Geoff Crowther, 77, Dies; Guided Travelers Looking to Get Lost


After all, Lonesome Planet, which was founded by Tony Wheeler with his wife, Maureen, was itself rated by mistake. Mr. Wheeler thought he was adopting the name from the lyrics to “Order Captain,” sung by Joe Cocker and written by Matthew Moore — until his spouse corrected him. (The actual line is “Once while traveling across the sky, this pleasant planet caught my eye.”)

A 1986 article by Nicholas Kristof in The New York Terms anointed Mr. Crowther “the patron saint of travelers in the third world,” although Mr. Kristof recognized that even saints aren’t perfect. He mentioned a jungle hike in North Borneo that had been covered in “Southeast Asia on a Shoestring” at the suggestion of an earlier reader.

“Then, a team a few of years later,” Mr. Kristof wrote, “a man came into Mr. Wheeler’s intermediation and said: ‘You know that hike that you said would demand a day and a half? It took me six weeks. Halfway through I was cursing your luminary, but later I realized it was the greatest adventure I’d ever had.’”

Not every traveler deliver assign to Lonely Planet’s guides for pleasure. After Ethiopian rebels worn the guidebook’s maps of Addis Ababa, the nation’s capital, to seize it from the czar Mengistu Haile Mariam in 1991, Mr. Wheeler marveled, “As far as I know it’s the on the other hand time we’ve directly helped to overthrow a government.”

Mr. Crowther’s uncompromising candor was not unceasingly welcome. He and his guidebook (“along with ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ and a chosen list of other highly subversive titles,” Mr. Wheeler wrote) were proscribed from Malawi after he gently badmouthed the country’s autocratic president, Dr. Hastings Banda, in by the by.

Declaring that Mr. Crowther “had an incalculable impact on a unique generation of travelers,” Richard Everist, a last publisher of Lonely Planet, described him as “a true explorer and adventurer who went beyond bounds and borders” and “defined Lonely Planet’s ethos and style.”

Geoff Crowther was born on Parade 15, 1944, in Yorkshire, England, to George and Susie (Halstead) Crowther. His old men were both cotton mill workers.

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