Shaper: Tony Wheeler

Tony Wheeler is the Co-Founder of Lonely Planet. Setting off on a trip of a lifetime honeymoon in 1972, Tony and his wife Maureen founded Lonely Planet Publications in 1973 in order to publish ‘Across Asia on the Cheap’ – the story of their journey. Their breakthrough came after a trip to India allowed then to publish the ‘India Guidebook’ in 1981, which according to Tony was ‘three times as big, three times the price and sold three times as many copies as previous titles’, and Lonely Planet then materialised over 30 years to become the world’s largest independent guidebook publisher before finally selling it to BBC Worldwide and supporting Lonely Plant shift into a multi-platform brand.

With the New York Times describing Tony as ‘the trailblazing patron saint of the world’s backpackers and adventure travellers’, he has gone on to found Melbourne’s Wheeler Centre and the Planet Wheeler Foundation.

“This is a lonely planet as there aren’t any more we can move to.”

“I’m not good at knowing everything about a place before I go there. I learn as I go along.”

“Whenever you go and do something, find someone else who has done it in a more exciting fashion.”

“The most fraught years with small businesses are when all you’ve got to do is pay out, not even paying yourself.”

“Being able to buy a car that didn’t breakdown every time I drove felt like progress.”

“I loved the books, I loved putting them together, I loved researching for them, I loved recruiting the team and I loved the travel.”

“There is always somewhere new that I haven’t been.”

“I never go anywhere where I am not astonished.”