Friday, January 3, 2014

Interview with Jamie Baywood

Hello! Today I have an interview with Jamie Baywood, a twenty-something writer
who made the impulsive decision to move to New Zealand to avoid dating. 
Getting Rooted in New Zealand book description:

Craving change and lacking logic, at 26, Jamie, a cute and quirky Californian, impulsively moves to New Zealand to avoid dating after reading that the country's population has 100,000 fewer men. In her journal, she captures a hysterically honest look at herself, her past and her new wonderfully weird world filled with curious characters and slapstick situations in unbelievably bizarre jobs. It takes a zany jaunt to the end of the Earth and a serendipitous meeting with a fellow traveler before Jamie learns what it really means to get rooted.

About the author Jamie Baywood:

Jamie Baywood grew up in Petaluma, California. In 2010, she made the most impulsive decision of her life by moving to New Zealand. Getting Rooted in New Zealand is her first book about her experiences living there. Jamie is now married and living happily ever after in the United Kingdom. She is working on her second book.


I love that you moved to New Zealand to avoid dating! You chose New Zealand because the country’s population has 100,000 fewer men, but were there any other reasons you chose New Zealand?

I know it sounds like a crazy reason, but I need a serious change in my life and felt I needed to leave the country to do so. By the age of twenty-six, I was actually much happier being alone than dating, but I was completely bombarded by guys trying to date me. I read in a New Zealand tour book that the country’s population has 100,000 fewer men than women.  I wanted to have some me time and an adventure. New Zealand seemed like a good place to do so.

I found a work abroad company that helped young Americans get work visas in New Zealand and Australia. I had been watching a lot of Flight of the Conchords at the time and enjoyed Bret and Jemaine’s sense of humor and accents. 

It was shockingly easy to relocate to New Zealand literally a few weeks after I made the decision. It only took a couple of weeks for my work visa to go through. I was 26, single, I quit my job, I moved out of a little cottage I was renting and put the few things I had at my mom’s house and brought a suitcase with me to New Zealand.

If things aren’t working out for you at home with relationships, instead of staying at home crying that you’re single, consider yourself free. You are free to do whatever you want. 

What were the biggest differences between California life and life in New Zealand? Anything that was surprisingly the same?

Whenever I go back to California, I am always shocked by how busy, crowded and loud it is. Everyone is rushing around, there is so much traffic, and it just feels chaotic all the time.  I was amazed with how quiet and unpopulated Auckland felt. People in Auckland would complain about traffic and I would laugh.

California and New Zealand are roughly the same size. It wasn’t until I went to New Zealand that I understood how enormous America is.

New Zealand feels so safe. In California, I would carry pepper spray with me everywhere I went. I was always on edge living in California. It was amazing to me that in New Zealand the police didn’t have guns.  I felt much safer as a single female traveling alone in New Zealand than living in California.

The flip side of the feeling of being sheltered from the world in New Zealand was I felt isolated. There was a palpable feeling of being at the end of the world in New Zealand that at times I found overwhelming.

When I first moved to New Zealand, the sandwich shop Subway had just arrived in the country. I don’t like their sandwiches, but I was surprised they stores smelt the same when you walked by them on the street. Also libraries seem to smell the same in every country. 

What made you want to write about your life and travels?

I consider myself an accidental author. I didn’t go to New Zealand with the intentions of writing a book about my experiences there.  I had funny experiences that I had trouble believing were true. I wrote the stories down to stay sane. I wrote situations down that were happening around me and shared them with friends. 

My education is in fine arts. I had a lot of art shows in California and New Zealand and even managed an art collective in Auckland.  I was bored with the fine art scene. Everything has already been done before in painting, but I am the only person that can tell my own story. Writing feels like a more honest form of art than any other method I’ve tried. While I was in New Zealand I meet a director named Thomas Sainsbury, he asked me what I was doing in New Zealand. My everyday stories made him laugh and he asked me to write a monologue for him. I had never done anything like that before. I was shocked by the adrenaline rush that came with storytelling and making people laugh.  

The stories made people laugh so I decided to organize the stories into a book and publish in the hopes to make others laugh too.

