local communities with 1000s of events every year.
From friends to career
What started as a way to simply make friends evolved into uniting women and ultimately became a career. Like an unintended internship she learned about networking, branding and marketing in the best hands on way possible.
– I learn so much from managing GGI; about people, digital publishing, bringing cultures together, running a volunteer organisation, building a global network… But I never stop learning.
Today Anne also has her own agency and specializes in consulting in branding, social media and marketing strategy and community building. Although it operates out of the U.K. she can split her time between the U.K. Amsterdam and her travels. And of course…Mallorca.
Back to her happy place
Because when life took a turn back in 2013 she again felt lost and had to think about where to go next.
– I started thinking. “Where was the last place I really felt home? Where does my mind wander to when I am having a hard time? Where did I feel really happy just ‘being’?”
There was only one obvious answer. Mallorca.
– I think I always planned to come back here. The second I left, I knew I would return to live in the light and the energy of this island. While I loved the other cities I lived in, none can compare to Palma.
A home in Mallorca
So she returned to the island with only two suitcases, a well used laptop and a very low budget. Thanks to the kindness of a travel loving Mallorcan woman, she was given the keys to an unkempt space for rent.
– It was cheap and old, but I fell in love with it immediately. I at once felt safe and relaxed here. I love the authenticity and quirkiness – for example one of the shoebox sized kitchens even has a toilet in it separated by a glass door!
– You can feel the stories and the ”ghosts” of former lives lived between these walls, Anne says. And there is a certain charm in the wooden beams and crooked tile floors. You really feel like you are in Spain. And I want to feel that I am in Mallorca.
Text: Maria Strömqvist
Photos: Ida Carlsson
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