Bibliophile | Perth’s John Burbidge is ‘More Than Halfway to Somewhere’

More Than Halfway To Somewhere:
Collected Gems of a World Traveller
John Burbidge
Wordswallah (Self-published)

Following on from his critically acclaimed works like Dare Me! The Life and Work of Gerald Glaskin and his autobiography The Boatman, Burbidge delves into a travelogue of his world adventures in celebrating his 50th year since boarding a US-bound flight in 1971.

Already winning accolades for Best Travel Writing at this year’s Solas Award 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.

Perth-raised and UWA alumnus, he has lived in five countries and travelled to more than 40.

His lived experiences shine through with his delivery and easy-flowing writing style with plenty of OMG moments – you did what? – to chapters where the humour is so hilarious that one could easily see this being turned into a witty screenplay and movie, particularly the Dancing on the Dunes chapter.

After accepting a position with an international NGO, John’s first flight gave him a thirst for knowledge, culture and adventure that also spanned his 30-year working career. Travel in those days was both arduous and dangerous, but the rewards were all worth the risks, especially for a 21-year-old Perth lad.

From having eye contact in India with Indira Gandhi in a passing 1950s Cadillac, through to the Central American rain forest and being chased by a wild pig, to making the sand sing in Egypt’s Western Desert, to managing to secure a press pass for an international cricket match in Jamaica, his journeys and anecdotes from another time and the other side of globe are highly entertaining.

Burbidge not only has the gift of recollection, but also the literary skills to put the reader in a touch with the many characters he encountered, and in bringing them to life this further enhances the narrative, making this book ‘unputdownable’.

Gone are the days when you could reach into the back of an airline seat and devour the latest travel magazine, but if you want to be thoroughly entertained like I was, then John Burbidge’s More than Halfway to Somewhere: Collected Gems of a World Traveller is the book for you.

John lives with his husband in Washington state, USA.

Terry Larder

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