Home News Travel Texas best friend, age 81, goes viral for traveling to 7 continents in 80 days: ‘Make some plans and live’

Texas best friend, age 81, goes viral for traveling to 7 continents in 80 days: ‘Make some plans and live’

0
Texas best friend, age 81, goes viral for traveling to 7 continents in 80 days: ‘Make some plans and live’

Two 81-year-old besties from Texas just returned from the adventure of a lifetime—a trip around the world. They hit all seven continents in just 80 days.

“We never missed a day, the whole 80 days,” Ellie Hamby, 81, of Abilene, Texas, told Fox News Digital. “We never woke up and said, ‘Oh, we’re just too tired. Let’s stay in bed.’ Never. We got up every morning and were ready to take on the next adventure.”

Ellie Hamby of Abilene, Texas, director of Zambia Medical Mission, and Sandy Hazelip of Eastland, Texas, a physician specializing in geriatric medicine, met while on a medical mission trip 23 years ago. The pair have been friends ever since.

PENNSYLVANIA COUPLE TRAVELING ALL OVER THE GLOBE SHARE AMAZING PHOTOS, STORIES FROM WORLD TRAVELS

“About four or five years in anticipation of our turning 80, I just mentioned to Ellie, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun when we turned 80 to go around the world in 80 days?’ Ellie’s eyes got big and she said, ‘Well, yes.'”

The pair soaked up inspiration from the 1872 adventure novel “Around the World in Eighty Days” by Jules Verne. Their original plan was to travel “around the world in 80 days at the age of 80” — but COVID put those plans on pause.

friends travel the world in 80 days

Ellie Hamby (left) and Sandy Hazelip traveled to all seven continents together in 80 days. Both women are from Texas and are 81 years old. They’ve been friends for over 20 years. (Ellie Hamby)

They waited out the pandemic—and then adopted the motto “81 and still on the run” for the trip that finally happened this year, from January through March.

The two women hit 18 countries.

“Sandy and I planned everything ourselves,” Hamby said. “We went by ourselves. We planned every hotel, every flight.”

THESE FOLKS LIVE IN VANS: HERE’S THEIR LIST FOR ULTIMATE ROAD TRIP ESSENTIALS

And they did it on a budget.

“Our average hotel [cost] was $29 a night for each of us,” Hazelip said.

“She’s more daring than I am, but hey, I’m a doctor.”

Sandy Hazelip

That price bought them some experiences of staying in what they said were “some of the greatest places in the world.”

Hamby said, “They weren’t American or fancy European hotels at all. They were local places that were just adorable, and the people are wonderful.”

AIR TRAVEL MADE BETTER: 20 RULES OF AIRPLANE ETIQUETTE NO ONE EVER TELLS YOU (BUT SHOULD)

The two were scheduled to fly to 19 countries, but ended up traveling to 18 due to political unrest in Peru that shut down some of their destinations, including the historic Machu Picchu (one of the world’s seven wonders).

around the world in 80 horses

Ellie Hamby is showing riding a horse in Argentina during her trip with her best friend of 23 years around the world. “We had fun. I rode horses and Sandy did the Tango,” Hamby said. (Ellie Hamby)

But that didn’t faze Hamby and Hazelip—they just went on to Argentina.

“We had fun. I rode horses and Sandy did the Tango,” Hamby said.

around the world in 80 days tango

Sandy Hazelip dances the Tango dance in Argentina during a trip to seven continents in 80 days. (Ellie Hamby)

The trip started off in Antarctica, where they had to cross the daunting Drake Passage on an expedition ship.

On the two-day trip, they encountered 20-foot waves.

“Once you put your feet down on the soil of the Antarctic, it’s all worth it,” Hamby said. “You see God’s beauty, the penguins, the icebergs. It’s just an amazing place to be and to see.”

MAN SPENDS 8 MONTHS ON TINY ISLAND, CAPTURES KING PENGUIN STORY IN ‘A YEAR ON PLANET EARTH’

The next stop was the opposite pole—the Arctic Circle and Lapland, Finland.

“It was so exciting to actually get to witness the Northern Lights,” Hazelip said. “That was just absolutely an exciting moment.”

around the world in 80

Through their blog, “Around the World at 80,” and their TikTok account of the same name, Ellie Hamby (left) and Sandy Hazelip (right) have gone viral and made headlines. (Ellie Hamby)

While the trip was filled with planned experiences, such as a hot air balloon ride over Luxor, Egypt, there were a few unexpected moments — such as a relaxing dog sled ride that turned lively, Hamby said.

