Pair of 81-year-old best friends travel world in 80 days: ‘An epic adventure’

‘Love the joy for life,’ one follower says

Chelsea Ritschel
New York
Monday 10 April 2023 21:38 BST
81-year-old Texas best friends travel around the world in 80 days

A pair of 81-year-old best friends have amassed thousands of fans and followers after documenting their trip around the world in 80 days.

Sandy Hazelip, a physician and lecturer, and her best friend Ellie Hamby, a documentary photographer, set out for their adventure on 11 January, according to their blog “Around the World at 80,” which the duo have used to document their travels.

According to the friends, their first destination was Antartica, which meant crossing the notoriously rough Drake Passage, a body of water located betweenthe southernmost tip of South America and the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica, aboard a ship.

In a blog post written from their first destination, the friends, who live in Texas, recalled how their once-in-a-lifetime trip was sparked by a “passing remark from Sandy to Ellie five years ago”.

“We were sitting around the table working late one night, and Sandy said, entirely out of the blue: ‘Ellie, why don’t we take a trip around the world in 80 days when we are 80,’” the pair remembered of the moment they decided to embark on the trip.

After Antarctica, Hazelip and Hamby travelled to Easter Island, a Chilean territory known for its archaeological sites, and then to Argentina.

According to the pair’s blog, their visit to Argentina in February replaced their previously planned destination Peru.

“Because of political violence in Peru and especially in the Machu Picchu area, we had to cancel this portion of our trip. We have the travel philosophy ‘just go with the flow and enjoy the journey - even if it is not the journey we planned.’ That is what we did, and what a fun journey we had in Argentina, our ‘substitute destination,’” the duo wrote, adding that they enjoyed dancing and horseback riding in Argentina.

From there, the friends visited Finland and the North Pole, as well as the Colosseum in Rome. After a trip to London, Hazelip and Hamby journeyed to Zanibar, Zambia, and Egypt, where they saw the pyramids and rode camels.

After more than 40 days of travelling, the 81-year-old friends visited India, and after that, Nepal, before they made their way to Japan in March.

By 21 March, the longtime friends were in Bali. However, it wasn’t their final destination, as the pair made it to Australia by April.

Overall, Hazelip and Hamby, who have also documented their travels on Instagram and TikTok, where they have accumulated more than 52,000 followers, visited 18 countries across all seven continents. During their journey, they were often seen wearing matching T-shirts.

As for the best part of the trip, which lasted more than three months, Hamby told CNN that it was the people she and her friend met along the way.

“We love all the sights that we saw, but the things that we remember the most are the people that we met,” she said. “We met some of the most wonderful, kindest, friendliest people in the world. We just have friends now all over the world that we love dearly.”

She also noted that the trip was not a vacation, but rather an adventure. “We always say when we started this, we did not plan a vacation,” she explained. “We planned an adventure. And every single day was an adventure.”

On social media, the duo’s trip has inspired hundreds, with many applauding the pair for embarking on the life-changing travels.

“This is so neat! Love watching and following along with you both on your travels!” one follower wrote, while another said: “Love the smiles [and] love the joy for life. Keep on going!”

“I love the sense of adventure!” someone else wrote.

Others said the trip had inspired them to embark on their own travels, with one person writing: “Your videos bring me such happiness and inspiration. I’m 59 and fear getting older but you prove anything is possible!”

While reflecting on the one thing that helped them communicate in every country, the women told CNN that it was their smiles.

“You know, people ask us often about the language, how we manage it,” said Hamby. “We say with Sandy and Ellie, there’s one language and that’s a smile. And we found that worked wonders because we were often aware that there was not English spoken. But a smile covers all languages.”

Although the pair have since returned home to Texas, they told the outlet they are already planning their next trip.

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