16 episodes

Join Hidden Compass co-founders and podcast co-hosts Sivani Babu and Sabine K. Bergmann as they bring you stories from their award-winning magazine, and go behind the scenes with each storyteller to see what inspired them to venture to the frontiers of courage and curiosity. Season 1’s theme is “What Have I Done?”

Hidden Compass: The Podcast Hidden Compass

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 21 Ratings

Join Hidden Compass co-founders and podcast co-hosts Sivani Babu and Sabine K. Bergmann as they bring you stories from their award-winning magazine, and go behind the scenes with each storyteller to see what inspired them to venture to the frontiers of courage and curiosity. Season 1’s theme is “What Have I Done?”

    A Constant Push for Perfection

    A Constant Push for Perfection

    With the end of a year comes the end of a season. For the last episode of Hidden Compass: The Podcast, Season 2, co-hosts Sabine and Sivani present a story and a conversation all about finding hope and wonder despite — and maybe even because — of the moments that challenge us.
    This episode’s guest is writer and environmental educator Brandon McWilliams, who was just 19 years old when he wrote his Hidden Compass piece. Brandon speaks with Sabine and Sivani about turning rejection into a working relationship, the slow build of a cumulative epiphany, and the joy of bear claws. But first, sit back and journey with us, as Brandon takes us to Washington State’s rugged North Cascades, where he confronts the hardships of wilderness and the mental health crisis of a generation.
     Story
    “A Constant Push for Perfection” first appeared in the winter 2019 issue of Hidden Compass: The Magazine in our Human and Nature department. See the award-winning story and its accompanying photographs here: https://hiddencompass.net/story/a-constant-push-for-perfection.
    Storyteller
    Brandon McWilliams first became a published writer with his Hidden Compass story in 2019, and in the short time since then has gone on to author more stories, graduate college, and become an environmental educator. Read his “grumpy” op-ed in the Seattle Times here: https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/its-our-turn-to-fix-the-climate-future-weve-inherited/. Peruse his work at Lucky Jefferson Magazine here: https://luckyjefferson.com/author/brandon-mcwilliams/. And check out his Hidden Compass profile at https://hiddencompass.net/journalist/brandon-mcwilliams.
    Hidden Compass
    Hidden Compass is an award-winning, women-led media company that’s forging an Alliance to turn storytellers and explorers into heroes and champion a new age of discovery.
    To learn more about us and support storytellers like Brandon, visit https://hiddencompass.net and contribute to our fundraising campaigns. We split campaign proceeds 50/50 with the writer of each story, and storytellers receive their cut on top of their article pay.
    To support Hidden Compass, recommend us to someone who’s looking to stand up for journalism, science, history, and hope. You can also buy tickets to our virtual events at https://hiddencompass.net/events, and learn more about becoming an Ally at https://hiddencompass.net/alliance. Sign up for our newsletter at https://bit.ly/2Yc2HH1. 
     We won’t see you next week, as this is the last episode of season 2! But never fear: There are plenty of ways to continue exploring with us. We look forward to seeing you in any of the Hidden Compass realms, where you’ll find more stories and storytellers venturing to the frontiers of courage and curiosity.

