He is jetting abroad to escape the pressure after a dramatic week which saw him quit as leader of Glasgow council.
Sources close to Purcell said he won't return for up to a year.
Earlier yesterday, Purcell followed up his decision to quit as £60,000-a-year leader of Scotland's biggest local authority by standing down as a councillor.
Purcell spent some time at the Castle Craig rehab clinic in the Borders after he quit as council chief .
He disappeared from the clinic on Sunday but turned up again soon afterwards.
A source close to Purcell said: "Steven has always had an interest in the southern hemisphere and it is thought he might be spending some time there.