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
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
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
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.
The acclaimed biography of an author whose audacious life and provocative writing pushed the boundaries of acceptability in 20th century Australia.
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
How often have you been told “Never judge a book by its cover”? While there is wisdom in that saying, it tends to mask the vital role that actual book covers play in capturing readers’ interest. My experience with covers of a number of books bears this out. But getting to the final choice has often been a circuitous, rushed and last-minute undertaking, as the following examples show.
When I published my India memoir, THE BOATMAN, in 2014, I received an email from a reader in Australia who enjoyed the book but felt deceived by my choice of title. He was a very talented artist, who had spent many years painting exquisite pictures of the lithesome...