By John Burbidge

More Than Halfway to Somewhere

Collected Gems of a World Traveler

Join John as he finagles a press pass to an international cricket match in Jamaica, narrowly escapes being chased by a wild pig in a Central American rain forest, and makes the sand sing while dancing in Egypt’s Western Desert. As you do, you will engage with characters so compelling that you’ll swear you’ve met them too.

Independent Book Reviews

These terrific tales of travel from around the globe find Australian-born, US-based writer John Burbidge swapping Perth, WA for Chicago, hitch-hiking in Africa, praying to Lord Ganesh on the way to Rajapur, derailed while crossing the Nullabor and being pursued by a wild pig in a Central American rainforest.

— Will Yeoman, The West Australian

Already winning accolades for Best Travel Writing at this year’s Solas Awards for his wonderfully funny and engaging King of the Road chapter, Burbidge has crafted one of my favourite books to date on the subject of travel.

— Terry Larder, Out in Perth

More Than Halfway to Somewhere is a fascinating glimpse into the kind of travel I’ve never done. While The Spouse and I are flexible and adaptable independent travellers, we plan our itineraries meticulously. We know in advance where we’re going, where we’re staying, what museums and galleries we’ll visit and sometimes even which restaurants we want to go to. But John Burbidge’s travels have been much more adventurous and infinitely more serendipitous.

— Lisa Hill, ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

A lovely travel memoir that is amusing, well written, as well as professionally designed, organized and formatted. The stories create a great overall sense of the author’s ability and desire to learn about other places. It emphasizes commonalities among diverse cultures and similarities found between people, despite vast differences in daily life. A wonderful exploration of cultures, with writing that makes readers feel like they have traveled along too. Would be great to see more writing from this author.

—Judge, 29th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards

excerpt: dancing on the dunes

On our second day in the desert, after a quiet lunch in the shady palms of Ain el Ris (Spring of the Source), our convoy headed up the escarpment that marks the southern boundary of Bahariya Oasis. Although dunes cover 40 per cent of the Western Desert, they are not dominant in this oasis. This was our first encounter with these deceptively picturesque but potentially destructive desert landforms.

Of the four vehicles, the one I was in was the Cinderella of the group. Since it lacked a radiator cap, we had to stop frequently to let it cool and refill with water, which it consumed in endless quantities. On this occasion, the other three vehicles had reached the top of the dune and were watching us flail away in the sand. I couldn’t tell whether their intermittent cheers were urging us on or lording it over us. Mahmoud, our driver, would thrust the gears into four-wheel drive, stomp on the accelerator, and let it fly. In Sisyphean style, we would make it almost to the top of the dune, peter out, and roll back down, only to have to repeat it.

At our fourth attempt we made it. Without hesitating Reda grabbed his drum and Mohammed his flute and goaded this motley group of sunburned foreigners into action. “Dance? Did you say dance?” It was Zorba the Greek, Egyptian-style. It was time to rehearse that great Islamic expression, insha’ allah — if God wills it. Clearly, Allah was willing a little celebration.

Reda, the desert guide

Praise for
More Than Halfway to Somewhere

More Than Halfway to Somewhere is a captivating a blend of memoir, history, geography and human connections that whisks you away from the predictable toward rich encounters with the other.
   — Leah Early, USA

This is not a travel book. It’s an encounter with life at its depths, lived with an open heart and mind and great sensitivity.
   — Robyn Hutchinson, Australia

Allow Burbidge to lead you on this whistle-stop world tour rich with exotic locations, colorful characters and extraordinary adventures. These gems are mined from a life lived as journey and sparkling with compassion and humor. 
   — Martin Gilbraith, UK

Not only has John gleaned meaning from his encounters with danger and uncertainty, he has appreciated the people he’s met and brought them vividly to life.
   — Sandy Conant Strachan, Costa Rica

In these from-the-heart reminiscences of encounters with ordinary people John draws us in as he breathes life into their souls and celebrates the triumph of the human spirit.   
   — Melvin Dedoncker, India


Other Books

Beyond Prince and Merchant

A seminal publication on the concept of civil society and its rise as a pivotal force for social change in today’s global society.

Dare Me!

The acclaimed biography of an author whose audacious life and provocative writing pushed the boundaries of acceptability in 20th century Australia.

Please Forward:
The Life of Liza Tod

An extraordinary woman whose peripatetic life went from being a memsahib in British India to a celebrated fundraiser for an international NGO. 


At the end of our lives,
all we will have left behind are our stories.

– Brad newsham, a sense of place

My Writing Blog

Musings from a Writer’s Life

Confession: I’m a Westwallah!

Confession: I’m a Westwallah!

During six years in India I grew accustomed to hearing the word ‘wallah’, whether it be a chai wallah, rickshaw wallah, or one of dozens of other trades, specialties or locations that wallah denotes. It was one of those Indian words that had seamlessly slipped into English and everyone understood it.

When I embarked on writing and publishing some years ago and was searching for a suitable name for my business, Wordswallah immediately came to mind. I was delighted when my graphic designer created a logo that not only captured the word beautifully but linked it stylistically to its Indian origins.

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Becoming My Own Publisher

Becoming My Own Publisher

After having had six books published in four countries, I decided to try self-publishing my latest book, MORE THAN HALFWAY TO SOMEWHERE. This decision was driven by comments from a previous publisher and a writer friend who both deemed my collection of travel stories ‘not commercially viable’. But I also had a desire to experiment with this way of reaching readers, in which I would have control over the entire process, from writing and editing to designing, printing and distributing my book. Or so I thought.

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