Clickbait
be damned.

Something was missing. We both knew it. Maybe you do, too. We could spend hours surfing the internet and end up feeling empty.

But something was tugging at us. Maybe it’s tugging at you, too. Don’t be afraid. Let it pull you where it wants you to go: North. South. East. West. Down the rabbit hole …

What are you heading towards?

How will you know when you’ve arrived?

… you’re already here.

Welcome to Hidden Compass.

Where we challenge the notion that readers only want mindless, clickable content.

Hidden Compass is for the journalist chasing big questions, complex connections, and meaningful exploration. It is for the reader hunting profound stories that immerse, inspire, and inform. It is for anyone aching for substance and longing to celebrate collective human endeavor.

Here, the nuance of the world is within reach. Hold on to it …

Hidden Compass is the antidote to clickbait.

About Our Founders

Powerful storytelling and oral traditions meet nuanced ideas and boundless exploration.

Sabine was once stranded in the Bolivian Andes during a period of political unrest. She discovered the power of storytelling by seeking out keepers of the oral traditions passed down through millennia of indigenous Quechua history.

Sivani tabled a career as a public defender to sail across the most brutal sea on earth. She spent weeks exploring Antarctica by boat and on foot, all the while writing, photographing, and pursuing stories to bring home.

They met one day at a bookstore and connected over the lack of substance in travel media. Where was the nuance? Where were the challenging ideas? They weren’t interested in the mass-produced content that bombards us daily and they knew they weren’t alone.

That’s why they founded Hidden Compass, a place for stories of exploration — stories that make us question what we think we know, transport us to places we’ve never been, and kindle a fire for us to stoke.

Sivani Babu and Sabine Bergmann, Hidden Compass co-founders.

 Sivani Babu and Sabine Bergmann, Hidden Compass co-founders.

How It Works

Choose your level of support.
Start by reading our stories and learning about the people creating them.

If a story means something to you, share it and contribute to its fundraising campaign. Each journalist will receive 50% of campaign proceeds in addition to their pay. The other 50% supports Hidden Compass.

By sharing and contributing, you allow us to publish articles that aren’t dependent on selling you products or tracking your habits. You’re supporting our team and the incredible people behind our stories — journalists who research the unknown, helicopter in, snowshoe out, dive deep, and help us discover.

These are our new influencers.

Explorers are in. Are you?
Explorers are in. Are you?
Explorers are in. Are you?
Explorers are in. Are you?
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

Awards & Recognition

When we founded Hidden Compass in July 2017, we were just journalists who got together in an empty San Francisco café and vowed to push the boundaries of the travel genre. At that moment, we had no idea what lay ahead. But since then, we’ve caused a bit of a stir and surprised a lot of people — including ourselves.
Our Contributors Are Also Featured In
Ocotber 2020:

Love in a Time of Abundance” by Amanda Castleman won a silver Lowell Thomas Award from the Society of American Travel Writers. Amanda and her story took their places alongside legendary travel writer Pico Iyer and stories from the New York Times, BBC, and Smithsonian Magazine.

Two of our stories were selected for volume 12 of the Best Women’s Travel Writing. “Wade in the Water” by Alexandria Scott and “Our Ravaged Lady” by Erin Byrne will be published in the anthology alongside stories from ViceSierraAFAR, and Smithsonian Magazine.

March 2020:

In the 2020 Solas Awards competition, awarded by “Best Travel Writing” publishing house Travelers’ Tales, our stories won Grand Prize Gold, Silver, and Bronze for best travel stories of the year — as well as three category awards and one honorable mention. An honorable mention also went to a story that first made its appearance in one of our workshops.

August 2019:

In 2019, our first year of consideration, two of our stories were recognized as Notable Mentions in the Best American Travel Writing series! Sivani Babu’s “Ice Bear” and Annelise Jolley’s “Trick of the Light” took their places alongside stories from the New Yorker, National Geographic Traveler, Outside, and the New York Times.

March 2019:

In the Solas Awards competition alone we won Gold, Silver, and Bronze prizes — as well as three Honorable Mentions — for our stories.

2018:

30% of our stories won travel writing awards.

Meet Our Team

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Sivani Babu

Co-founder / Co-CEO

Sabine Bergmann, Co-founder and Co-CEO of Hidden Compass
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Sabine Bergmann

Co-founder / Co-CEO

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Katie Knorovsky

Managing Editor

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T.W. Anderson

Marketing Manager

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Liz Shemaria

Founding Editor

Sivani Babu

Co-founder/Co-CEO

Sivani Babu is the co-founder, co-CEO, and creative director of Hidden Compass. She is an award-winning journalist and nature photographer who has contributed to BBC Travel, CNN, Backpacker, Outdoor Photographer, Iron Horse Literary Review,and numerous other publications. Her work has been recognized in the Best American Travel Writing series and has appeared in exhibits from San Diego to the Sorbonne. Sivani graduated from the University of Chicago with three majors — economics, public policy studies, and political science — and one Lazarused newspaper, the Chicago Weekly News. At the University of Pennsylvania Law School, she taught high schoolers about their constitutional rights. As a Teach for America corps member, she taught eighth graders about the tangency of math and literacy. After working on a Supreme Court case and occasionally using unicorn metaphors to explain the realities of sentencing to hundreds of indigent criminal defendants, Sivani left her career as a federal public defender to sail across the most brutal sea on earth. Since then, she has chased storms through Tornado Alley, searched for polar bears in the Arctic Circle, and survived a broken neck and a concussion while sailing through a lightning storm in the Bermuda Triangle. Sivani is working on her first book, Saving the Night: Shedding Light on the Importance of Darkness.

Job Openings

We’re a small but quickly growing company. Occasionally, we have openings for new full- and part-time staff members. Check back again for job listings.
Closed

Managing Editor — Part Time (20 hrs/week)

Shepherd stories from concept to completion for our award-winning quarterly magazine on exploration.

Learn More