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  About Us Bio of Dr. Joanna Hubbs

Biography of Dr. Joanna Hubbs

President and Senior Editor of Transitions Abroad Publishing, Inc.

Joanna Hubbs
Joanna Hubbs in Tuscany.

Dr. Joanna Hubbs, president and senior editor of, has been helping select and edit copy for the website since 2007 after the passing of her late husband, Dr. Clay Hubbs, the visionary founder and publisher of Transitions Abroad magazine in 1977.

In 2006 she retired as professor of Russian cultural studies at Hampshire College where she had taught since 1971 after completing her Ph.D. at the University of Washington. She received a prestigious Woodrow Wilson fellowship to pursue her doctoral studies.

Though offered teaching positions by many of the most prestigious traditional institutions of higher learning upon completion of her PhD in Russian Studies, Joanna was drawn to maverick Hampshire College due to its very strong stated commitment to free speech and social activism within the unique context of the 5-college consortium in Amherst, Massachusetts. Hubbs was one of the first faculty members hired at the college to help build a community of teachers and students—an environment in which learning, discussion, and debate would go on easily and continually, formally and informally, in the classroom and out.

Hubbs has written on topics ranging from alchemy to Russian folklore and literature. Her book Mother Russia: The Feminine Myth in Russian Culture is an interpretive study of Russian history from prehistoric times to the present. For her work, Joanna received the 1989 Heldt Prize for Excellence from the Association for Women in Slavic Studies.

Joanna was married for 48 years to former Air Force jet pilot, journalist, professor and study abroad advisor Dr. Clay Hubbs, who left Hampshire College to found, publish, and edit Transitions Abroad magazine. The couple lived and traveled all over the world, most often as nomads, and their son, Gregory Hubbs, continues to enhance and expand upon the award-winning website—which has been inspired by family and independent travel over the course of more than 70 of her 75 years. Joanna grew up in Europe, spent early years in England where she met the Queen, 10 years in Switzerland, having such neighbors as Charlie Chaplin in Vevez on the Lake of Geneva in her youth (Note: she does not know and would not wish her editor-in-chief son to drop a fraction of the names of the many famous people she knew and knows well, that her son regards her as the most intelligent and widely educated human being he has ever met, nor what a fabulous French/Italian cook she is!), and speaks and reads five languages fluently. She has lived in Italy, France, Switzerland, and England. She has traveled slowly and long-term in countries and regions such as Russia, Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans, most every Mediterranean and Scandinavian country, Africa and the Middle East—not including the countless countries she has visited for shorter periods of time during the course of cross-continental trips.

Hubbs has written two novels (including A Russian Affair), and is working on a third about the French visionary poet and adventurer Arthur Rimbaud, about whom she has written a poem below. Joanna has also published short stories in Europe. She plans to continue her fiction writing, poetry, and autobiography in retirement, in addition to continual travel, an insatiable appetite for reading, learning, and discussion, as well as other pursuits of interest such as fine cooking and dining. Joanna will divide her time between Amherst, New York City, and Italy—where she owns a very modest hilltop watchtower in a lovely Tuscan village located between Siena and Florence, full of very hospitable locals and expats.

Joanna is presently involved in selecting and editing articles and judging writing contests for To contact her or for interviews, please email her at

Selected Articles by Joanna Hubbs for Transitions Abroad
Slow Food in Tuscany
Off the Beaten Track in Florence
Affordable Paris: Rent an Apartment Then Have Your Cake and Eat it Too
Beyond Venice: Soaking Up the Wine, Cooking, and Culture of the Friuli
Travel to Eat: The Traditional Food Found in the Langue Region of Italy
Il Theatro Minimo in Florence, Italy: Amy Luckenbach's Magic Show Goes on the Road
Cooking in Tuscany: Hands-On Lessons in La Cucina Tradizionale
Book Review of Rome:The Second Time
Letter from Ethiopia: Visitors to Africa's "Best-Kept Secret" Receive Rich Rewards
Selected Poem(s)


His travels explode the confines of his mind
In the world of belles lettres he left behind
Infidele to that art like the boat he’d unmoored
He set sail to feel his senses ford
Sights and to pleasures so far beyond
What a poet might glimpse in one dreary day
In a Paris rebelling yet keen to betray
Still rigid with pomp and pretensions to spare.
For Rimbaud, repelled, there was no there there.
Through wide deserts he struggled amid painted tribes
Heavy gold he carried from commerce and bribes
Strange languages learned that new creeds reveal
Like Infidel poems but of substance more real
For a mind aflame which ever must bear
The pain of estrangement that burdens a seer
As the whirl of the universe churns to one will
Whose aim is unknown but whose form is too clear:
Macrocosm out there, microcosm here.

“Je est un autre.”

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