An English-born copywriter and journalist has freelanced his way across the world. Recently married with a baby on the way, 31-year-old Oliver Gaywood has decided to officially make Newcastle his Roost.
He’s a writer, or at least he likes to call himself one according to his Twitter account. Then again, if you were to follow his Instagram account you’d believe the man did nothing else besides gaze into half drunk cups of tea. Though he may not take himself too seriously on social media, the man is serious about writing.
“I like it because there’s variety,” Oliver says of writing. “I have a travel client I love writing for, and I also have finance companies. Each day I write and learn about different things.”
In his decade long career as a writer, he’s written in many styles and for many different businesses. From social media management to journalism to content marketing to web copy, there’s not much Oliver can’t do.
His arrival to Newcastle comes with plenty of plot twists.
Originally from the UK, Oliver and his family moved to the Netherlands when he was three. Then when he was seven they moved to the north of Scotland to a town called Fochabers, a village of about 1500 people.
“Newcastle seems like quite a big place to live in comparison,” Oliver says of Fochabers.
He did his schooling in Fochabers and then went to the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen where he received his BA in Publishing with Journalism. Next he got a job working as an online editor for the local TV station where he looked after the north of Scotland news. After his year-long contract finished he took the first job he could get “with the word ‘media’ in the title,” at an SEO agency in Edinburgh in 2008.
After two years of creating keywords, he got a bit bored and decided to hit the road.
He got a working holiday visa for Australia and went to Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth to watch different cricket games. Then on to New Zealand, India, Thailand and back to Australia again.
“I was nine months through and hadn’t done any work so I thought I should probably do some,” Oliver says.
While in Darwin he got a message on his LinkedIn from a recruiter in Sydney, so he decided to head south. He ended up working as online editor for what was then the newly formed content marketing agency King Content. It’s now an international company, but when Oliver began he was just the fifth employee. Oliver’s job was creating blog posts for small businesses across Australia. King Content decided to sponsor Oliver and keep him around.
Coincidentally, Oliver had his first date with his future wife, Shana the same day he had an interview with King Content. Oliver stayed in Sydney for two years and then he and Shana decided it was time for another adventure.
“We saved quite a bit by being frugal. We had a five minute conversation about putting a deposit down on a house somewhere, but we thought that would be rubbish, so instead we went travelling,” he says.
This time, with Shana in tow, Oliver cruised through tropical islands, went down the west coast of America and also the Dominican Republic. They went back to the UK, then Poland, Cyprus and then the Mediterranean. They did 11 months in South East Asia, and then eventually returned to Australia. Shana got home before Oliver due to some interesting dramas with Oliver’s visa and three full days living in a Kuala Lumpur airport.
This time when he arrived back in Australia, it was on a tourist visa. As he and Shana waited for approval for him to live and work in the lucky country, the two spent some time in Canada and Mexico.
During all his travels, Oliver was freelancing for Sydney agencies, which helped him with finances and kept him from getting too rusty as a wordsmith.
With time, patience and a good sense of humour, Oliver is now able to legally live and work in Australia. The two decided to settle down in Newcastle, close to Shana’s family. Oliver continues to freelance in Newcastle since his arrival three years ago.
After several months working from home, Oliver took advice from a friend and fellow writer (me) and decided to head to the Roost.
“I often found it hard to be motivated to work, it was a lonely place (especially for someone new to Newcastle),” Oliver says. “Some days were bed — desk — couch — bed and that was it.”
After freelancing from hotel rooms and hostel kitchens across the globe, Oliver initially thought he could work from anywhere with an internet connection. Coming to the Roost has changed his perception of this.
“Since starting here, I feel like I’ve become more productive and, strangely, more accountable.I remember coming into work one day and worrying that I was going to be late, but then thinking ‘late for who?’” Oliver says.
He loves the people he’s met at the Roost and notes it’s great for networking, collaboration and referrals. He’s recently started doing work for another Rooster which has been beneficial for both of them.
“I’m constantly amazed by the high quality of work coming out of the Roost. There are some hugely talented and creative people in here, and whether they’re working with spreadsheets, cameras or pencils, there’s always someone doing something noteworthy or inspiring,” he says.
We’d like to extend our warmest welcome to Oliver; we’re so glad we’re his cup of tea!
Visit his website at civicwebmedia.com.au.