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Escape with Lonely Planet

founder Tony Wheeler

Season 1, Ep. 10

Lonely Planet is a guidebook publishing empire that has shaped the travels of millions of people around the globe. Today’s guest is the founder of Lonely Planet, Tony Wheeler. He has been described by The New York Times as ‘the trailblazing patron saint of the world’s backpackers and adventure travellers’. 


It all began when Tony Wheeler and his wife Maureen embarked on an overland odyssey driving a banged-up old car along the ‘Hippie Trail’; a popular route for free-spirits in the 1960s and 70s from Europe to Freak Street in Kathmandu. The Wheelers eventually arrived in Australia with only a few cents left in their pockets


Little did they know when they set off, that their adventure halfway across the world would take them on a much bigger journey from printing the first Lonely Planet pamphlet ‘Across Asia on the Cheap’ in 1973 to building a multi-million-dollar travel publishing giant.




Space Captain (1970 song) by Jo Cocker ("Once I was traveling across the sky, this lovely planet caught my eye")


Arabian Nights (1974 film) by Pier Paolo Pasolini




Socotra, Yemen

Karachi, Pakistan

The Bahamas




Freak Street, Kathmandu



Kuta, Bali

Western Australia

Paddington, Sydney

Tehran, Iran

Shiraz, Iran


Siggy’s, Kabul, Afghanistan

Pyongyang, North Korea

Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

The Falkland Islands

Cartagena, Colombia

Ciudad Perdida, Colombia

Plovdiv, Bulgaria


The Himalayas, Nepal

The Australian Outback

Montevideo, Uruguay


You can find more of Tony’s travels at


If you enjoyed this episode, please be sure to subscribe, rate and review so others can discover this podcast as well. If you’re looking for some more travel inspiration, you can find me on Instagram @escape.artist.podcast 

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