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Hidden Compass is not a travel magazine telling you what to buy or where to take a selfie. It’s a place to find courage and curiosity. Our stories are rooted in travel. But venture deeper, and you’ll find more.

Inspired by the farm-to-table movement, we make journalism personal. We’re forging an alliance to turn storytellers and explorers into heroes and champion a new age of discovery. Not only will you meet the people behind our stories, you’ll be able to support each of them directly. Learn about our fundraising model here.

Our grassroots movement supports the spectacular. Every year, a quarter to a third of our stories are recognized as some of the world’s best travel features. And it’s no wonder: These are stories that seduce the mind and spirit. They unravel the world — then sew it back together.

Explore the Latest Issue

Summer 2021

Out of the Ashes

A Note From the Editors

Good and bad, life and death — now especially, polar extremes threaten to set our world ablaze. But even when surrounded by charred ruins, discovery beckons. Because where others might find an elegy, we see the potential to nourish the ground beneath our feet. In the summer 2021 issue of Hidden Compass, we bring…

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A bicycle and palm tree burn in Napa, California, during the LNU Lightning Complex fire, part of a "lightning siege" that struck California in August 2020 and ignited hundreds of wildfires. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP.
A bicycle and palm tree burn in Napa, California, during the LNU Lightning Complex fire, part of a "lightning siege" that struck California in August 2020 and ignited hundreds of wildfires. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP.
Summer 2021

Out of the Ashes

A Note from the Editors

Good and bad, life and death — now especially, polar extremes threaten to set our world ablaze. But even when surrounded by charred ruins, discovery beckons. Because where others might find an elegy, we see the potential to nourish the ground beneath our feet.

In the summer 2021 issue of Hidden Compass, we bring you stories of hope emerging out of the ashes.

Engulfed in uncertainty about her family’s safety in California’s ongoing wildfire crisis, Michele Bigley pursues a Quest tracking the trajectory of the cultural burn, and the promise and peril of fire. Encountering wisdom from Western and Indigenous ecologists, she unearths the regenerative power of tending the land with the thing she fears most — and finds A Spark of Hope for the future.

As a conflict journalist in the Middle East, Edmée van Rijn often sifts through the burnt remains of tragedy in search of glimmers of humanity. In her Human & Nature photo feature, she documents how dogsledding set her on a path out of devastation and Into the Whirlwind — where she is pulled energetically to unexpected peace.

Where there was once scorched earth, Jennifer Billock encounters abundant life in Cinquera forest, El Salvador. Her Time Travel feature journeys into a realm of guerrilla tactics and grassroots advances, where protection is as tenuous as it is hard-fought. Amid scars and setbacks, Wartime in the Woods clears a path for resilience.

Sugato Mukherjee takes us to a sacred grove illuminated by burning embers and oil lamps, on the southwest coast of his native India. His intimate Portrait of Theyyam channels a vibrant folk tradition more than a millennium in the making. From the depths of caste oppression rises The God in the Mirror — and a metamorphosis that makes a lasting impression.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the Dakota badlands set a profound backdrop for Robert Annis’s Chasing Demons feature. As he grieves the conflicted legacies of dual larger-than-life forces on his identity — his father and Theodore Roosevelt — he comes to terms with the Eroded Myths of his upbringing as well as the evolving story of the United States.

As always, we extend our deepest gratitude to our readers, who share our vision of powerful storytelling, and to our contributors, who bring us stories from the frontiers of exploration.

Until the next voyage,

Katie Knorovsky, Managing Editor

Sabine K. Bergmann and Sivani Babu, Hidden Compass Co-Founders

Read Past Stories

Meet Your Heroes

This Issue’s Featured Journalists and Storytellers
Buckaroo Portrait, Photo by: Kim F. Stone

Find your story.

Choose a Theme to Explore
Journey alongside characters in pursuit of elusive truths. Travel through extreme landscapes, to the far reaches of the planet, and into the unknown.
Get to know extraordinary characters from around the world — individuals, cultures, places, creatures, and even objects.
Investigate the relationship between humankind and the planet. Come face-to-face with Nature as an unpredictable danger, a wise teacher, and a precarious organism.
Delve into the dark and difficult aspects of a place, even when the darkness exists only in the narrator. Investigative pieces, historical exposés, and tales of narrators immersed in danger.
Inhabit the past, present, and future of a place. Unearth layers of ancient legends and traditions; probe the transient nature of the current moment; and venture out into prediction, peril, and possibility.

Photo: Dr. Gilad Fiskus

Photo: Sivani Babu

Photo: Kim F. Stone

Photo: Sivani Babu

Photo: Sugato Mukherjee

Photo: Geraint Rowland

Find your story.

Choose a Theme to Explore

Photo: Sivani Babu

01

Quest

Journey alongside characters in pursuit of elusive truths. Travel through extreme landscapes, to the far reaches of the planet, and into the unknown.

Photo: Sivani Babu

Buckaroo Portrait, Photo by: Kim F. Stone

Get to know extraordinary characters from around the world — individuals, cultures, places, creatures, and even objects.

Photo: Kim F. Stone

Investigate the relationship between humankind and the planet. Come face-to-face with Nature as an unpredictable danger, a wise teacher, and a precarious organism.

Photo: Sivani Babu

Delve into the dark and difficult aspects of a place, even when the darkness exists only in the narrator. Investigative pieces, historical exposés, and tales of narrators immersed in danger.

Photo: Sugato Mukherjee

Inhabit the past, present, and future of a place. Unearth layers of ancient legends and traditions; probe the transient nature of the current moment; and venture out into prediction, peril, and possibility.

Photo: Geraint Rowland