Indefensible Escobar

Hidden Compass: The Podcast

Dec 1 2021 • 1 hr 1 min

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.

“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:

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 And check out Victoria’s Hidden Compass profile page — where you can read more of her writing — at

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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.”