Tony and Maureen Wheeler’s six-month trip along the ‘Hippie Trail’ in 1972 led to Across Asia on the Cheap, the very first Lonely Planet guidebook. The company grew to become the world’s largest independent guidebook publisher and today has close to 150 million books in print in English as well as digital versions and a busy website. Despite the completion of the sale of the company in 2011 Tony still contributes to their publications, most recently Epic Drives and the new edition of The Cities Book. The Planet Wheeler Foundation, with more than 50 health and education projects in the developing world, the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing & Ideas in Melbourne and his position on the board of the California-based archaeological organization Global Heritage Fund also keep him busy. Recent travels have included visits to the rising-sea-level-threatened Pacific nation of Kiribati, Reactor 4 at Chernobyl 30 years after its meltdown and a reprise of his Hippie Trail adventures along the Silk Road, now part of China’s major One Belt One Road development.
Tony Wheeler is the co-founder of Lonely Planet, a company that rapidly grew to become the world’s largest independent guidebook publisher with close to 150 million books in print and sold to the BBC Worldwide in 2013.