I was born in Montana, raised in the mountains of Colorado and found my true home in Lake Tahoe, California. Mountains are in my soul — a place where I’ll always feel at home.

In 2012, I left the mountains and moved to Singapore with my husband, who had accepted a position with a world-renown visual effects studio. This significant change in our lives presented me with a unique opportunity to transition my career as a creative director from full-time work in an office to flexible work from anywhere in the world. This was life-changing for me and, with new freedom and lots of new places to explore, I started Compass & Camera.

My love of travel began on my first trip abroad in 1998. My father and I went to Paris. We looked at the art, ate so many pastries and ran around in the winter weather in disbelief that we were in such a magnificent city.

In 1999, I took a road less traveled and went to Peru to trek to Machu Picchu. It was my first trip to a developing country. I was astonished that people who seemed to have so little could be so happy. Returning to the U.S. after this trip resulted in a major epiphany about my random fortune of having been born in what’s often regarded as the richest, most powerful country in the world. I began to question my definition of happiness in the context of the world, rather than within the standards and measurements of the lifestyle I knew in the U.S. Had I not traveled outside the U.S., I would not have evaluated my life from this new perspective so I regard this trip as a major turning point in my life. It lit the fire. It left me with a lot of questions about the world outside my own and I haven’t stopped traveling since.

My favorite experiences include trekking to the base of Mount Everest in Nepal, exploring the history and temples of Cambodia, camping solo on the Abel Tasman Coast Trail in New Zealand, diving into the underwater paradise of Sulawesi, road tripping through the desert of Oman, and living abroad in the cultural diversity of Southeast Asia.

More important than where I’ve been or what I’ve done is what I’ve learned. I’ve learned that I don’t need much to be happy; that beauty, happiness and good people are everywhere; that a smile is the greatest currency; and that a thank you or even just a look in the eye and a nod of the head can go a very long way. I see you.

I hope you enjoy reading about my adventures — from the discoveries of everyday walks through my neighborhood, to more elaborate journeys exploring culture, history and life around the world. My dream trips for 2017 include Mongolia, Colombia, anywhere to see the Northern Lights, maybe another dive into the cultural depths of Japan, and hopefully a few other places I haven’t discovered yet. I hope you’ll keep reading and come along with me. There is so much to explore.

Cheers,
Kelly

***

All writing and photography included on my blog is my own, unless otherwise noted.

Kelly Heapy

135 comments

  1. Hi there, you are probably in Bhutan right about now. I just wanted to let you know I put a link to your blog on a post just now, and brought you in to the Ligo Circle of Appreciation. I really did want to share your wonderful blog.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you Angel! I just read your post and your link to my blog, and left you a comment. Thank you SO much for sharing Compass & Camera, and always being so supportive. Bhutan is a month away – leaving on November 29th so I’m here, eagerly counting the days! Thanks again.

      Like

  2. Kelly, I just received this and of course you and Jay were the first people I had to send it on to, for the dancing and the great editing.
    Loved all the photos of door and windows, two of my favorite things to photograph. When Patti and I went to France I think that half of all my photos are of doors and windows.
    Sandy,
    Enjoy!
    Hollywood’s Greatest Stars and The Bee Gee’s!!!!

    Somebody had a lot of fun with this. Most of the people in the clips were deceased before the Bee Gee’s recorded “Stayin’ Alive.” The Bee Gee’s or Rita Hayworth fan or not…you are going to love this! Most people don’t know what a great dancer Rita Hayworth was. It shows one thing; music may change but the dance moves are timeless.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=mz3CPzdCDws

    Like

  3. I LOVE the mountains. Although I’m from Oklahoma, I have been to Montana several times and can say with absolute certainty that it’s one of my favorite places in the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. u know what??? u are truly very lucky to have traveled so much at such a young age …………. I went through your blog and simply couldn’t stop myself from following it …………… God bless you ……… Happy traveling 🙂

    Like

    1. Thank you! Wow, what a wonderful comment. I’m amazed at all the goodwill that comes from blogging, and all the supportive people who are out there – like you! Yes, I am very lucky to have traveled so much, but I’ve made it a huge priority for the past 12 years. I’ve spent money I didn’t have, squeezed in trips between jobs, missed some holidays with family, etc. but I wouldn’t trade my memories, stories and photographs for anything. And I still have a million places to go! 🙂 Thanks for following me! More to come soon.

