I discovered independent travel when I ran away from home – stark naked – aged five. At the age of ten I flew on my own to Tehran (six years later, the family that hosted me were driven out of Iran by Islamic fundamentalists).
My father was a roadie for Jethro Tull, novelist, film critic and truck driver. He set up Canongate Publishing in Edinburgh with my mother, who discouraged me from getting into journalism or publishing (“get a proper job” she said). I grew up in the Scottish countryside with three brothers, two dogs, lots of chickens, a sense of freedom and a hatred for school.
After graduating from Liverpool University I attempted to hitch hike to Shanghai where I intended to get a job as an English teacher. I never made it to Shanghai as I went through Tibet, fell in love, learned the language and decided to settle there. After witnessing a violent clash between Tibetan monks and Chinese police I was expelled from the People’s Republic.
Back in Scotland I wrote about my experiences (9 Months in Tibet) and taught myself journalism. I wrote about the Soviet Union, China, the Romanian revolution, the Bosnian war as well as issues like Roma/gypsies and inter-country adoption. I currently write for the Huffington Post and have published in Time Magazine, the Economist, Guardian and Scotsman.
Following the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe I renovated orphanages, ran a big EU project for Romania’s gypsy minority, worked for aid agencies in Bosnia and Kosovo and taught myself how to be a project manager and PR consultant. I published two books on NATO’s peacekeeping mission in Bosnia.
I have two kids and am currently based in Liverpool where I run a PR agency called Untold Stories. I plan to cycle round the world after my kids have left the coop and I practice every year on my Moulton touring bike. Nothing motivates me more than enabling people to overcome their fears and doubts about travelling independently. I get the same sense of satisfaction from my work — advising companies to communicate better.
I define independent travel as travelling alone, for long periods, with an open mind, a sense of trust and a thirst for discovering some of the mysteries in this world.
Rupert Wolfe Murray
I’d like to hear from you: get in contact