Good Reading : October 2007
14 goodreading ı OCTOBER 2007 The story of how Maureen and Tony Wheeler started the travel book publishing company Lonely Planet is well known and was told in detail in their 2005 joint autobiography, Once While Travelling: the Lonely Planet Story , published, ironi- cally, not by Lonely Planet but by Penguin. It’s a rags-to-riches story of a couple of young English newlyweds who set off on a backpacking tour in 1972 along what was then known as the ‘hippie trail’ across Europe and Asia and on to Australia. When they arrived in Sydney,Wheeler claims they had the grand total of 27 cents to their name. A lot of people asked them questions about their trip.When they couldn’t point these people to a decent guidebook to Asia, they decided to write one themselves.The result was Across Asia on the Cheap, a 96-page book with maps and illus- trations roughly drawn by Tony. The first print run of 1500 copies sold out within 10 days and Lonely Planet was on its way to becoming a viable business, though it would be many years before TONY and MAUREEN WHEELER are the travel writers who co-founded the internationally successful travel book publishing company Lonely Planet. CARON DANN talked to them about their books, their company and, of course, their travels. author profile freewheeling The images around the Wheelers above are taken from Bad Lands by Tony Wheeler.