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Interview with Jamie Baywood, author of Getting Rooted In New Zealand


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My life has been so strange it sounds like fiction, but it is really too weird to be made up.

Getting Rooted in New Zealand is based on my real life experiences living in New Zealand 2010-2011.  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. 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.

So this is non-fiction?
Getting Rooted in New Zealand is a funny travel memoir.

What kind of readers will it appeal to?
It will appeal to readers that have a good sense of humor, enjoy peering into someone else’s world and have a spirit for adventure.

I’ve been told by readers that Getting Rooted in New Zealand is making people laugh out loud.

Tell us a bit about it.
Growing up in California, it was always my dream to live abroad. 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. 

I had bad dating experiences in California and read in a New Zealand tour book that the country’s population at 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.

And did it turn out to be?
In New Zealand, I had a lot of culture shock. 

Oh, how?
One of the most memorable moments was learning the meaning of the Kiwi slang word “rooted.” 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’. He was choking on his toothbrush and asked me if I knew what that meant because it had a completely different meaning New Zealand than it does in the States.

It does? I guess we’ll have to read the book to find out how.
Reviewers have said your book reads like fiction. What book might they have in mind?
Bridget Jones Diary.

You don’t live in New Zealand now, do you? So should we be looking forward to any other travel books?
Next year I will publish Getting Rooted in Scotland.

Oh wow.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am originally from a small town in northern California. I’ve been living abroad for over three years. Before New Zealand, I stayed in American Samoa rehousing artifacts at a museum. While in New Zealand I created an art collective managing a group of artists. I also became a writer in New Zealand, writing and performing a monologue in a play for director Thomas Sainbury. After New Zealand I lived in Scotland for about a year. I am now living in England until 2014. I am not sure where I will live next.

We’re betting there’ll be a Getting Rooted book about England in the future.
My next book will be about traveling through the South Island of New Zealand, Australia, and California and attempting to settle down in Scotland.  I plan to divide my books by the countries I’ve lived in.

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  1. This sounds like a fun read. It’s always entertaining to read about how others see us … Robbie Burns said it in a nutshell …. The greatest gift that God could gie us…is to see ourselves as other see us…

  2. Jamie Baywood

    Thank you very much!

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