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Bio of Gregory Hubbs

Editor-in-Chief of

Gregory Hubbs on a beach in Morocco.
On some faraway beach.

Born in 1960 to his European mother Joanna Hubbs, Ph.D. (who is a former Woodrow Wilson Fellow and retired Professor of Russian and European Cultural History and Literature, author, and now president and senior editor of Transitions Abroad), and to Clay Hubbs, Ph.D., the founding publisher and editor of trailblazing Transitions Abroad magazine. Gregory, who is modest and laconic to a fault (insert irony emoji), is fortunate to have traveled and lived abroad for many extended periods. Indeed, his life has been an example of much of what Transitions Abroad has discussed and promoted since its inception — educational, cultural immersion, sustainable, adventure travel, teaching, volunteering, and living abroad.

Early Childhood Abroad

By age four, Hubbs had lived in England for three years and experienced an intense year-long journey. He commenced in 1963, being driven by his fearless parents in a VW bus through various civil wars, coups, and bandit attacks across the countries of North Africa (including the Algerian/Moroccan Sand War) and the Middle East (coups in Damascus and Baghdad). His parents navigated through many marginal roads in the deserts and mountains of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey & Greece, Iraq, and Iran on the way to India, following the trail of Alexander the Great. Gregory still remembers vividly the incredible hospitality and the smiling faces of so many locals across Mediterranean, North African, and Middle Eastern countries, possessing black and white photos to jog his memory about the unbelievable stories recounted by his parents.

Gregory Hubbs in front of Pyramids in Egypt.
Gregory Hubbs on a camel with his mother in Valley of Kings, Egypt.
Early years (1963) in the Valley of the Kings and Giza, Egypt.
Gregory Hubbs with goats and camels in Morocco
Hanging out with goats and camels in Morocco (1963).

Gregory Hubbs at Leptis Magna in Libya in 1963 with no tourists in sight.
With father in Leptis Magna, Libya (1963).

Gregory Hubbs sitting on the horns of a dilemma in Persepolis in 1964.
On the horns of a dilemma in Persepolis (1964).

Gregory Hubbs with his family after a return from the first of their extended travels.
Gregory, at age four in 1964, holding a piece of marble perhaps from Roman ruins with Joanna Hubbs and Clay Hubbs during an interview after returning from a year-long trip that started from near the Air Force base where he was stationed in England, near Scotland, where they had lived for three years.

The family took off on an adventure in their VW bus full of canned goods, including spam and chili that we bartered, down through Western Europe, across Northern Africa, the Middle East, and Persia, and back to England through the Eastern Mediterranean for one year. We were following the path of Alexander the Great as described by the ancient Greek historian Herodotus as we had forgotten our likely largely useless maps and had no smartphones and GPS!

Gregory's parents returned to tell many incredible stories about their trip, which he is working with on with his mother to memorialize.

Between the ages 8-10, Gregory slowly made his way with his parents through much of Western and Eastern Europe — including several months in the Soviet Union while his mother researched her book on Russian cultural history — in yet another VW bus.

A Romanian Church painted gloriously on the outside.
A painted Romanian church encountered during our journey through the Soviet Union.

He was then sent to a local French public school for a year in 3rd grade near Paris without knowing a word of the language. Such immersion led to memorizing scores of classic poems he still remembers, finishing at the top of his class in math, marbles, and soccer while at the bottom in penmanship.

There, Hubbs lived, by chance, next to the first hippy commune in France, played with their rock band in avant-garde nightclubs in Paris as the drummer to great reviews, met members of the Living Theatre, and came to see and know more than a child his age probably should.

Gregory Hubbs in France with a hippy and a status on castle grounds.
Appropriately blurry, hanging out wearing beads with a French hippy who was part of a commune also living on unkept castle grounds near Paris in 1969 — after a year of intense travel.

Thanks to his adventurous and well-educated parents, by age 10, Gregory could thus lay claim to having been tugged through more Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Greek, and Roman temple ruins, cathedrals, mosques, and museums than his peers. He had initiated an expansive reading of folklore, mythologies, religious texts, literature, and history that profoundly influenced his future education, imagination, perspectives, and identity as a world citizen.

Teen Years Abroad

Between 14-15, Gregory attended a French public high school in southern France on the Italian border. He discovered how little he knew and how overwhelmingly friendly students and other locals living on the French Riviera can be to Americans willing to speak and respect their rich language and culture.

At 16, he volunteered to help reconstruct an ancient watermill deep in the French Vaucluse mountains and a castle in Burgundy through a French organization that specializes in the preservation and restoration of heritage sites called REMPART, in the same rugged manner by which they were initially constructed, and based upon the experience, he wrote one of the first articles published by Transitions Abroad magazine in 1977.