      Like

    1. Hiba,
      That is so cool! What a wonderful comment to receive. Thank you so much! Days three to six in Bhutan are coming soon! I hope you’ll read along. Thank you for reading my blog. Cheers to 2013 and much more travel!
      K.

      Like

  5. just stumbled upon your blog..awe inspiring stuff here.. i am a newbie blogger writing about cinema which i am passionate about..great to know that you too live in singapore.. i am from india originally and moved here 6 months back..lets catch up!!and yes i hv made up my mind to go bhutan..its next door to india..

    Like

    1. Thank you so much! Great that you’ve decided to go to Bhutan! Very cool that you’re in Singapore, too! I return in January – can’t wait. I look forward to reading your blog about cinema. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

      Like

    1. Hey! THANK YOU! What an honor! I’ll check out your blog and share the love. Thanks for reading Compass & Camera. More posts coming soon about Bhutan and Nepal. I look forward to seeing where you go this year! Happy traveling! ~Kelly

      Like

  6. Japan is a great place to visit! come during the summer or spring… winter might be slightly cold but i’m sure you will be amazed about the culture. India is always an adventure… especially with all those movies about india makes you want to visit the country too…

    Like

  7. I did the EBC trek last year. And all I can think about when looking at my photos, your photos, other photos of the Khumbu Valley, is that I have got to get back there…soon. Thank you for the nostalgia this afternoon.

    Like

  8. Ah, once the travel bug bites, you’re addicted. Travel has been an integral part of my life. I can’t imagine not having seen the wonderful places in this world that I’ve been lucky to venture to, from the time I was a little girl.

    I really enjoyed reading this. You hit the nail on the head about the simplicity of happiness – it really is all around us, and within us. I think most of us tend to look in all the wrong places for it, when it could be staring us right in the face. It’s just a matter of being open enough to let it come in. When you travel to different places and immerse yourself in different cultures, you enjoy such a vastly rich experience that it’s hard to imagine the world as how you have always known it. You suddenly realize just how dynamic it is, and how much of it is still left unexplored!

    I see you live in Singapore now? I have lived there for a considerable part of my young-woman-hood. I have very fond memories of my time there. 🙂

    I’m looking forward to reading your entries!

    Like

    1. Wow, what a thoughtful comment and I agree wholeheartedly with everything you say. It is so nice to connect with people like you who share the same feelings and beliefs about travel. It is profoundly life-changing to get out and see the world, particularly if you can see the beauty and happiness in even the small, supposedly mundane parts of life.

      Yes, I currently live in Singapore – it’s been almost one year and I love it. Where in Singapore did you live? Let me know if you ever return – we could meet for some kopi and kaya toast!

      I look forward to reading your blog – love your entries about saying hello and thank you. These are such important gestures. So, thank you! ~Kelly

      Like

  9. I lived right across the Singapore Flyer, in the Kallang area. I would love some kopi and kaya toast whenever I come by there again! 🙂

    Thanks for following my blog. I’m looking forward to following your adventures too!

    Like

    1. Hi Vladimir! Thank you so much for nominating me and putting a link to Compass & Camera on your blog. I’m so flattered to receive this from YOU. I hold your blog in the highest regard — your writing and photography are top-notch, compelling and always enjoyable to read. Most of all, I just love vicariously journeying around New York by kayak with you and Johna — what unique adventures and perspectives you have. My husband and I think NYC could be a really fun place to land when we eventually return to the US, and your blog continues to reinforce this idea. Perhaps we’ll meet you someday! Thank you again for the award. Can’t wait to see where you go next. ~Kelly

      Like

      1. Thank you, Kelly!!—it’s wonderfully encouraging to hear all that! 🙂 We’ll continue to bring you New York, and maybe we will see you here some day. In the meantime, happy 2013 and keep blogging! 🙂

        Like

  10. Hi Kelly! What a great presentation -and you take really amazing pictures! Love the positive attitude and the passion for traveling -it’s one of mine as well! Great blog, keep up the great work 🙂
    Love, Anna

    Like

  11. Well written! I also took my first overseas trip to Paris, and through dumb luck I was later able to move here for good. You’re right about the incredible good fortune to have been born in the US, and in my case, white and male to boot! And when you see people in other countries struggling but happy with what they have, it makes you wonder how so many Americans can have a house, a couple of cars, a decent job…and still whine about needing more.

