Men sell and buy khat during a strop in a village
Men sell and buy khat during a strop in a village
Autumn 2017

Inaugural Issue

A Note from the Editors

It first emerged with a Big Sur ocean view. Just a glimpse of it. A few months later, it followed us to a lake in the Sierra Nevada mountains and we got to know it better. Then, it took center stage in a coffee shop in San Francisco and hasn’t left us alone since.

At first, it was a feeling. A feeling that there’s room for more — more stunning photography, more compelling narratives, and more quality travel journalism. There’s room for more globe-trotting storytellers and room to learn from one another.

Then, it became a mission. A mission to forge a worldwide community of artists who travel together, publish together, and share stories that push the boundaries of the travel genre.

Now, it is a magazine.

Welcome to the inaugural issue of Hidden Compass. We are honored to present work from a truly spectacular group, including adventurous writers and photographers, a lovably geeky marine biologist, and a painter-poet.

In our feature story, You Should Be Dancing, we visit a tiny island in the Pacific Ocean with marine biologist Russell Bradley. The events that follow are a testament to the fact that when we go into the wild, we are not always passive bystanders. Sometimes, when we get close, our conscience pulls us into the chaos.

In our photo feature, The Last Days of the Negus Train, conflict photographer and journalist Emilienne Malfatto boards a century-old, soon-to-be defunct train and crosses the Ethiopian desert in order to explore a different kind of conflict: the conflict between history and modernity.

In our Chasing Demons department, we descend into the earth and prod at fear with Alison Konecki in Radiant Darkness. We embark on a Quest in Cusco, Peru with Jennifer Simonson, Hunting the Lost Beer of the Incan Empire and discovering that its sacrificial legacy isn’t necessarily the most palatable. And in Time Travel, artist Anna Elkins takes us on a journey through time and Pablo Neruda’s homeland as a poem comes to life in La Vía Poética.

Each of the pieces in this issue is unique and interdisciplinary. A few are pieces you might not see published in your typical travel magazine. That was our goal: to make a statement about who we are and where we are going. We hope you enjoy what we have put together. And we’d like to extend a heartfelt thank you to our contributors and readers, who are making our dream of powerful storytelling come true.

Yours in wanderlust,

Sabine Bergmann and Sivani Babu, Hidden Compass Co-Founders

& Liz Shemaria, Hidden Compass Editor-at-Large