Gerard Hindmarsh is a printed writer residing in Golden Bay

COLUMN: One of many joys of travelling is assembly fascinating and fascinating folks alongside the best way.

One passenger on board the Aranui 5, the passenger-freighter I took from Papeete to the Marquesas final month, turned out to be Lonely Planet guidebook founder and publishing entrepreneur Tony Wheeler, nonetheless trying youthful at 75.

I’ve at all times wished to satisfy him. To my thoughts, there are few, if any, different folks alive who’ve been so liable for fostering a deeper understanding and delight of journey.

His private motto is espoused in each Lonely Planet information: “a terrific guidebook ought to… inform, educate and amuse”.

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I had heard he was aboard, nevertheless it was solely after listening to him throughout the dinner desk recount his story about steaming round Cape Horn, beginning with “17 turned up for breakfast, none got here to lunch”, that I realised I used to be sitting reverse Journey Man himself.

As a lot as unique journey tales flowed out of him, he was genuinely occupied with all of the folks round him.

That night proved to be the primary of 1 fascinating dialog after one other, till we docked again in Papeete 13 days later.

Arriving at Hanavave village on Fatu Hiva, with its imposing range in the background.

Gerard Hindmarsh

Arriving at Hanavave village on Fatu Hiva, with its imposing vary within the background.

Our first cease had been Fakarava lagoon. Because the freight was barged in, we 98 passengers additionally punted ashore to stretch our legs.

Most spent their three hours wandering up and down the atoll’s ribbon of white concrete that was the principle avenue.

However I couldn’t assist noticing that Wheeler wasted no time in hiring a bicycle to discover extra of the island, solely getting again in time for the final barge again.

His tempo all through the assorted islands was a lot the identical as he maximised each alternative to journey – scuba diving, mountaineering over the vary of Fatu Hiva to satisfy the ship on the subsequent village, biking and going off monitor every time he may.

Endlessly asking questions and sometimes jotting down notes in his small pocket book, it was straightforward to see how journey and discovery had been on the coronary heart of his life and profession.

The Aranui 5 in the Marquesas.


The Aranui 5 within the Marquesas.

The story of how Tony and Maureen Wheeler began Lonely Planet in 1972 remains to be summarised behind all their books.

With a beat-up previous automotive, just a few {dollars} of their pockets and a way of journey, the couple bought the journey bug and set off on the journey of a lifetime – throughout Europe and Asia overland to Australia.

A number of months later, on the finish of their journey, completely broke however impressed, they sat at their kitchen desk writing and stapling collectively their first journey information, Throughout Asia on the Low-cost.

Inside every week they’d bought 1500 copies.

Tony and Maureen Wheeler, doing a bit of self-promotion for Lonely Planet in 1976.


Tony and Maureen Wheeler, doing a little bit of self-promotion for Lonely Planet in 1976.

Lonely Planet was born, and grew to have workplaces in Melbourne, Oakland, on San Francisco Bay, London and Paris, worldwide using greater than 600 employees and writers.

Wheeler was made for it. Born in England in 1946, his father labored for the British Abroad Airways Company as an airport supervisor.

He grew up in Pakistan, the Bahamas, the USA and England, by no means spending longer than two years in the identical college.

After he certified with an engineering diploma from Warwick College, he bought a job as a mechanical engineer with the Chrysler Company in England, then returned to school to do a MBA at London Enterprise Faculty.

However Tony and Maureen’s lives modified after they give up their jobs to journey throughout Europe and Asia.

Travelling has always been in Tony Wheeler’s blood, and he’s showing no signs of slowing down.


Travelling has at all times been in Tony Wheeler’s blood, and he’s displaying no indicators of slowing down.

Arriving in Sydney broke was not an exaggeration; they solely had 27 cents between them.

After the success of their first information, they spent the entire of the next 12 months travelling round South-East Asia, and in early 1975 revealed their second ebook, South-East Asia on a Shoestring.

These books had been adopted by two youngsters, Tashi and Kieran.

In 1980, the publication of their guidebook to India successfully doubled the dimensions of the corporate. Lonely Planet Publications grew to turn into the world’s largest impartial guidebook writer, with its head workplace in Melbourne, the place the couple settled.

It has been mentioned the Lonely Planet title derived from a misheard Joe Cocker music lyric, which was in actual fact “Pretty Planet”. Of Lonely Planet’s first 10 titles, Tony wrote 5 of them, quantity 8 on that record being New Zealand, which remains to be doing nicely in its twentieth version.

In 2007, BBC Worldwide purchased 75% of the couple’s share of the corporate, and their remaining 25% in February 2011.

That sale would deliver the couple’s internet value to $100 million, and saved them busy with Planet Wheeler, the philanthropic basis they arrange from the proceeds.

Maureen and Tony Wheeler in their Melbourne home.


Maureen and Tony Wheeler of their Melbourne dwelling.

Then there’s the Wheeler Institute on the London Enterprise Faculty, which focuses on entrepreneurship and enterprise within the growing world.

Add within the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing & Concepts in Melbourne, which has one thing on most days (and nights) of the week, and a publishing curiosity with Textual content Publishing in Australia.

Tony can also be on two different boards, the International Heritage Fund, an organisation working to guard and develop archaeological websites within the growing world and the Australian Himalayan Basis, which works on tasks with folks of the Himalayas.

“It’s exceptional I nonetheless discover time to journey,” Tony advised me, however admitted that he and Maureen had been winding down their work on the assorted foundations.

His books since Lonely Planet embrace Unhealthy Lands, Darkish Lands and Unlikely Locations (aka the Lonely Planet Story) written simply earlier than they departed Lonely Planet. Extra lately, he wrote Tony Wheeler’s Islands of Australia for the Nationwide Library of Australia.

There’s no slowing down for Tony Wheeler, whose next stop is another cruise, this time from Japan across the Pacific towards Seattle in the US.


There’s no slowing down for Tony Wheeler, whose subsequent cease is one other cruise, this time from Japan throughout the Pacific in direction of Seattle within the US.

Within the 2014 Australian Queen’s Birthday Honour’s Record, the couple had been each appointed Officers of the Order of Australia (AO) for his or her “distinguished service to enterprise and commerce as a writer of journey guides, and as a benefactor to a variety of Australian arts and help organisations”.

The couple now stay between two properties, in Melbourne and in central London.

I ask Tony the place his subsequent journey will take him? He says it’s one other cruise, this one from Japan throughout the northern Pacific, previous Alaska and west coast Canada to Seattle.

“That can be one other tick off my bucket record, identical to the Aranui 5 voyage to the Marquesas,” he says.


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