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5 minutes with Lisa from Crooked Compass

5 minutes with Lisa from Crooked Compass

Meet Lisa, the founder of Crooked Compass - a boutique travel operator with a twist. Lisa's genre of travel is focused on the more unique, remote, lesser known and untouched destinations as well as looking for fresh ways to explore old haunts. Adventure and experiential travel is close to Lisa's heart as she believes to truly experience a destination, you must be completely immersed in it and live like the locals do.

Crooked Compass partnered with Greenfleet to offer their clients the option to offset part of their carbon footprint when travelling with them! All travellers can donate $4AUD to help plant native trees and restore native forests in Australia and New Zealand, and reduce the environmental impact of their travels.

In celebration of the launch of their carbon offset program, Crooked Compass will donate $1AUD to Greenfleet for every photo of a selfie in a forest uploaded to social media with the hashtag #FollowAGreenerPath between now and October 31.

Here is our recent interview with Lisa, where we discuss responsible tourism and how to travel the world in a more authentic way.

Greenfleet: Hi Lisa, tell us about Crooked Compass and the values behind your brand.

Lisa: Crooked Compass is a boutique tour operator uncovering the world’s best kept secrets through small group touring and customised tours. I created the business to inspire, educate and encourage travellers to understand responsible tourism by providing culturally immersive travel experiences allowing travellers to see their destination through the eyes of a local whilst supporting local communities and projects, as well as uncovering the side of a destination you didn’t know existed.

We are all about inspiring travellers to be holistically immersed in a destination – Not just ‘seeing’ it.

Photo supplied by Crooked Compass

Why did you choose to team up with Greenfleet?

We are always looking for like-minded businesses who support the environment and seeking opportunities to work in partnership with those who share the same values on sustainable tourism as we do. When I came across Greenfleet, it was an immediate connection. As our business grows, one of the things are very aware of is our impact on the regions that we travel too. With the opportunity for our travellers to carbon offset their travels, it made perfect sense to partner with Greenfleet who could offer this to our travellers.


Photo supplied by Crooked Compass 

Why is responsible tourism important to you?

Responsible tourism is important to me both personally and as a business as it is an approach or a movement – not a product that you sell and it is something that can make a huge difference in foreign countries. Taking travellers through the lesser explored regions of a country, we are very aware of our environmental and social impact that we could have when visiting these areas. We really strive to minimise any negative impacts that we may cause when travelling through these regions. It is important for us to support local people and their economies – we want their culture and traditions to remain strong, not feel they have to adapt to the western world and head to the big cities to make an income. One of the ways we support this is by employing only local guides and also offering cultural exchange programs on many of our itineraries. We want our travellers and business to bring a positive impact to the areas we travel through empowering the local people to be proud of their way of life.

Responsible tourism is also important to us as it holds a level of education to it as well. It allows us to educate our travellers to be culturally sensitive and ensues respect between both our travellers and the locals in the regions we travel through. This respect and education provides meaningful connections with our travellers and the locals which in turn provides a far more enjoyable and authentic experience which is what our company is all about. We also ensure that we support local projects and initiatives so that we can make positive contributions to the conservation of both natural and cultural heritage.

Many of the regions we travel through are also third world or developing nations. Responsible tourism is one powerful tool that can aid in helping to reduce poverty. Tourism is one of the biggest ways that money can be transferred from wealthy to poor countries as well a large source of employment to the local people from local farm producers, to handicrafts, transportation etc. It also boosts private sector entrepreneurship which is something we also strongly support.


oto supplied by Crooked Compass


What are your top 5 tips to travel responsibly?

1. Do your homework – just small things like knowing how to dress respectfully, following local customs and learning a few words in the local language. Also, don’t be a critic. Things in underdeveloped countries often do not go according to plan. Have an understanding that peace has only returned to some of these regions in recent times which means that the local people may not have the same level of education as people from more developed countries. They still strive to do their best and are always eager to learn and improve. Try to deal with challenges in a sensitive and positive manner.

2. Help preserve the heritage – when visiting heritage sites, set a good example to other travellers. Take your litter with you, don’t do stupid things like engraving your name on walls or touching artefacts that are old and fragile. When it says ‘don’t use flash’ then don’t use flash – there is a reason behind why you cannot use it.

3. Go green – choose hotels that are eco-friendly or if this is not possible, do small things like not having your sheets and towels changed daily, turn off lights and air con when you are not in the room. Reuse water bottles instead of buying more plastic and don’t buy wildlife products.

4. Go local – support the local economy – buy from local markets and roadside vendors. Eat in local restaurants, stay in locally owned hotels. Use local guides and drivers – this is a great way to not only interact with locals but build friendships and it encourages you to learn about their history and culture and take pride in it.

5. Give back – giving gifts unfortunately encourages begging. Instead, find a project, health centre or school to donate to instead. This will have a more positive and long lasting impact. Volunteering is also another option to consider.


Photo supplied by Crooked Compass 

What’s your favourite destination and why?

Tunisia. Tunisia was the first ‘non-western’ country that I visited. At the age of 21, my Nana took me here for 10 days. It was a place she had travelled to almost annually when I was younger and I was always desperate to see the places she spoke about, and desperately wanted to become part of her stories. Despite constant offers from warm friends of hers, I was always too ‘scared’ to venture there on my own. I finally went with her and the culture fascinated me. The Arabic influenced architecture captivated me. The sounds of prayer echoing through the streets frightened me at first as I did not understand. The swirling combination of French, Italian, Spanish and Arabic made me feel uneducated and challenged me. Seeing hanging carcasses dripping with blood didn’t disturb me. It churned up a curiosity within me. The funny leather shoes in almost every market made me giggle. The unwanted attention of staring men made me become aware of my surroundings. And the mouth-watering aromas that floated on the air taught me to be more adventurous with what I ate. These 10 days laid down the foundations that morphed me into an adventurous traveller and embedded a yearning to see what other enthralling cultures and countries were out there. This was my turning point to see the world through a different perspective.

Photo supplied by Crooked Compass