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Autumn 2022

Unveiled Lives

A Note From the Editors

What do we do when the people and places we’re trying to understand are shrouded? How do we pierce the veils of history or chemistry, art or psychology in order to glimpse the lives they conceal? The autumn 2022 issue of Hidden Compass is devoted to answering those questions. Five storytellers from all over...

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Autumn 2022

Unveiled Lives

A Note from the Editors

What do we do when the people and places we’re trying to understand are shrouded? How do we pierce the veils of history or chemistry, art or psychology in order to glimpse the lives they conceal?

The autumn 2022 issue of Hidden Compass is devoted to answering those questions. Five storytellers from all over the globe bring us five different takes on this issue’s theme, Unveiled Lives.

We start, aptly, at The Beginning of the Beginning, in a sculpture garden in Kenya. While seeking traces of her Ameru ancestry and her people’s full origin story of Mbwaa, journalist Peace Mundia reckons with the aftermath of colonialism. As this issue’s Portrait story makes clear, loss and its accompanying sadness can be echoes of the past that still reverberate and inform the present. 

Then, in this issue’s Quest story, the unintended — and remarkable — consequences that can follow a life-shaking event are celebrated. Into the Shimmering Void offers an exquisite pair of narrative experiences: those of James Holman, a blind, world-traveling explorer of the 19th century, and those of storyteller Maud Rowell, a blind, world-traveling explorer of the 21st century. Along the way, the story and its original artwork, by blind artist Keith Salmon, challenge our notions of who should be celebrated and admired. 

Recognition is also at the heart of our Human & Nature photo feature, which takes us deep into Nepal. In the village of Dhye, in the remote Himalaya, writer and photographer Tulsi Rauniyar introduces us to the “corner people,” whose centuries-old way of life is imperiled. The Lonely Kingdom contemplates the difficult choices these individuals are making — even as the end draws nigh. 

Next, we venture into Antarctic waters for a Chasing Demons story centered on old traumas and new beginnings. Mayday at the Bottom of the World, by journalist Jane Ellen Stevens, is a powerful, poignant, and gripping adventure story about the RSV Aurora Australis, a distressed ship cut off from the world. But it is also a brave, stirring memoir that emerges in catastrophe’s wake. 

Finally, we immerse ourselves in a sweeping series of unveiled lives. In our Time Travel story, The Three Lives of Warsaw’s Neon, Poland’s capital is aglow as journalist Emily Manthei illuminates the city’s history of “neonization” — and a century of art and commerce, form and function, war and peace. 

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 modern exploration.

Until the next voyage,

Jeremy Berlin, Editorial Director

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

Summer 2022

Defiance

A Note From the Editors

Life is hard, and the world is tough. So sometimes we go with the flow to get by. We join the herd. We maintain the status quo. Until something happens, and we no longer can. Something changes for us, and then in us. So we rise up, stand tall, fight back. In the summer...

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Summer 2022

Defiance

A Note from the Editors

Life is hard, and the world is tough. So sometimes we go with the flow to get by. We join the herd. We maintain the status quo.

Until something happens, and we no longer can. Something changes for us, and then in us. So we rise up, stand tall, fight back.

In the summer 2022 issue of Hidden Compass, we celebrate defiance and defiers — people, places, and practices that are pushing back against conformity and complacency, stigmas and stereotypes, the power of inertia and the weight of expectation.

In northern Thailand, journalist Ana Norman Bermúdez explores the paradoxical relationship the Thai have with elephants, which are both deified and exploited. Though many places call themselves elephant sanctuaries, few actually provide a true haven. This Chasing Demons story shows us an exception: A Sanctuary for the Revered, the first Asian elephant hospital in the world. Bermudez brings us close to these wondrous, wounded creatures, and introduces us to the people who have dedicated their lives to helping them.

Half a world away, in the winemaking region of Beaujolais, France, the Revelry of the Conscripted (illustrated by Matthew Laznicka) is on display. For the past century and a half, villages here have staged les conscrits — conscription parties for those heading off to war. As journalist Anna Richards writes in this issue’s Time Travel story, mandatory military service in France was suspended decades ago, yet these last hurrahs have persisted, helping locals find joy in dark times.