    Just one reason why traveling is so good for the soul! But it seems like you’re well aware of that. 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! Happy blogging to you.

    Like

    1. You’re welcome Pica! I’m really curious about East Timor. I’m in Singapore and hope to go there in the next year or two. I look forward to following your adventure! ~Kelly

      Like

  12. Hi Kelly, nice to meet you. I’ve been travelling around your wonderful blog. Bhutan is a dream of ours. Sigh. One day. Meanwhile we’re off to South America for 6 months so no complaints 🙂
    Thanks for visiting our blog and for the “likes”. I hope you enjoy the stories of our adventures.
    Cheers
    Alison

    Like

    1. Hi Alison! Thanks for stopping by! Nice to meet you too. I was introduced to your blog by James and Terri at Gallivance. You had me at Mexico, Burma and Nomadic Life — all of which I love. 🙂 I can’t wait to read more of your adventures, especially since you’re departing for S.A. for six months! That sounds fabulous! As for Bhutan, don’t let go of that dream. It’s amazing and there are ways to make it “affordable” compared to so many exorbitantly priced tours out there. Every now and then I really yearn for the quietness and simplicity of that country. It is a different world but changing fast. Thanks for introducing yourself! I can’t wait to read more. ~Kelly

      Like

  13. hi there! When I dropped in on your site, it seems like I’ve found a soulmate for my site! Your travels are riveting. Do update often!

    Like

    1. Hello! And thank you! What a nice compliment. Great to hear you enjoyed reading about my travels. I visited your site — great photos and travels too! I look forward to reading more, especially since we’re both in Singapore! Thanks for getting in touch. 🙂 Kelly

      Like

  14. Love your blog Kelly! Especially the Emerson quote up there 🙂
    I’m not from anywhere near any mountains, but I completely agree with what you wrote: “The mountains are in my soul — a place I feel at home.” They are my happy place!

    Like

    1. Thank you, Head Out West!! Great to hear from a fellow mountain lover. I have a few posts coming up about Nepal and the Himalayas. Hope you enjoy them! Thanks so much for following me. 🙂

      Like

    1. Hello Mani! Thank you so much! It’s been a busy summer, but I’ll be getting back to writing and posting more in the coming weeks. I just did a great trip to Borneo. Thanks for your comment and for reading my blog! 🙂

      Like

  15. Hey Kelly! We have a lot in common, since I too was born in Montana! I see you are planning to get to Mongolia (or possibly already went). I have spent quite a bit of time there, so, if you have any questions, let me know! Alex

    Like

    1. Hey Alex! Yay for Montana! Yes, I would love to go to Mongolia while I’m living here in Asia. Possibly next summer, but not sure yet. I checked out your blog and it sounds like you’re living a real adventure. I will definitely get in touch if I start planning a trip. Would love some local, experienced advice on what to see and how to get around. Very nice to meet you! I look forward to reading more from you. 🙂

      Like

  16. Hi there, I am organising a bloggers networking event for bloggers in Singapore to meet and share their ideas and tips and potentially grow our own readerships and networks by working with each other. Would you be interested in attending this kind of event? If so, let me know via email. Thanks, Lucy

    Like

  17. Thanks so much for following Oh, the Places We See. Your About page reveals a person who not only travels but soaks up the excitement at every turn. We wish we were younger and could see/do what you’ve seen/done. But now we can live vicariously through your eyes. Best wishes for safe travels and picture-perfect days ahead. http://ohtheplaceswesee.com Bert and Rusha

    Like

    1. Hi Emma! I actually just returned from Japan — a quick ski trip in Myoko outside of Nagano, plus a night in Tokyo. Yes, it’s an amazing country and I expect I’ll be going back many times, hopefully soon. Thanks for the link to your site. I look forward to reading about your travels, and getting some ideas from your trip to Japan. Thanks for your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Hi Kelly,

    I grew up in El Dorado County and earned money for college driving a laundry truck from Placerville to Lake Tahoe each day. Later I led backpack trips in the Sierra Nevada Mountains from Squaw Valley to Mt. Whitney. I understand your love of the area!