    • 1 hr 3 min
    Wartime in the Woods

    Wartime in the Woods

    It’s the penultimate episode of season 2 and Sabine and Sivani are feeling contemplative — jumping into thoughts about the discomfort of the Internet and the voices that need to be heard. This episode’s story, “Wartime in the Woods,” is a beautiful illustration of the latter.
    Today’s guest is award-winning writer and best-selling author Jennifer Billock, who speaks with Sabine and Sivani about journalist intuition, the relative intelligence of Homo sapiens, and the multiple sides of our own selves. But first, sit back and journey with us, as Jennifer Billock takes us deep into the forests and the past of El Salvador to confront revolution, peace, conservation, and resilience.
     Story
    “Wartime in the Woods” first appeared in the summer 2021 issue of Hidden Compass: The Magazine in our Time Travel department. See the full story and its accompanying photographs here: https://hiddencompass.net/story/wartime-in-the-woods.
    Storyteller
    Award-winning writer and best-selling author Jennifer Billock has written for publications such as The New York Times, Smithsonian, The Atlantic, Marie Claire, Playboy, National Geographic Traveler, and Wired. Learn more about Jen on her website, www.jenniferbillock.com, and be sure to pick up a copy of her latest book, “Historic Chicago Bakeries.” Check out her Hidden Compass profile at https://hiddencompass.net/journalist/jennifer-billock.
    Hidden Compass
    Hidden Compass is an award-winning, women-led media company that’s forging an Alliance to turn storytellers and explorers into heroes and champion a new age of discovery.
    To learn more about us and support storytellers like Jen, visit https://hiddencompass.net and contribute to our fundraising campaigns. We split campaign proceeds 50/50 with the writer of each story, and storytellers receive their cut on top of their article pay.
    To support Hidden Compass, recommend us to someone who’s looking to stand up for journalism, science, history, and hope. You can also buy tickets to our virtual events at https://hiddencompass.net/events, and learn more about becoming an Ally at https://hiddencompass.net/alliance. Sign up for our newsletter at https://bit.ly/2Yc2HH1. 
    See you next week, when we’ll go to Washington State’s North Cascades, and speak with Brandon McWilliams about “A Constant Push for Perfection.”

    • 1 hr 19 min
    Just Another Adventure Story

    Just Another Adventure Story

    We hope you’re ready for “Just Another Adventure Story” — one of our earliest photo features, this remarkable story presents itself as not a remarkable story, which is, in fact, what makes it a remarkable story. If that doesn’t make sense yet: don’t worry. This is Hidden Compass: The Podcast, which means everything gets murkier before it becomes clear. Especially for this season’s theme, “What Have I Done?”
    Today’s guest is world-renowned photographer Robert Holmes. Co-hosts Sabine and Sivani sit with Bob in conversation to discuss the series of career-changing events that brought Bob to accidental greatness, the importance of pestering editors (in both directions) and opening doors, and the confluence of experiencing the amazing and the miserable, the ruthless and the kind. But first, journey with us, as Robert Holmes takes us back in time to Pakistan in the early 80s and tells us about a historic expedition along the treacherous Karakoram Highway.
    Story
    “Just Another Adventure Story” first appeared in the Spring 2018 issue of Hidden Compass: The Magazine as a photo feature in our Quest department. See the full story and its accompanying photographs from nearly four decades ago, here: https://hiddencompass.net/story/just-another-adventure-story.
    Storyteller
    From the 1975 British Everest Expedition to the vineyards of the world, Robert Holmes’ career as one of the world’s most successful and prolific travel photographers has extended more than 40 years. Bob’s assignments have taken him from searching for snow leopards in the remote valleys of Western Nepal, to trekking into the rain forests of Borneo with Penan tribesmen, to crossing the Great Indian Desert on camel. Learn more about Bob at his website, https://robertholmesphotography.com/, and his blog, http://mobile-holmes.com/. Follow him on Instagram @bobholmesphoto. And check out his Hidden Compass profile at https://hiddencompass.net/journalist/robert-holmes.
     Hidden Compass
     Hidden Compass is an award-winning, women-led media company that’s forging an Alliance to turn storytellers and explorers into heroes and champion a new age of discovery.
     To learn more about us and support storytellers like Bob, visit https://hiddencompass.net and contribute to our fundraising campaigns. We split campaign proceeds 50/50 with the writer of each story, and storytellers receive their cut on top of their article pay.
     To support Hidden Compass, recommend us to someone who’s looking to stand up for journalism, science, history, and hope. You can also buy tickets to our virtual events at https://hiddencompass.net/events, and learn more about becoming an Ally at https://hiddencompass.net/alliance. Sign up for our newsletter at https://bit.ly/2Yc2HH1. 
     See you next week, when we’ll go deep into the forests of El Salvador, and speak with Jennifer Billock about revolution, transformation, and “Wartime in the Woods.”

