Tony – Growing up in Bristol, UK, Tony loved reading the National Geographic and watching American films as a child, which inspired his dreams of exploration and adventure. Before beginning his world trip at the age of 26, he was a sales engineer in Manchester, UK for international ball bearing manufacturers, SKF.
Gwlady – Tony’s mum. Smart, funny and independent, she worked for The Skirt Shop in Bristol.
Lewis – Tony’s dad, a police inspector in the Bristol Police force and also a keen letter writer.
Nigel – Tony’s brother, who was 10 years younger. When Tony left to travel, Nigel was 16, studying and living at home. A keen athlete, he later represented Britain, throwing the Javelin at international sporting events including the Commonwealth Games.
Linda – Nigel’s longstanding girlfriend from his school days, and later his wife. The pair had two sons together.
Carol (short for Carolyn) – Tony’s younger sister by five years. When his trip began, she was a nurse at Guys Hospital London, and engaged to Chris, a dentist who was training at Guys.
Kipper – the family dog.
Mam – Tony’s elderly grandmother, who lived in Wales.
Mrs Hince – Neighbour to Tony’s parents. She had a home phone, then a rare luxury.
Vi – Second cousin to Tony’s father. She had emigrated to America many years before with her husband, who later died. Funny and feisty, she ran a ‘mom and pop’ American diner in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, and had found new love with American Herb.
Herb – A car transporter driver, Herb was Vi’s long-term American boyfriend. A thoroughly nice man who doted on Vi.
SKF – Swedish global manufacturer of ball and roller bearings, with manufacturing plants in many countries around the world. Tony had been an SKF sales engineer in Manchester, UK. When he resigned to travel the world, his managing director provided a letter of introduction to any branch of SKF around the world. This enabled Tony to get a well-paid job with SKF in America, along with Colin, who was hired to work with Tony as a two-man team.
Jackie – Tony’s wife, who he met shortly before Christmas 1967, just a few months after returning home from his travels. A former infant school teacher and talented artist, Jackie dictates Tony’s letters using voice recognition software. As a result, she has a new nickname, The Dictator. 😊
Juliet – Tony and Jackie’s first daughter who grew up loving her father’s stories of his adventures around the world.
Tiffany – Tony and Jackie’s second daughter, a features journalist who set up this blog to share her father’s letters and photos.