    I’ve hit the follow button. –Curt

    Like

    1. Hey Curt! Nice to meet a fellow fan of the Sierra Nevada. Interesting job you had! That’s a beautiful drive between Placerville and Tahoe. I’m headed back in June for a few weeks. The lake is SO low this year already and it’s not even summer yet. Sad to see the effects of the drought on the region. Thanks for the follow! 🙂

      Like

      1. Your welcome. 🙂 Truly sad about the Lake and the Sierras. For a while I spent a lot of time near Donner Summit at Serene Lakes in the winter. I remember when the only way we could get into our cabin was through a second story door. Would be great to see those days again. –Curt

        Like

      2. Wow, deep snow!! Serene Lakes is beautiful. We were living in Truckee during the last HUGE winter of 2010/2011. So strange to see the patterns shift so drastically in such a short time. Agreed — would be great to see those big, fun snowstorms again!

        Like

      3. A bit of history: Serene Lakes were Ice Lakes before real estate agents showed up. 🙂 They used to cut ice out of the Lakes in the winter and transpire it to Sacramento via train. -Curt

        Like

      1. i have a instagram account too.related to travel sl.how i put it on my theme now im using?as u do.is it possible or do i have to use a different theme?

        Like

      2. Hey! Okay, I see you’re using the Cubic theme. Go to the Cubic Demo page (https://wordpress.com/themes/cubic/) and scroll down to “Social Menu”. There’s a link there that says “Learn how to set up your social links menu.” Click on that and it takes you to another page with more info (https://en.support.wordpress.com/menus/social-links-menu/). Basically, what it says is that in your Dashboard you need to go to Appearance > Menus and create a new menu with your social accounts (linked) that will show up on your main blog page. To see an example of what the menu will look like after you set it up, go here and look at the bottom right corner of the page: https://cubicdemo.wordpress.com/ Does that help? Let me know if you have any other questions. Good luck!! 🙂 What’s your Instagram name, by the way?

        Like

  19. If Badfish will actually make a plan and take a trip based on your lead, I certainly must at least follow your blog! We’ve been some similar places and both seem to like a good trek, so I look forward to poking around your site.

    Like

      1. I think I love circuits the best! Paine Circuit in Chile, Mont Blanc through France, Italy, and Switzerland, etc. But the Everest trek was probably tops for me; I just adored the whole thing – the lodges, the scenery, the people, the mountains … How about you?

        Like

      2. Cool! I haven’t done the Paine Circuit, but hopefully someday! I did the Abel Tasman Coast Trail in New Zealand and it was so beautiful. But I agree — for culture, people and beauty, the Everest trek can’t be beat. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  20. Hello Kelly ~

    I love your blog here on WordPress and so am nominating you for the Versatile Blogger Award!!

    Congrats and Enjoy! You do have an exceptional site ~ and I so enjoy your work and insights!

    Carla

    Like

  21. Hi Kelly,

    This is Saul at GPSmyCity. We are interested in sponsoring a giveaway on your blog for mutual benefits. If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity, please reply to my email at your earliest convenience. I suggest using the email in the signature. Thank you.

    Kind regards,
    Saul Tarasoff,
    sault [at] gpsmycity [dot] com

    Like

  22. I’m so glad that this blog exists. So excited to live vicariously through the photos and words. I love the title of the blog! What a lovely existential and literal meaning.

    Like

    1. Hey LuAnn! Thank you so much! Happy to have you as a follower! I came across you/your blog while reading other blogs this morning, and (likewise) love your story and look forward to reading more. Cheers to travel, and the connections made on the road and the internet. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, asthaguptaa! Thanks for your comment. I lived in Singapore for a few years and I agree — there are so many malls, so many shoppers, so many options. It can be quite overwhelming! I hope you find other reasons to enjoy Singapore!

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Thank you for sharing all those wonderful stories with us, Kelly. I’m absolutely delighted to have found you and your outstanding blog.
    Greetings from the North,
    Dina

    Like

    1. Hi Dina! Greetings from the Canadian West! Thanks so much for getting in touch. I love connecting with people who are halfway around the world! Your photography is beautiful! I look forward to seeing more now that I’ve followed you. Thanks for reading! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  24. I have read a few of your posts and really enjoy your blog. It is nice now to go back and read the “behind the scenes” info of background and see that we have are rather like minded. Peru was also a “game changer” for us in terms of how much we learnt and experienced. We were supposed to be there for two weeks, but ended up staying for a month. Gosh, that feels like such a long time ago.

