The Psychology of Travel

The subtitle of this blog is “The Psychology of Travel” and an explanation is needed: 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 did PR around Europe for a Scottish rehab clinic.

The psychology of travel is a means of preparing mentally for independent travel. When you are travelling for up to a year, maybe on your own, you need to prepare psychologically as it’s very different from “normal” travelling — when most of the details are planned in advance and you don’t need to make any internal changes to the way you approach life.

I developed the term in 1984 after getting back from an awesome trip to Thailand and India and suffering what is known as “culture shock”. Thailand had been so exotic and India so amazing that getting back to a grim and freezing homeland (Scotland) was really depressing. Getting home was culture shock. I also wanted to avoid what happened to me after that trip which was become a pub bore on travelling in Asia, and that was why I started writing.

The 3 Phases of Independent Travel

My intention with this blog is to advise people how to prepare psychologically for the three phases of independent travel:

  1. Before – Mentally preparing your journey into the unknown;
  2. During – The attitudes you need when you’re on the road;
  3. After – How to deal with the shock of coming home after a year in somewhere like India.

Each one of these phases is critical for the independent traveller: if you don’t learn how to “let go” of things at home you’ll never get away; if you don’t develop the right attitude towards people you’ll meet on the road you risk getting ripped off ; and if you don’t prepare for the psychological shock of coming home you could end up in a depression.

The independent traveller needs to develop a series of skills that will enable him/her to cruise through these challenges, but like any new skill you need to practice them as much as you can.

Sources of Inspiration

Get in Touch

I set this blog up to inspire people to travel, answer questions and offer advice. So if you would like any advice about any of these issues please get in touch. My personal email address is and you can even call me on my mobile number which is 0040 745 801 896. I’d love to hear about your travel idea, your dream, however outlandish it may seem to others. With confidence and determination anything is possible.

Rupert Wolfe Murray
May 2015