When Hubbs graduated early from an American high school in the college town of Amherst, Massachusetts, he spent a semester of cultural immersion study and travel with college students in Toulouse, France. The program included a homestay with a hospitable French family via the Experiment in International Living program. During his free time at ages 17-18, Gregory's imagination was pushed to its limits by his daily work and obsession with the translation of the many visionary and influential Symbolist poems of Charles BaudelaireArthur Rimbaud, Stephane Mallarmé, and other French poets idolized by American Beatnik writers, as well as the most well-read pop/rock/folk music lyricists such as Dylan, Jim Morrison, and Patti Smith, classical composers including Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Alexander Scriabin, as well as a range of seminal art movements, including the Modernists, Surrealists, and as icons to countless diverse writers, including T.S. Eliot, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, W.B. Yeats, Marcel Proust, Rainer Maria Rilke, Virginia Woolf, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Gertrude Stein, Sylvia Plath, Gwendolyn Brooks, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Henri Miller, William Carlos Williams, and Jorge Luis Borges.

Many subsequent years as a high school and college student backpacking with a Eurail pass through Europe on a meager budget every summer preceded and ensued with occasional visits to his parents' modest 12th-century watchtower in Tuscany to work using his otherwise useless muscle for money in return for restoring tall thick crumbling walls of medieval and even Etruscan origin.

Gregory Hubbs helped restore this Tuscan watchtower with his father.
Our humble 3-floor watchtower (the bottom floor had been for horses) was on the town walls of a hilltop village in Tuscany near Florence and Siena, overlooking San Gimignano. We had a modest garden full of wild herbs, artichokes, and a fig tree, with views of endless hills, grape vineyards, olive trees, lush green fields, and other Medieval towns.
The tower, whose soul we carefully sought to retain as we restored it, spending as little as possible over 40 years, was built upon ancient thick stone walls. Gregory worked like Hercules for his cheapish father in return for minimal pay that funded many memorable European summer adventures backpacking.

Student Years Abroad

Between the ages 18-22 Gregory enjoyed other summers that included sleeping on a Rome rooftop that overlooked the Castel Sant'Angelo and the skyline of The Eternal City while reading in Italian, listening to the music of Vivaldi, Scarlatti, and Verdi, after memorable days and nights walking through the lively streets and squares eating gelato with Romans at Giolitti.

Gregory Hubbs visiting the Ancient Greek amphitheater of Epidaurus on the Peloponnese.
During one of his many odysseys through Greece, on an extremely hot day, Gregory visited the Ancient amphitheater of Epidaurus at Peloponnese, and imagined acting in a play by Sophocles, Aeschylus, or Euripides 2500 years ago — he had seriously contemplated and was often encouraged to become a likely hungry actor during his student years.

Gregory's academic background includes a bachelor's degree in a self-created curriculum centered on the History of Ideas, an extremely humbling and deliberately challenging interpretative study of various geniuses across the ages. In addition, he wrote his thesis on French Symbolist poetry while at Hampshire College, taking most core classical and modern literature and philosophy courses at Amherst College, Smith College, and Mount Holyoke College as part of the unique and unparalleled Five College Consortium in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Hubbs undertook intensive graduate studies at the University of Paris, Sorbonne, in French and Comparative Literature and German Idealist and Existential Philosophy. While living in Paris, he read voraciously in several languages and visited museums daily while walking the city. He attended numerous seminars and talks at the University of Paris, Collège de France, Institut Catholique de Paris, Science Po, École normale supérieure, and elsewhere with then-fashionable philosophers and critical theorists such as Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, and Gilles Deleuze as well as poets/essayists such as Yves Bonnefoy.

From his diverse education and through the profound influence of his parents and the many famous and even iconic writers, artists, intellectuals, and academic colleagues who came to dine at our house — as my European mother cooked French and Italian cuisine exceptionally well and is blessed with boundless intellectual energy, while my father was a wine connoisseur with a very warm, wise, and witty personality — Gregory was raised as an intellectual with a keen simultaneous sense of idealism, irony, and the absurd. As a result, Hubbs intensely recognizes that our brief time on earth and the opportunities to learn, think, and enjoy life are not for him a motivation for travel as a competition to count countries visited, but rather for cultural adventures, the cultivation of sensitive observations, spontaneous conversations with locals and expats alike, and ever respectful communal celebrations.

Looking Forward

After many years wandering the world solo and en famille, Gregory first studied at University of California, Berkeley Extension and then consulted in Information Technology in San Francisco and New York City, which still allowed for extensive long-term travel and financial freedom but somewhat restrained the desired total immersion in the passionate pursuit of interests overseas while honoring his father's influential work. Now editor-in-chief, he is pleased to travel as much as possible while working with experts in their respective fields, professional travel writers, and contributing freelancers towards continuing the evolution of  as a premier no-nonsense web publication dedicated to work, study, travel, living, internships, and volunteering abroad.

In 2014, he was honored with an invitation to the Obama administration's initiative to get young Americans to go abroad in greater numbers for a variety of reasons at the White House Travel Summit on Study Abroad and Global Citizenship.

Immensely proud to be the son of Dr. Clay Hubbs, the founding editor, and publisher of Transitions Abroad Publishing, Inc. (founded 1977). Gregory Hubbs assumed the role of web content editor in 2004 and Editor-in-Chief in 2010. Gregory seeks to bring his father's years of visionary work to a broader domestic and international audience, while ultimately extending the scope of the original mission by adding his own extensive experience and expertise, which is evolving from travel and learning at all stages of his life.

To contact Gregory Hubbs and interview him, you may email him at
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