Flogging books and driving trucks

Having finished university and gone back to Edinburgh, the big challenge was to raise enough cash to get to Shanghai – my target destination. Every job I’d ever done had only paid peanuts; washing dishes, selling books and working on building sites had been useful...

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Overcoming my fear of travel

Although I loved the city of Liverpool I found the university itself really boring. What helped me stick it out was mixing with ordinary people. In my first year I had hung out on a building site – there was too much drinking and fooling around to say that I actually...

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Fear of travel

We lived in a white house on the Firth of Forth, the estuary just north of Edinburgh. It was called Society House and there was a sign at the top of the road which read Private Road to Society. It was so close to the sea that in rough weather waves would crash into...

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5 Reasons to Publish an eBook

There's a ton of material online about how to publish an ebook and I've been rummaging through it for ages. Some of it's quite confusing but if I can understand it, anyone can. I'll publish my first ebook (a fairy tale) soon and that, I'm sure, will be my best...

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My First Day at School

How long can I stand in the burn until my feet go numb? Too long. Better to keep throwing stones into the deep bit. Maybe I'll wake up a fish. I wonder where all this water comes from? Up that hill I suppose. I can hear Daddy shouting my name. What does he want? It's...

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Bizarre Airport Experiences

Bizarre Airport Experiences

I travel a lot by plane even though it's environmentally destructive and increasingly boring. Airports in places like Bucharest or Tirana used to be so different from anything we'd seen in the west – the airport terminal in Tirana, a European capital city, was no...

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The Transylvanian Forest

The taxi wound through Transylvanian forest and dropped me in Brasov. I ducked through slim alleys into an underground restaurant. Over pickles, polenta and goulash, a couple described bears swaggering down streets, sniffing the air and picking any tit bits they...

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The Psychology of Travel

The original name of this blog was “The Psychology of Travel”. But what does this term mean? Is it some weird form of therapy? Am I a shrink? The answer to these questions is NO but I sometimes get mistaken for a therapist as I do freelance PR for rehab clinics. The...

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The train from York

A man in an anorak shuffles down the carriage. He sits heavily as if cut from a rope. A girl looks up, shifts and frowns into her book. He glances at her. His face looks shrunken, as though once bigger. The train picks up speed, sways on the tracks. Stiffly, like a...

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Train Girl

The train is heading south and I stand between carriages. My hand rests on the open window and darkness rushes past. Trees are rigid against the moonlit sky. Smoky clouds are ghost like. A man on the floor gawps into a glowing screen, the blue glare illuminates his...

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Bookclub

The pub was warm and glowing with orange lamps. Big men in suits told stories at the bar, arms gesticulating in front of them. Booming voices erupted from their flushed faces, eyes excited and glazed. They tipped back on their heels and laughed enormously to the...

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Stephanie Wolfe Murray

Stephanie Wolfe Murray

I would like to draw your attention to the of the wee book I recently published about my dear departed Mother – Stephanie Wolfe Murray. Just click on the blue lines above to get a PDF copy of it. I suggest you download it, read it and keep it somewhere safe as it's an...

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Captain Cutler

Captain Cutler by Tom Wigan. The long car crept slowly towards a green shed, wobbling through pot holes in the sandy track. The shed was wide and hunkered down in the ground. Behind, a forest stretched onto a hill. The trees let off a light, floating steam, damp and...

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Eulogy to Stephanie Wolfe Murray

Eulogy to Stephanie Wolfe Murray

This was the first address given at the funeral of Stephanie Wolfe Murray on the 5th of July 2017, at the Old Parish Kirk in Peebles. By Gavin Wolfe Murray. Stephanie, my mother, Mummy, the boss. She meant the world to me and I have been amazed to discover over the...

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Remembering Stephanie Wolfe Murray

Since the loss of our darling Mother I have wanted to write about her, but the feelings are too raw and all I can say right now is that grief is a much more confusing process than I had imagined. I thought it was just sadness and gloom but...

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Tibet and Nepal

Tibet and Nepal

I want to describe my last visit to Nepal, a fascinating little Himalayan country. Thirty years have passed since I was last in Kathmandu. My presence there was both dramatic -- I had been kicked out of Tibet -- but also depressing: I was broke, my dream of living in...

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Memory is an Unreliable Witness

Memory is an Unreliable Witness

I recently met up with Xander Berkeley, a Hollywood actor who played in one of the greatest thrillers of all time – Terminator 2 – which was made in 1991. He has featured in over 200 films and TV shows since then and is currently working on the Walking Dead, one of...

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To My Kickstarter Supporters

To My Kickstarter Supporters

I feel rather guilty that I've not updated my wonderful Kickstarter supporters, from whom I got £600 to do my bike tour of the Highlands, we well as the readers of my blog. My guilty conscience says "you took their money and ran…You didn't deliver on your Kickstarter...

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What was the Soviet Bloc Really Like?

What was the Soviet Bloc Really Like?

Soviet Russia was a very visual place, for all the wrong reasons. The colours were dark and gloomy, the people were listless and misshapen (air hostesses and officials tended to be huge while gymnasts and the poor were stick-thin). These were the images that we were...

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5 Ways to Get Good Deals Abroad

5 Ways to Get Good Deals Abroad

Intro by Rupert Wolfe Murray. One of the purposes of this blog is to encourage people to travel and to write. I'd like to encourage people to write for this blog. I'm always looking for personal stories about travelling, or writing, and in this instance I'd like to...

