This month's pick is Jamie Baywood, author of Getting Rooted in New Zealand. I know that non-fiction books isn't really my thing, but this one sounded quite funny and entertaining! :)
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.
Where can you find the book: (affiliate link)
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.
1) Hi Jamie! I am really happy to have you on the blog today! How are you doing? :)
Great, thank you very much for having me.
2) I have to say that I don’t read much non-fiction, but your novel sounded really interesting. How did you get the idea to suddendly move to New Zeland?
I’m from California. In my mid-twenties, I had bad dating experiences in California and a dream to live abroad. I read in a tour book that New Zealand’s population had 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.
While living in New Zealand, 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. Most of the book was written as the events happened; it just took me a few years to work up the nerve to publish. Publishing my book Getting Rooted in
New Zealand 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.
3) I am pretty sure it was a tough situation. What was the biggest cultural difference you found?
I didn’t think it would be so difficult to understand the New Zealand accent. They used British terms, but have Kiwi slang on top of that. It took me a few months to understand what people were saying and at times people had trouble understanding me.
I might not have understood people intially, but I landed on my feet quickly. 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.
4) If you had the chance to do this again, would you?
Absolutely. Moving to New Zealand was the best decision I ever made. I’ve been living in the UK for the past couple of years and seriously considering moving back to New Zealand in 2014.
New Zealand is such a beautiful country. Beaches, mountains, glaciers, lakes, forests, islands, New Zealand’s got it all. It has such freshness about it, like the islands just emerged from the sea. It feels like anything is possible in New Zealand. I also loved the quality of light in New Zealand. It was like looking through a polarized lenses, but more intense. Everything is so colourful and vibrant. I really feel travel is the best teacher. I didn’t know a soul in New Zealand before I went there. Within two weeks of my plane landing in New Zealand, I found a place to live and a job. I don’t know anywhere else in the world you can do that. I’ve been living abroad since 2010. It’s made me resilient, self-reliant, fearless and adaptable. I’ve really learned to trust my instincts and believe in myself.
5) What was the main reason that led you to choose to be a self-published author?
Last year, we found out we had to move to England from Scotland. Rather than being displaced to a country I didn’t want to move to, I decided to be displaced with the goal of publishing. I’ve just completed a MA in Design. Designing, publishing and marketing my book was my dissertation project. Self-publishing was the fastest way to publish within the very limited time scale I had.
Self-publishing is one person taking on all of the responsibilities typically held by teams of people in traditional publishing companies. It has been a steep learning curve.
6) Is there any other novel you are working on at the moment?
I’ve been living abroad for over three years. I lived in five countries; America, American Samoa, New Zealand, Scotland and now England. 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 move again internationally in 2014, I’m not sure where yet.