Tony Wheeler was born in Britain, but grew up in Pakistan, the Bahamas and the USA. With his wife Maureen, Tony travelled across Asia to Australia in the early '70s. The book they wrote and published about that trip became the first Lonely Planet guidebook, a business which now employs more than 500 staff at its head office in Melbourne and subsidiary offices in London and San Francisco. Sales of Lonely Planet guidebooks reached 100 million copies in 2010 and today activities range from TV programmes to smartphone applications. In 2010 the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing & Ideas opened in the State Library building in Melbourne. . According to the New York Times Tony is 'the trailblazing patron saint of the world's backpackers and adventure travellers.'