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.
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
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At the end of our lives,
all we will have left behind are our stories.
– Brad newsham, a sense of place
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