    • 1 hr 39 min
    Indefensible Escobar

    Indefensible Escobar

    From taboos in the margins of a journalist’s notebook to Viking battlefields, season 2 of Hidden Compass: The Podcast has taken us to some compelling places. In episode 5, we find ourselves even further down the rabbit hole of our theme — “What Have I Done?” — with a story set in a Columbian narco-terrorist’s home, where a young woman faces an ethical dilemma.

    For today’s episode, co-hosts Sivani Babu and Sabine K. Bergmann are joined by restless writer Victoria Sanderson to discuss distorted reality, forgiving our younger selves, and the questionable decisions we sometimes make in the name of a good story. But first, travel with us, as Victoria takes us to a cartel leader’s fortress under siege, and gun in hand, reckons with the violent legacy of a glorified narco-terrorist.

    Story
    “Indefensible Escobar” first appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of Hidden Compass: The Magazine as a feature in our Chasing Demons department. See the full story and photos here: https://hiddencompass.net/story/indefensible-escobar.

    Storyteller
    Victoria Sanderson earned her MFA in non-fiction writing from Oregon State University. Before the pandemic, she drove around the U.S. in a 13-foot travel trailer named Honeybear to visit America’s surviving drive-in movie theaters. Follow Black Oak Refuge, the off-grid glamping site she built in Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau, on Instagram @blackoakrefuge. Book a stay at https://www.hipcamp.com/en-US/tennessee/black-oak-refuge-treehouse-tent-camp/black-oak-refuge-treehouse-tent. And check out Victoria’s Hidden Compass profile page — where you can read more of her writing — at https://hiddencompass.net/journalist/victoria-sanderson.

    Hidden Compass
    Hidden Compass is an award-winning, women-led media company that’s forging an Alliance to turn storytellers and explorers into heroes and champion a new age of discovery.

    To learn more about us and support storytellers like Victoria, visit https://hiddencompass.net and contribute to our fundraising campaigns. We split campaign proceeds 50/50 with the writer of each story, and storytellers receive their cut on top of their article pay.

    To support Hidden Compass, recommend us to someone who’s looking to stand up for journalism, science, history, and hope. You can also buy tickets to our virtual events at https://hiddencompass.net/events, and learn more about becoming an Ally at https://hiddencompass.net/alliance. Sign up for our newsletter at https://bit.ly/2Yc2HH1. 

    See you next week, when we’ll go to the treacherous Karakoram Highway in Pakistan, and speak with Robert Holmes about “Just Another Adventure Story.”

    • 1 hr 1 min
    Invasion

    Invasion

    We’re halfway through Season 2 of Hidden Compass: The Podcast, and co-hosts Sivani Babu and Sabine K. Bergmann can barely believe it. There’s so much more to dig into with the season’s theme: “What Have I Done?”
     The roots of that question — and its larger corollary of what humanity has done — run through today’s story and the following interview. On this episode, Sivani and Sabine sit with queer poet, writer, and world traveler Shannon Donaghy to talk about the space we take up while traveling, good intentions gone awry, and how to consider time … from the perspective of moss. But first, journey with us, as Shannon takes us to the lost forests and flowering fields of Iceland, where a surprising invasive species is trying to make amends.
    Story
    “Invasion” first appeared in the Winter 2019 issue of Hidden Compass: The Magazine as a feature in our Human and Nature department. See the full story and photos here: https://hiddencompass.net/story/invasion.
    Storyteller
    Shannon Donaghy’s creative work can be found in anthologies and on websites such as Celestial Musings: Inspired by the Night Sky and Plum Tree Tavern. When she is not reading, writing, or writing about reading, she enjoys cooking, hiking, and camping with her partner, Reilly. Read Shannon’s poem, “Demolition,” published by the Journal of New Jersey Poets, on page 84 of their Spring 2021 issue: https://journalofnjpoets.files.wordpress.com/2021/05/issue-58-final-1.pdf. Follow Shannon on Instagram @afterthischapter. And check out her Hidden Compass profile page at https://hiddencompass.net/journalist/shannon-donaghy.
     Hidden Compass
     Hidden Compass is an award-winning, women-led media company that’s forging an Alliance to turn storytellers and explorers into heroes and champion a new age of discovery.
     To learn more about us and support storytellers like Shannon, visit https://hiddencompass.net and contribute to our fundraising campaigns. We split campaign proceeds 50/50 with the writer of each story, and storytellers receive their cut on top of their article pay.
     To support Hidden Compass, recommend us to someone who’s looking to stand up for journalism, science, history, and hope. You can also buy tickets to our virtual events at https://hiddencompass.net/events, and learn more about becoming an Ally at https://hiddencompass.net/alliance. Sign up for our newsletter at https://bit.ly/2Yc2HH1. 
     See you next week, when we’ll go to a cartel leader’s fortress under siege, where, gun in hand, Victoria Sanderson faces the violent legacy of “Indefensible Escobar.”