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Diary of my Scottish Book Tour

Diary of my Scottish Book Tour

Some rather ridiculous impressions from my recent bike/book tour in Scotland...in diary format. The photo above is of the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet, taken in 1987 by my friend Uli Zimmerman. 20 October, Edinburgh Today I will fly to Frankfurt, location of the...

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How Aberdeen Helped me Live in Tibet

How Aberdeen Helped me Live in Tibet

I have just cycled to the Scottish city of Aberdeen. It's sunny and I didn't know it was such an attractive city. Tomorrow at 2pm I will give a talk about my new memoir, 9 Months in Tibet, at a cool bookshop called Books and Beans. I will talk about how Aberdeen was...

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Writing about Tibet Helped me Find my Voice

Writing about Tibet Helped me Find my Voice

It’s bizarre. I’ve written so much about my time in Tibet – I’ve got a book about Tibet coming out next month – and yet I haven’t written an article about it since 1987. If I was a proper writer, a pro, I’d have been churning out articles to a band playing; I’d have...

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I Vote for Immigration

I Vote for Immigration

This started out as an email to my family, who are debating furiously on email about the EU referendum, immigration ... and the Armageddon which will happen tomorrow if the wrong side wins. My big question to all you Brexiteers is this: imagine you are in court and...

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Will You Cast my Vote in the EU Referendum?

Will You Cast my Vote in the EU Referendum?

I’ve screwed up: I’m registered to vote in Liverpool but am going to London on the day of the EU referendum. I know I know, I should have organised a postal vote but I didn’t. The voting card has a provision for people like me. It says something like this: “if you get...

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Liverpool’s Gobi Desert — Part 2

Liverpool’s Gobi Desert — Part 2

Imagine you're a microscopic insect who has crawled through the hole in the middle of an old vinyl record. You look around, get your bearings but all you can see is a vast open space that stretches out to the horizon in all directions. There's nothing in the...

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Liverpool’s Gobi Desert — Part 1

Liverpool’s Gobi Desert — Part 1

Camping is a paradox. On the one hand it's really simple -- you sleep outside -- but on the other hand it's really complicated: before you set off you must check you have a suitable tent (is it waterproof? do you have the poles and pegs?); do you have the right...

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In Defence of Foreign Aid

In Defence of Foreign Aid

A newspaper is like a puzzle. Journalists write material that fits the exact requirement of particular pages – news, sports, health, arts, business. Like every puzzle, the structure of a newspaper is clear and logical when you understand it.  Newspapers are...

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Letter to Asylum Seekers

Letter to Asylum Seekers

Dear Asylum seekers, First of all, welcome to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland – the cumbersome name of my home country, a name that not many of my fellow Brits actually know. We tend to call ourselves English, Scots, Northern Irish or Welsh. I...

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The Amazing Library of Liverpool

The Amazing Library of Liverpool

In my experience libraries are fusty places with fierce ladies telling you to be quiet, or big silent tombs where grim students bury their heads in books for hours on end. Many public libraries in Britain have been closed and others seem to be underfunded, under...

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Can God Help Addicts?

Can God Help Addicts?

I avoid conferences and seminars as they can be so boring but recently I spent two days of my life at the Recovery from Addiction Conference at Chester University and it was really interesting. And I’m not saying this because somebody paid me to be there or write this...

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What’s it Like to Live With a Neurotic?

What’s it Like to Live With a Neurotic?

I am constantly reminded of the Glass Menagerie, a play by Tennessee Williams that I recently saw in Liverpool. The play is about a neurotic mother who lives in the past and makes her daughter’s life a misery. She reminds me of several people I have come across. The...

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I Hate Starbucks but Still Use Them

I Hate Starbucks but Still Use Them

I don’t think I’m alone in hating Starbucks, the American coffee shop that has spread its tentacles all over the world. They haven’t lied like Volkswagen did but they are hypocrites. The annoying thing is that I need Starbucks and if you get to the second half of this...

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Hitching with a Migrant

Hitching with a Migrant

I recently moved from Bucharest to Liverpool. During this transition I spent some time in London, where I got a phone call from a guy called Joel: “I work for BBC Radio 4,” he said, “and I’m making a show about hitching at night. I read your article about hitchhiking...

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The Buzz of Getting Away

The Buzz of Getting Away

When I'm getting a train away from the city I often get a wonderful feeling of liberation. It's as if I’m leaving all my worries behind and heading into a bright new future where things will be different. I think some people have a similar feeling when they vote for a...

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How Much Luggage Should I Take?

If you’re wondering how much luggage to take on your journey you’re asking the wrong question. The fact is you will fill up whatever bag you use for the journey, so the correct question is “What bag should I use?” If you’re thinking “I should make a list of all the...

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Romany Gypsies in Romania & Bulgaria

Romany Gypsies in Romania & Bulgaria

By Eion Gibbs Walking through Holland, Belgium, France, Italy and Slovenia the word gypsy didn't enter my thoughts once. This doesn't mean Traveller communities don't exist there, it's just that they're so far removed from everyone's daily lives that there was no...

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Irish Travellers and Romany Gypsies

Irish Travellers and Romany Gypsies

This article was written by Eion Gibbs, whom I met in Bucharest in April 2015. He was at the tail-end of a great walk across Europe, from the Hook of Holland to Istanbul, a ten-month epic in the footsteps of Patrick Leigh Fermor. After the furore I caused by...

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