Before being sold to the BBC in 2007 and the NC2 Media in 2013, Lonely Planet was created and operated by Tony and Maureen Wheeler. Today, Tony still travels widely and has most recently published a book called Dark Lands, an exploration through some of the world’s most troubled countries, including the Congo, Zimbabwe, and Pakistan.
You can read about Tony’s travels on his blog.
We recently spoke with Tony about the 6 months of his life that helped create the biggest travel guide book in the world. Here’s the story of how he started Lonely Planet.
I was inspired to travel by...
Growing up in Pakistan, the Bahamas, and the USA as a child. Enjoying travel when I first started doing it without parents. The Hippie Trail in 1972, the trip that led to Lonely Planet.
The hippie trail
Was a route many took back in the 70s that typically went from Europe through South East Asia.
It was the lack of information on this journey that led us to start Lonely Planet. But hey, word of mouth is always the best information.
Favorite memory – oh the whole trip, how often can you look back to six months of your life from many years ago and still remember so much of it. If we hadn’t done that trip we wouldn’t have started Lonely Planet and wouldn’t have kept on traveling.