Traveler with style

One of the more prominent visitors to Ubud in 2004 has used his time here not only as a guide to other visitors, but also for an interview with Chris Brummitt from the Associated press published today in the Salt Lake Tribune.

While backpackers around the world use Lonely Planet guidebooks to search out the cheapest hostels or flights, its publisher has had enough of budget travel. He goes first-class.
''I can do things in comfort now,'' said Tony Wheeler, head of one of the biggest travel-book companies in the world, with annual revenues of $58 million. Though he may travel first class, Wheeler still dresses like a backpacker. He turned up for this interview in an Ubud café in sandals and a floppy hat, carrying a battered rucksack over one shoulder.

The future guidebook is a ''mobile phone, my handheld computer and a global positioning system all molded together. You call up Italian restaurants, and find one that looks nice, and then a little arrow points it's that direction for 480 meters, and then it phones up for you and books a table''. More..

Outside of a temple in Ubud in October 2004
Photo: Suzanne Plunkett/AP

An earlier interview with Tony Wheeler about his favorite 30 ways of travel around the world makes still a much recommended reading.