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A Brief History of Transitions Abroad Publishing

Our Mission

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"Travelers and tourists, the distinction is simple: Tourists are those who bring their homes with them wherever they go, and apply them to whatever they see. They are closed to experiences outside of the superficial. Travelers, however, leave home at home, bringing only themselves and a desire to learn."

Those words were written in 1977 by Gary Langer, a 21-year-old budget traveler, in the first issue of Transitions Abroad magazine. In a few lines, he presciently summed up how the magazine/webzine, and travel, would evolve in the next 38+ years. Transitions Abroad was created as the antidote to passé superficial forms of commercial mass tourism, a magazine with the specific goal of providing information that would enable open-minded and empathetic travelers to actually meet the people of other countries, to learn about their culture, to speak their language, and to "transition" to a new level of understanding and appreciation for our fascinating world. The title was also meant to suggest the changes in our perspective that result from such cultural immersion travel.

Note: We believe that an absolute tourist/traveler distinction is unnecessary. Or, as Dr. Clay Hubbs wrote very succinctly after 30 years of editing and publishing Transitions Abroad:

"Since that time (1977) the traveler/tourist distinction has become something of a cliché, one that taken literally makes no sense. Outside our own country we are all seen as tourists; even we use the word tourist to describe the 'other guy.' What distinguishes one tourist from another is how we travel, not where or even why. What distinguishes Transitions Abroad readers from the other guy is a desire to learn from our hosts and openness to change."

Transitions Abroad was founded by Dr. Clay Hubbs, editor and publisher of the magazine and former professor and study abroad adviser at Hampshire College, Amherst, Massachusetts was driven by his endless curiosity, a desire to share, and an emphasis on integrity. Dr. Hubbs was particularly knowledgeable about the many educational travel options, working, volunteering, and living abroad. Clay was knowledgeable about both organized programs and individual custom paths selected by travelers and students of all ages. Clay's many ideas about the future direction of travel, based upon over 50 years of experience of all kinds, contact with thousands of travel writing contributors and editing of their works, a lifetime of reading (travel) literature, and many extended travels and residencies overseas, led to an emphasis on the "golden rule" in travel, living, work, study, or volunteering abroad.

As a result of the visionary foundation Dr. Clay Hubbs carefully devised, our editorial bent can be labeled "educational travel," "(slow) immersion travel," "cultural travel," "experiential travel," "expatriate living," "responsible travel," "conscious travel" or whatever terms you might favor, involving a combination of travel advocacy and actions that seek to benefit locals in their home countries at least as much as the visitor. Note: We see this in relativistic terms, as we know of few human cultures historically who live and act as some incarnation of perfection, and so seek to advocate and do the best we possibly can.

Transitions Abroad has always seen work, study, living, volunteering as other modes of the type of extended travel we have long espoused—more often than not likely to change your life and perspectives forever.

We also firmly believe that the shorter-term travel options available to individuals of all ages can be life-changing in their own way and are part of a continuum of educational experience.

Ultimately, educational and respectful travel generally leads to both mutual benefit and often fun for both visitors and locals.

Now into its well into its fourth decade, Transitions Abroad Publishing has spawned not only the influential magazine, but also a selection of other essential resources for the person who wants to travel, really travel, without being a participant in mass tourism. Transitions Abroad Publishing has also created critically acclaimed books on Work Abroad and Alternative Travel.

For over 38 years, Transitions Abroad magazine was the only publication dedicated to work, study, living, volunteering, and cultural immersion travel abroad. Its purpose was the dissemination of practical information leading to a greater understanding of other cultures through direct participation in the daily life of the host community. The thematic webzines—which can be read for free on our award-winning website—continue and expand upon the editorial of the print magazine which ceased print publication with the January, 2008 issue. In parallel, we constantly make available new content from experts in the field and participants alike in keeping with the prevalent desire for a constant flow of thoughtful information sharing. is being perpetually enhanced by Gregory Hubbs to reflect the depth and quality of the articles, program listings, best resources and links gathered and updated over the past 38+ years, even as we work to extend the scope exponentially with future versions which will include the latest technologies for database technology and social networking to extend the community. We are committed to expanding upon our pioneering publications and editorial—a prototype for those who have followed and imitated us in so many ways—while remaining the most comprehensive, no-nonsense web guide and webzine for work, study, travel, living, and volunteering abroad.

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