At 81, Ellie Hamby and Sandy Hazelip have proven that age is just a number by completing a world tour in 80 days.
Ellie Hamby and Sandy Hazelip, two best friends from Texas, have shown that age is just a number by embarking on a world tour at 81. The duo toured the world in 80 days, visiting 18 countries across all seven continents. Their journey began on January 11, according to a blog on Around the World in 80 Days, a website they created to document their travels. Moreover, they have gained a substantial following on social media and are affectionately known as the “traveling grannies”. The women started their ambitious adventure by crossing the Drake Passage to visit Antarctica.
Hamby, a documentary photographer, and Hazelip, a physician and lecturer, first met after Hazelip's husband passed away in 1999 when she joined the Zambia Medical Mission project that Hamby and her husband were running in southern Africa. They bonded over their shared love of travel and experiences, which eventually led to their trip around the world.
According to CNN Travel, their idea for the trip was inspired by Hazelip, who suggested it would be fun to travel around the world in 80 days at the age of 80. Their trip was dedicated to their late husbands, Kelly and Don, and they were planning to disembark in 2022 when they turned 80, but COVID-19 disrupted their plans. However, this did not deter them, and they went ahead with the trip anyway, with the theme of “At 81 and still on the run.”
During the last three months, the pair enjoyed a diverse range of experiences. They rode camels in Egypt, met elephants in Bali, danced in Nepal, and witnessed the Northern Lights in Finland.
Although they encountered various obstacles, the two best friends completed their trip without any disagreements. For Hamby, the most memorable aspect of their journey was the people they encountered. "While we enjoyed all the sights, what we remember most are the individuals we met," she expressed. "We met some of the world's kindest and friendliest people, and we now have dear friends all over the globe."
The duo offered some useful advice for travelers who are anxious about language barriers. They suggested that a smile is a universal language and encouraged other seniors not to let their age restrict their travels. Their age had no impact on their travel itinerary overseas. Hazelip referred to 81 as "the ideal age" for their adventure. "As you get older, you gain wisdom and make better decisions," she explained. "That's the enjoyable aspect. At this stage, I can fully appreciate the beauty and take it all in. This was the ideal age for me to travel, and I'm grateful for the experience."
Despite finishing their trip and returning home to Texas, the duo is already planning their next adventure. Their journey shows that age is not a barrier to travel and that it is never too late to explore the world and have new experiences.