    • 1 hr 2 min
    You Should Be Dancing

    You Should Be Dancing

    Three episodes into the second season of Hidden Compass: The Podcast, and we’re delving even deeper into the intellectual and emotional weeds of season two’s theme: “What Have I Done?”
    On today’s episode, co-hosts Sabine K. Bergmann and Sivani Babu sit in conversation with marine biologist, storyteller, and self-identified geek Russell Bradley. The three discuss the humanity of scientists, the lure of a wildly remote outpost in the tropical North Pacific, and the intersection of tedium, bliss, and badassery. But first, journey with us, as Russell takes us to Laysan, an atoll in the Northwestern Hawaiian islands, where an enigmatic creature forces him to face an ethical dilemma.
     Story
    “You Should Be Dancing” first appeared in the inaugural issue of Hidden Compass: The Magazine as a feature in our Human and Nature department. See the full story and photos here: https://hiddencompass.net/story/you-should-be-dancing/.
     Storyteller
    Russell Bradley’s parents threw him in the ocean when he was five years old. He cried for a minute but then never got out. Originally from Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Russell is a marine biologist, improviser, storyteller, writer, and nature lover. Currently, he is the Director of the Santa Rosa Island Research Station for California State University Channel Islands. Learn more about the research station here: https://www.csuci.edu/sri/ and follow their Instagram account @csuci. Check out Russell’s Hidden Compass profile at https://hiddencompass.net/journalist/russell-bradley. 
    Hidden Compass
     Hidden Compass is an award-winning, women-led media company that’s forging an Alliance to turn storytellers and explorers into heroes and champion a new age of discovery.
     To learn more about us and support storytellers like Russell, visit https://hiddencompass.net and contribute to our fundraising campaigns. We split campaign proceeds 50/50 with the writer of each story, and storytellers receive their cut on top of their article pay.
     To support Hidden Compass, recommend us to someone who’s looking to stand up for journalism, science, history, and hope. You can also buy tickets to our virtual events at https://hiddencompass.net/events, and learn more about becoming an Ally at https://hiddencompass.net/alliance. Sign up for our newsletter at https://bit.ly/2Yc2HH1. 
     See you next week, when we’ll go to the lost forests and flowering fields of Iceland and speak with Shannon Donaghy about an unfolding “Invasion.”

    • 1 hr 22 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
21 Ratings

21 Ratings

Marc Muench ,

Incredible stories shared by storytellers

Great podcast for anyone who loves to listen to fascinating stories of the world. Sivani and Sabine remove you from your current place of rest, and take you on a journey to fascinating locations around the world.

I can’t stop listening!

Fan2171 ,

Wonderful!!

What a great Podcast.
Kept me interested all the way. Starting with the story about the Orangutans to the interview with the author and then bringing it to very tough subject of deforestation.
I’m hooked!! Looking forward to the next one.

never been to the jungle ,

People of the Forest

Accolades galore for this first podcast from highly talented Hidden Compass partners reading a compelling story, then engaging in an equally intimate conversation with Hayli Nicole. The story came to full life form with these extra dimensions of the author and her storytelling. Just wonderful, I’m hooked.

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