Tony Wheeler, co-founder of the Lonely Planet guides has been awarded an Honourary Doctor of Letters (DLitt) by the University of Warwick and our partner Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.
After studying engineering at Warwick, a spell as an automotive engineer in Coventry and business studies at London Business School were preludes to a trek across Asia on the ‘hippie trail’ of the early 1970s. That led Tony to write the first Lonely Planet guide and the New York Times to describe him as ‘the trailblazing patron saint of the world’s backpackers and adventure travellers.’
Born in the Britain he grew up in Pakistan, the Bahamas and the USA before returning to the UK to finish school, go to university and eventually end up living in Australia.
Since the sale of Lonely Planet Tony has been involved with the Planet Wheeler Foundation’s work in South-East Asia and East Africa and in the establishment of Melbourne’s Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing & Ideas, a key part in the city’s status as a UNESCO City of Literature. Tony is also a director of Global Heritage Fund which works to protect and develop archaeological sites in the developing world. His most recent book, Dark Lands, is a follow up to Bad Lands, his journey along George W Bush’s ‘Axis of Evil’ and to assorted other challenging countries. He was awarded an Order of Australia in 2014 for ‘distinguished service to business and commerce as a publisher of travel guides, and as a benefactor to a range of Australian arts and aid organisations.’
In an exclusive interview with the University of Warwick his advice for fellow graduates is, “Do something you believe in.”
Listen to the full interview:
Communications Manager, University of Warwick
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