Paul Greenway

Pasir Putih, Eastern Bali

Lonely Planet

Lonely Planet

People often ask me how I got started.

In 1994, while working in Darwin for the Australian Government, I was planning a lengthy trip to the sub-continent, including Pakistan and Bangladesh. Off the cuff, I wrote a letter (remember those?) to Lonely Planet offering my informal services as a researcher while on the road. To my astonishment, they immediately offered me a job co-writing the next edition of their Indonesia guidebook. Clearly, I was in the right place at the right time. (While in Darwin, I had travelled to Indonesia many times and was studying the language seriously.)

I kept bugging the editors at LP for more work; enough to give up my full-time career with a car, superannuation and other perks. A year later, in 1995, they sent me out to work on the Indian Himalaya guidebook, but writing in my spare time while still working full-time was becoming stressful, and I had no more holiday leave remaining.

I knew that authors only worked from book to book, but I pleaded and begged LP for one major book (3-5 month’s researching and writing), which would be enough to justify giving up my job. I told them many, many times that I’d go anywhere.

They eventually relented.

Would I go to Mongolia?

My editor seemed to have called my bluff.

And despite losing about 15% of my body weight through eating yak tail fat (or not) and getting giardia (18 months of severe diarrhoea), I still rate Mongolia as the most amazing country on earth.

From 1996 to 2003, I worked full-time on another 27 guidebooks before I took the hint and realised that I was simply too old to write for (mostly) backpackers.

Lonely Planet Guidebooks



Africa on a Shoestring (2 editions); Botswana (alone); Madagascar & Comoros (alone); Southern Africa

Bali & Lombok


Bali & Lombok (alone); India; Indian Himalaya; Indonesia (3); Mongolia (alone); North India; South East Asia on a Shoestring (2); South India (2)



Bulgaria (alone); Central Europe; Europe on a Shoestring; Eastern Europe


Middle East

Bahrain, Kuwait & Qatar; Iran (alone); Jordan (alone); Middle East (2)

Lonely Planet Unpacked


Aboriginal Australia & the Torres Strait Islands; Lonely Planet Unpacked; Out to Eat - Melbourne

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