Meet the travel bloggers: Southwest Compass

The week we interviewed fellow Santa Feans and travel bloggers Lane and Juliet of Southwest Compass.

You were originally blogging under The Lost Backpack and recently rebranded as Southwest Compass. When, why and how did you start your original travel blog?
Lane: I was working in the film, television and theatre industries in Los Angeles when I was in a life-changing car accident. I was forcibly “retired” and spent several years recovering. Then, boredom set in. I had to find something to channel my energy into.  Over a bottle of Merlot, our blog came into being. I was lucky enough to convince Juliet – a much better writer – to become the lead writer/editor while I began teaching myself photography, which I’m learning at a snail’s pace.

Travel blogger Bobz World Photo Southwest Compass

Bobz World in Los Fresnos, on Texas’ gulf coast, Photo/Southwest Compass

What catalyzed the change, when did you make it and was it a good move for you?
Juliet:  We realized that, given Lane’s injuries, regular, far-flung travel was out of the question. We focused instead on the point where our passions and reality coincided: Southwest travel.

How did you get the name Southwest Compass and what does the name mean to you?
Juliet: We came up with the name fairly swiftly – it was an obvious choice for us. We wanted to make it clear that our geographical niche was the Southwest and, to us, compass has several connotations. It has both literal and figurative implications about guiding people to the right destination and that is our main goal.

travel blogger Sothwest Compass photo Southwest Compass

Lane and Juliet at the Taos Pueblo, photo/Southwest Compass

How did you two meet?
Lane: I wish it was a dramatic story involving surfing, sharks and rescue, but the truth is much more boring – book club!

How do you break up the blogging duties? Who does what?
Lane:  Juliet is the lead writer/editor while I focus on photography, promotion and the articles relating to cuisine and history.

What are the best/worst things about blogging together?
(gag alert) Lane: The worst part?  Is there one?  I get to spend my time with the person I can’t get enough of.
Juliet: The best part is that Lane is my home and I get to take her with me.

travel blogger photo Southwest Compass

A bit of Historic Route 66, Dot’s Diner, Bisbee, AZ, photo Southwest Compass

What is the thing that keeps you the most jazzed about blogging?
Juliet: There is a lot of freedom with blogging and that autonomy is both exciting and challenging. The idea that one of our posts might give readers a better travel experience makes me smile.

What excites you about travel?
Lane: Through travel, my personality and perspective have evolved. Each new experience, whether it be learning to cook tortillas or touching a building that dates back a thousand years, changes me and expands my views.

What kind of travelers are you?
Juliet: We are value-oriented, budget-conscious travelers, who care about experiences above all. We occasionally splurge but, in general, we just look for hotels in safe neighborhoods that do not count bedbugs as guests.

Does being a same-sex couple affect your travel experiences at all?
Lane: Being a GLBT couple is one aspect of our identity and life. While we don’t see the world exclusively through rainbow-colored glasses, we are more aware of security in some areas.

travel blogger Great Sand Dunes photo Southwest Compass

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado, photo/Southwest Compass

On the road, do you seek out some experiences more than others?
Juliet: We are continually drawn to nature and Lane keeps shouting ‘”cuisine” at me!

Is being in your comfort zone important to you?
Juliet: I sometimes get nervous stepping out of my comfort zone, but I think you gain confidence each time you do so and that makes it worthwhile. Despite Lane’s fear of heights, she continually goes up tall buildings to capture the view on camera. The result is the same every time: she clings to the railing and whimpers, but she keeps trying.

What’s your most memorable travel experience or favorite trip ever?
Lane: We refer to our most memorable, horrific, and stressful trip as ‘Rolling Chaos.’  We had decided to move from Los Angeles to Santa Fe, New Mexico.  With the downturn of the real estate market, ‘experts’ advised that our house could sit around for a year.  It sold within two weeks (which was great).  We were homeless and couldn’t close on our new home for six weeks. We decided to fill the time with a road trip. We headed up the coast of California then across Arizona.

In one tiny Toyota Echo, we stuffed two adults, two dogs, their doggie things, suitcases, cameras, vital paperwork and laptops.  My daughter flew into San Francisco to ride on the nonexistent roof rack, with one very small overnight bag in tow.  Everyone, including the driver, had something to carry on their lap. One of the dogs got stuck under the passenger seat and we congratulated her on her space-saving abilities. Moral of the story:  Don’t listen to your real estate agent.

travel blogger Tombstone photo Southwest Compass

Tombstone, AZ, the site of the OK Corral photo/Southwest Compass

What’s your favorite place on earth?
Juliet: We don’t have one set favorite place and that’s the point: each new location we visit could be our next favorite.

Where are you off to next?
Juliet: Moab, Utah to see Arches and Canyonlands.

What’s the biggest fantasy on your bucket list and why?
Lane: An African safari – I want to see the Big Five in the wild.  {Editor’s note: Lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and Cape buffalo}
Juliet:  The Galapagos Islands – It’s the ultimate wildlife experience.

Lane and Juliet met in LA and have been together since 2007.  Lane was born and raised in rural Ohio.  After making the semi-finals in a screenplay competition, she moved to Hollywood, enrolled in the UCLA writer’s program and worked in the film industry.  She started as an extra and went on to be a personal assistant, production assistant, theatre manager, screenwriter and director. She was also a script analyst for production companies and the Sundance Institute. Juliet was born and raised in the UK.  She has one parent is English, the other American. After graduating from the University of Nottingham, with an English degree, she bought a one-way ticket to Los Angeles. When she’s not traveling or blogging, she’s a freelance writer for an educational book publisher.  Follow their travels on Southwest Compass and like their Facebook page.


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4 Responses to “Meet the travel bloggers: Southwest Compass”

  1. Lane
    October 3, 2019 at 10:16 am #

    Thanks for the opportunity and interview!
    Lane recently posted..High Road to TaosMy Profile

    • Billie Frank
      October 3, 2019 at 4:54 pm #

      We loved having this. I especially loved the Bisbee Diner as now that I know about them, I want to find all the Valentine Diners I can.

  2. Lane
    October 4, 2019 at 8:18 am #

    We’re on a quest to find all of the open Valentine diners… before they’re gone.
    Lane recently posted..Santa Fe: Fall ColorsMy Profile

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