Meanwhile, in the heart of cattle country, an appetite for adventurous eating is defying Western conceptions of sustenance. As the global search for sustainable protein intensifies, the annual Bug Buffet in Bozeman, Montana — chronicled in this issue’s Human & Nature story by journalist Emilie Filou — is leading the charge for an Insect Rebellion.

Defying cultural perceptions is also at the heart of this issue’s Profile. As journalist William Costa explains in The Fifth Element, much is at stake in the conflict between Paraguay’s two official languages, Spanish and Guaraní. Enter Tekovete, a rapper whose socially charged lyrics are harnessing the revolutionary power of hip-hop, the musical form that first emerged decades earlier in marginalized communities thousands of miles away.

Finally, we see a Quest for cultural change and athletic acceptance in Kenya’s budding sport of rock-climbing. Until recently it was mostly an activity for foreigners and expats. Photojournalist Kang-Chun Cheng takes us to the pristine crags and peaks of Kipwa, where change is afoot. Her Photo Feature not only documents a coterie of local and foreign climbers laying the groundwork for The New Ascensionists, it also reveals both the schisms and the sense of community that climbing can foster.

Until the next voyage,

Jeremy Berlin, Editorial Director

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

Spring 2022

Honoring the Vanished

A Note From the Editors

We follow in their footsteps. Pass along their memories. Salute their accomplishments.  Their legacies stem from their dreams of the impossible. Our commitment is to honor them as best we can.  In the spring 2022 issue of Hidden Compass, we bring you stories honoring the vanished — whether ancestors, armies, strangers, or friends. We...

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Spring 2022

Honoring the Vanished

A Note from the Editors

We follow in their footsteps. Pass along their memories. Salute their accomplishments. 

Their legacies stem from their dreams of the impossible. Our commitment is to honor them as best we can. 

In the spring 2022 issue of Hidden Compass, we bring you stories honoring the vanished — whether ancestors, armies, strangers, or friends.

We begin amidst the cornfields of northwestern Alabama, where journalist Rebecca Deurlein discovers a hand-built monument to a Yuchi woman who, violently displaced along the Trail of Tears, was intended to disappear. This poignant Time Travel story shows a different path, not only for the heroic Te-lah-nay but for those who, drawn to preserve her memory, find that Only the Stones Remain.

Historic figures also leave their mark — in the form of wagon ruts — in our Human and Nature feature. Called to learn about 1800s-era emigrants headed West, journalist Shoshi Parks makes her way along the Oregon Trail in reverse. But as she sets out to learn about the hardships of the past, she finds that Enduring the Promised Land is also a challenge of our future.

For writer Melinda Misuraca, the Quest to track down a captivating young woman from a 1930s photo album leads her to the Portuguese island of Porto Santo. Featuring contemporary photographs and historical restorations by Misuraca’s husband, photographer Russell Porcas, the Photo Feature Finding Valentina takes us back a century. A host of questions await us there, including whether we’ll find who we’re looking for. Or, if we do, at what benefit — and what cost.

Sometimes, those we seek to honor remain nameless. For many of the individuals photographed by conflict reporter Wesley Morgan in our second Photo Feature and Chasing Demons story, we may never know their names — or their fate. In Portraits of a Vanished Army, Morgan presents images from his reporting trips to Afghanistan between 2009 and 2017 — and challenges a simplified narrative of the Afghan National Army’s collapse.

Finally, in a journey of grief and memory along Alaska’s Inside Passage, journalist Amanda Castleman pays homage to her late brother-by-choice, the renowned and ridiculous travel writer Edward Readicker-Henderson. This bittersweet Portrait explores the memorial necessity of an 11-day, 1,600-mile journey to stage a Viking-style funeral — and ultimately to go Beyond the Lid of the World.

Until the next voyage,

 

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

Jeremy Berlin, Editorial Director

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