The Lonely Planet podcast: Simon Calder talks to Tony and Maureen Wheeler

The most successful duo in travel? Not, as you might speculate, Abercrombie and Kent, the Turks and Caicos or the Eastern and Oriental. The two who have done more than anyone else to blaze trails and expand horizons are Tony and Maureen Wheeler.

Half a lifetime ago - in 1972 - they took a classic travel adventure across Europe and Asia to Australia. The Hitch-hiker's Guide to Europe had been published a year earlier, but the skimpy information it provided ran out at Istanbul. So Tony and Maureen made it up as they went along - and, crucially, kept detailed notes about how they had done it. They arrived in Sydney with less than a dollar between them, but were soon at work compiling the first Lonely Planet guide: Across Asia on the Cheap.

The company (whose name came from Tony's mis-hearing of the lyrics to a Joe Cocker song) has grown to become the largest independent travel publisher in the world, and there is barely any territory that is not covered in a Lonely Planet guide. Tony and Maureen have transformed millions of lives, empowering travellers to experience adventures that previous generations could only dream about.

To listen to Simon Calder's conversation with Tony and Maureen Wheeler click here

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