I heard you had a funny experience with the word “rooted.” Is that why you picked Getting Rooted in New Zealand as your title?

My title is another way of laughing at myself. One night I was brushing my teeth with my flatmate and I said, “I'm really excited to live in this house because I have been travelling a lot and I just need to settle down, stop travelling and get rooted.”

I had meant get rooted in the America way to settle down, lay down roots. He started choking on his toothbrush and asked if I was hitting on him. He explained to me what rooting meant in New Zealand.

I decided on Getting Rooted in New Zealand because it’s funny and the book is about rooting – both meanings of the word.

Is there anything you wish someone had told you before publishing your novel?

I wish someone had told me not to worry so much. Publishing my story was easily the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done. I barely slept the first half of the year worrying what people would think of my book. Publishing my book was my way of transforming poison into medicine. I hope that it can help people that have had bad dating experiences or bad work experiences – make them laugh and not give up hope.  I had good, bad and weird experiences in New Zealand and California. My experiences have turned me into a writer and I am extremely grateful for that.

People that read it either seem to think it’s hilarious or horrifying and I respect all points of view.  I hope my book Getting Rooted in New Zealand makes you laugh!

Do you have a favorite book? A favorite author?

May I Ask You Something? by Cyan Corwine.

What did you read recently that you wish you’d gotten to sooner?

A Mighty Heart, a memoir by Mariane Pearl.

You’re currently working on your second book! Is it another humorous memoir? Are you approaching writing differently now that you’ve already published your first book?

Self-publishing is one person taking on all of the responsibilities typically held by teams of people in traditional publishing companies. I wrote, designed and have been marketing my own book. It has been a steep learning curve. I really understand the publishing process now and am less intimidated by everything.  I plan to divide my books by the countries I’ve lived in. My next book will be about attempting to settle in Scotland. I plan to publish it late 2014.

How do you stay inspired? Any tips? 

I constantly make myself notes. This summer in Wales, I would scribble stories on the backs of maps and Google directions as a passenger in the car. I also send myself text messages or emails riding in trains or buses. It might not look like I’m writing a book if one was to observe me, but I am constantly watching, listening and thinking about writing. 

Getting Rooted in New Zealand is available in paperback and ebook on Amazon!

Pin It!


  1. what a cool lady. i think it's a brave decision to move like that! and what an interesting reason why!

  2. She is such an intresting person..
    I am inviting you to join my SammyDress giveaway with 2 winners
    Keep in touch,

  3. Great interview. :) Pretty interesting that she thinks California is really busy and crowded. That's how I feel like whenever I'm in Europe and when I go back to the States, I go like "ok, now I can relax." lol :) xxx

  4. Made me want to read it... I think I´m going over to Amazon now :)
    My blog changed address... please update (It´s on blogloving already):

  5. amazing stuff, her life & book sounds appealing and I feel I have already felt I could relate to the writer. thanks for the great interview & sharing!

    Katrina Sophia Blog

  6. This is such a great interview, Sara - it definitely made me intrigued to read the book! I definitely agree that if you're young and unencumbered, there's no reason not to up and move halfway around the world... but the idea of choosing a country to avoid men is pretty hilarious!

  7. Thanks a lot for the interesting interview, dear Sara! Now I´m really impressed by Jamie´s courage and cleverness. And I´m honestly thinking about to read the book :)

    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

  8. That's awesome that you got to interview Jamie! That's crazy she just picked up and moved around the world!

  9. Love this interview! So awesome that she decided to move to New Zealand to avoid dating, hahahha. Would love to read the book!

  10. So crazy! Sometimes I think it would be so fun to pack a suitcase and up and move to London, but then I would end up living in a cardboard box across the pond haha!

  11. I have the book on my wishlist now too!

  12. Thank you, Cee! I think it would be amazing to move to London, but I'm the kind of person that needs a plan, so the idea terrifies me! I've thought of taking a long vacation there though, which I think would be amazing!

  13. Thanks, Aline! I'm glad you want to read it!

  14. Thanks so much! Glad you liked the interview!


Hello, beautiful! Thanks for leaving a comment!
Have a lovely day!
~Sara ♥

Pin It button on image hover