The Legacy Issue

A Curated Collection

A Note from the Editors

Hidden Compass has come a long way in the last six years. In May 2017, we hadn’t published our first issue, and so we didn’t have a single reader yet. But as of May 2023, we have 100,000!

We’re taking a moment to celebrate.

Welcome to our first-ever Legacy Issue — a curated collection of 10 Hidden Compass stories from around the world, across our departments, and over the years. These pieces show the sheer diversity of voices and stories that lie at the intersection of literature, journalism, and exploration. Each one is a window into a unique world.

Join us to revisit some of your favorite stories — or, perhaps, discover them for the first time — and let our storytellers take you on journeys both personal and global:

Amanda Castleman brings us to the Okavango Delta for her Lowell Thomas Award-winning piece, Love in a Time of Abundance. In this moving Time Travel story, we spend a night beside lions — exploring the nature of personal and cultural grief, and the legacy of Botswana’s Bushmen.

For her striking photo feature and Portrait story, Kim F. Stone draws on more than a decade of experience cowboying in the shadow of Steens Mountain to bear witness to the lives of The Great Basin Buckaroos, who face not only a challenging landscape but a fading way of life.

Wade in the Water, a haunting, Solas Award-winning Chasing Demons story written by Alexandria Scott and illustrated by Latasha Dunston Greene, brings us out onto Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay — and back in time to pay homage to the spirituals and waterways that guided Scott’s ancestors toward freedom. This story was also anthologized in The Best Women’s Travel Writing.

For Gazawood Dreams, Paul Fischer ventures into Gaza to bring us literal and figurative cinematic journalism. In his Chasing Demons feature, Fischer introduces us to Palestinian twin brothers who dream of making movies in a city where the cinemas have been shuttered and left to ruin. Fischer’s story was named one of the five best features of 2022 by Longreads.

In the vast and desolate Arctic landscapes of Svalbard, Hidden Compass co-founder Sivani Babu brings us an enthralling photo feature and Human and Nature story. The piece, which was recognized by The Best American Travel Writing series and the North American Nature Photography Association, explores the mysterious life — and death — of the iconic Ice Bear.

Hidden Compass co-founder Sabine K. Bergmann’s Awakening the Canopy illuminates a Quest by linguists to tap into the wisdom of endangered voices around the world, from Cameroon to Peru to Thailand. The Solas Award-winning feature, and its original artwork by Candace Rose Rardon, brings the tree of human languages to life, and explores what it means to document what has been lost — and then try to resurrect it.

The threads that connect Lance Garland to the past are literary. In his Time Travel feature, the former Navy sailor discovers an unlikely guide through the wilderness. As Garland follows a path left by writer Jack Kerouac, he traces his own twisting journey Out of Desolation.

In a stunning photo feature, Edmée van Rijn immerses us in not one extreme environment, but two: the sand-swept conflict zones she photographs in the Middle East, and the Arctic landscapes she explores from the back of a dogsled. The unexpected pairing breaks open van Rijn’s personal experiences for a visceral Human and Nature story, Into the Whirlwind.

Searching for the enigmatic Ganges shark — which vanished for more than a century — Colin Daileda plunges us into the waters of the Bengal delta for his Time Travel feature, Lost in the Shallows. But Daileda doesn’t just lead us into the delta’s murky waterways: He shows us the evolution of the landscape and of exploration itself.

In her Quest feature, which was illustrated by blind artist Keith Salmon, Maud Rowell seeks a hidden hero. Inspired by blind, 19th-century explorer James Holman, Rowell brings us Into the Shimmering Void — and along her own journey of sight loss and global exploration.

Thank you to all the extraordinary storytellers who have worked with us over the years, and to each of our 100,000 readers for helping us reach this milestone! Here’s to many more years of exploring together.

With gratitude,

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