Travel infuses Cleveland couple
by Rory Doyle
Nov 29, 2012 | 2911 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Clevelander Dr. Macklyn Hubbell displays a map indicating the 125 countries he and his wife have visited since they became devoted travellers in the '50s.
Clevelander Dr. Macklyn Hubbell displays a map indicating the 125 countries he and his wife have visited since they became devoted travellers in the '50s.
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For some, when the travel bugs bites, there is no cure.

Clevelander Dr. Macklyn "Mack" Hubbell, 81, and his wife of 60 years, Elizabeth, were bit in the '50s and have been adventuring ever since.

The couple first fell in love with travel while attending graduate school in Switzerland in 1953 and have since visited 125 countries on the map.

Hubbell, who served as the senior pastor at Cleveland's First Baptist Church from 1962-1980, began taking his wife around the world thanks to his background in psychology and counseling.

"Through the International Mission Board, I was sent to provide professional help to the missionaries located in different countries," said Hubbell. "We've had so many amazing experiences living on five of the seven continents because of my assignments."

The Hubbells lived this exciting lifestyle for about 10 years before settling back in Cleveland — but the globetrotting never ends.

"Since 2002 onward we have been tackling our travel bucket list," he said. "We've had a long list of countries and places to visit for a while now."

Their most recent journey was one of their fondest — a two-week excursion in early November through the Hudson Bay arctic region of Canada.

"We were moving along real slow in our tundra-mobile and this giant polar bear came right up and stuck his head through the open window," he said. "I will never forget it."

One of Hubbell's favorite travel elements is developing a special connection with local wildlife; from close encounters with artic polar bears, walking among gorillas in Rwanda, sighting giant sea turtles in the Galapagos Islands, seeing a pride of lions in Africa or being chased by a family of baboons.

With all the incredible voyages, the Hubbells remain proud of their Bolivar County ties and enjoy sharing their stories with locals.

"Every day our lives are impacted by the travel experiences we've had," said Elizabeth. "We enjoy it when people approach us and are curious about our trips."

Hubbell frequently writes of their travels in a weekly Bolivar Commercial column, and he is also the author of books ranging in many topics — religion, philosophy, travel, restaurants, mini-essays and beyond.

"A lot of people in the area connect with his articles and his writing," said Elizabeth. "People are very curious about our vast world."

Hubbell, mostly retired, still provides counseling services out of his home, but he spends a great deal of his time as a torchbearer for community service.

He has worked closely with the court system to improve city beautification in Cleveland, and he also voluntarily teaches through a rehab program at the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman.

Hubbell also works with the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce to recognize quality courtesy workers from local businesses.

"My philosophy is that if you live in a community, you need to contribute to it," Hubbell said. "I want to do more than just pay taxes — I want to make a contribution.

"We are drawn to Cleveland because of the connections we've made with so many great people."

The appreciation for travel and service live strong in the Hubbell family, as they have for so many years.

Future destinations include Belgium, Holland, Greenland and everywhere else on the extraordinary bucket list.

"I always say, just live as long as you can live," he said. "As long as you are healthy, live as long as you can live."

Read Hubbell's column every Tuesday in the Bolivar Commercial.