    Look forward to reading more and so glad to connect with you through our blogs.

    Peta

    Like

    1. Thanks so much, Peta. Yes, so great to connect with you over similar journeys and life experiences. What you’re doing now with Ben — building a home in SL (one of our favorite places) while also living in Vietnam — is such a dream. Very inspiring for me and my husband! Thanks for sharing the journey so we can learn with you and start taking steps in that direction. Hope to meet you both someday, somewhere out in the big beautiful world! ~Kelly

      Like

  25. Honoured to be in your company today Kelly on WordPress Discover’s Glimpse into 2017, particularly as Vancouver has been, or maybe is, common territory. Your two goals are great and I very much look forward to exploring your blog and to following Compass and Camera in the coming months. With congratulations and best wishes, and wishing you a very Happy New Year…Andrew 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Andrew! Thank you so much! Congratulations to you as well for being featured on Discover! Such an exciting way to end and start the changing years. Cheers! 🙂 Yes, Vancouver is common territory — hope our paths will cross at some point. We live in Yaletown. My husband and I have only been here about a year and a half so there’s lots more to explore, especially in the mountains. A very happy New Year to you as well and I look forward to reading your posts and seeing more of your exceptional artwork — especially during your trip to Italy! Thanks for getting in touch! ~Kelly

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Hi Kelly, your mother-in-law told me about Compass and Camera. Busy with travel bookings but I will look forward to your emails. Do you mind my using some quotes from your website, as long as I credit Compass and Camera.

    Gary Clarke

    Like

    1. Hey Gary! Nice to meet you via Pattie! Yes, feel free to link, use quotes, etc. Whatever you need. I’d love to know which stories or quotes are of interest. 🙂 I look forward to exploring your website. My husband and I are heading out on vacation in April for a few weeks but haven’t decided where yet (typical for us). Looks like your site has lots of ideas to consider! Thanks for getting in touch. ~K.

      Like

    1. Terri! Wonderful! So great that you traveled to me through Dave’s comments! Just in time. I have lots of new content coming up — just returned from Portugal, Spain and Morocco as well as a few stops in the U.S. I also have a series coming up about postcards from my grandmother when she traveled abroad in 1972. Hope you’ll read and enjoy. I just followed you — LOVE your focus on leisure. That’s exactly what my husband and I are doing now, rather than waiting someday for retirement. Your blog focus is an important one! Thanks for getting in touch! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Hi Kelly! I’m a friend of Patti’s. She brought you to my house in LOP for July 4th festivities many years back. I’ve been blogging about our RV travels and my adjustment to life after the loss of Mike. I would like to raise my blogging to the next level, and wonder if you have any input on that subject? I’m not sure where to start, except to enjoy you blog!

    Like

    1. Denise! So great to hear from you. I’m very sorry to hear that Mike passed away, and sorry for the loss you’re experiencing as well. I was just reading some of your blog posts and I can feel the love you have for him. I admire your desire to keep traveling and exploring life. I see you’ve been blogging for quite some time! With regard to taking your blog to the next level, have you considered moving your blog to WordPress? That probably sounds like a monumental task (which it probably is) but I can’t say enough good things about the community I’ve found through the WordPress platform. It’s SO supportive and I’ve made quite a few friends who I keep in touch with and meet in person whenever possible. WordPress also has lots of ways to enhance your blogging (daily writing and weekly photo challenges) and grow your audience (all the tools they offer in the dashboard to monitor your stats, increase your exposure, etc.). Aside from moving over to WordPress, I would say to just continue writing from the heart and look for places to share your blog (i.e. BlogHer, etc.). Also, maybe focus on writing after experiencing loss, or life after losing a partner, or creating a new phase in your life. There are so many people who can relate to those topics and I find it’s better to dive deep into one category (travel, for me) than write generally about a lot of different things. Most importantly, write what YOU know. No one can do that better than you. Hope this helps? Please let me know if you have more questions! Thanks so much for getting in touch! xo, Kelly

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s