By Sean Nurse
As part of their 40th birthday celebrations, the Lonely Planet Traveller Magazine has sent two of their writers on an epic adventure in a rather sensible Mini Cooper D Clubman. The first leg of their trip takes them from London to Istanbul, a fraction of the 16 000km journey that will take them across Europe, Asia and Australasia.
The trip is a tribute to the trek that Lonely Planet co-founders Tony and Maureen Wheeler made in a Minivan from London to Sydney, which led to the publication of their first guidebook that gave rise to their success as travel publishers and Lonely Planet.
Although both journeys were undertaken in “Minivans,” so to speak, the two vehicles are very different. For starters the Minivan was made by Morris and could barely crack 110 km/h while the modern BMW-owned Mini Clubman diesel cruises at that speed while sipping away at fuel.
The journey is as different as the cars; travel itself has changed exponentially over the past 40 years. Although the aim of the trip is to prove that original experiences are still out there to be had, the whole idea of documenting the trip via social media changes the dynamic of the trip and gives it a modern twist.
Co-founder Tony Wheeler said “I’m really excited to see how the trip turns out, travel has changed so much since 1972, with new destinations emerging such as Myanmar and others, like Afghanistan, no longer open to tourists. This is a great way to celebrate the heritage of Lonely Planet by recreating how it all began but with new technologies and ways of travelling for the 21st century. For me, Lonely Planet has always been about the journey, so it’s great to still be out there on the road 40 years later.”
The journey can be followed at: www.lonelyplanet.com/across-the-planet, on Twitter @LP40trip and in forthcoming issues of Lonely Planet Traveller magazine.