“These dogs were lined up and then all of a sudden somebody gave a command and they took off,” she added.

“We were totally not expecting this and we went about several miles with these dogs through the woods as fast as we could. We’d make corners and we’d have to hold on for dear life. And, after it was all over, I was like, ‘Wow, that was fun,'” Hamby said.

“It’s just the experience of meeting the people and just knowing that there’s goodness all over the world.”

Ellie Hamby

Another unexpected delight, the women agreed, was swinging over the rice paddies in Bali.

“We were just going up to the mountains with our driver and went past a sign that said, ‘Happy Swing.’ I said, ‘Well, why don’t we turn around and just see what that is. And we did. We were the only ones there. They pushed me out a long way. That was an exhilarating, fun time,” Hamby said. .

Hazelip admits that her friend is slightly more adventurous than she is.

“Ellie does more exciting things than I do,” Hazelip said. “She’s more daring than I am, but hey, I’m a doctor. I think preventive medicine.”

SECRETS OF STAYING AGELESS: FOUR FLORIDA SENIORS REVEAL HOW TO HIT A HOME RUN FOR GOOD HEALTH

But Hamby said Hazelip never tries to hold her back from activities or interests.

“She won’t tell me I can’t do it,” Hamby said. “She may say, ‘Oh, are you sure you want to do that?’ We work together that way. But she still can out-dance me any time on the Tango.”

around the world in 80 Egypt

Ellie Hamby and Sandy Hazelip take a hot air balloon ride over Luxor, Egypt, during their trip around the world in 80 days at the age of 81. (Ellie Hamby)

In addition to the single swing out over the rice fields, Hamby also allowed a Python to wrap itself around her. She went snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef, too, Hazelip pointed out.

Along the way, the two visited Easter Island, the spice islands of Zanzibar, the Great Pyramids of Egypt and the Taj Mahal.

SECRET OF AGING WELL? ONE 74-YEAR-OLD WORKS OUT REGULARLY AND ‘RETAINS A SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE’

Then they made their way to view the majestic Mount Everest and Mt. Fuji—and so many other colorful places in between—before rounding out their trip in Australia.

around the world in 80 Taj Mahal

Ellie Hamby and Sandy Hazelip gaze at the Taj Mahal in Agra, India — one of the seven wonders of the world. (Ellie Hamby)

On each continent, Hamby and Hazelip found different places meaningful to each of them.

“I thought the island of Bali was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen, with its beautiful bird park, butterfly park, orchid park,” Hazelip said.

around the world in 80 Bali

Ellie Hamby and Sandy Hazelip stopped in Bali, where they visited historical structures and wildlife parks. (Ellie Hamby)

Hamby said one of her favorite destinations was a place she hadn’t thought would make such an impact on her.

“Tasmania was just a most gorgeous [place],” Hamby said. “It’s a very small island. And it was just a surprise that it was so beautiful. And nobody that I’ve ever heard of goes to Tasmania.”

“Age is just a number. So don’t say, ‘I’m this age, I can’t do it.'”

Ellie Hamby

Hazelip said she felt the same way.

“Tasmania, of course, is an island surrounded by beautiful beaches and ocean and then has gorgeous mountains and waterfalls,” she noted. “It’s just unreal.”

Hamby and Hazelip said that what was most meaningful to them was not an individual place—but rather the people they met.

THESE FOODS CAN HELP YOU LOOK AND FEEL YOUNGER, EXPERTS SAY

“We had lots of cultural experiences because the way we travel, we’re not traveling with other tourists,” Hamby said. “We got invited to homes. This was really, really encouraging. We made great friends.”

She added, “I just got an email this morning from [someone] To install Bali. It’s just the experience of meeting the people and just knowing that there’s goodness all over the world.”

laughing in bali

The two friends are shown laughing it up in Bali – one of the many destinations they reached in 80 days as they toured the world. (Ellie Hamby, Sandy Hazelip/Around the World at 80)

The women, who are both mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers, said their families are mostly supportive of their adventurous lifestyle.

“Step out of your comfort zone. Make some plans and live.”

Sandy Hazelip

“Mine are used to me traveling, and they’re travelers, too. We think most people really just kind of smiled and didn’t think the trip around the world would actually take place,” Hamby said.

MARRIED DELTA PILOTS SHARE THE SECRETS OF WORKING TOGETHER WELL, PLUS TIPS FOR TRAVEL WITH A PARTNER

“And that surprised everyone.”

around the world in 80 monkeys in Bali

The good friends “take a selfie” with a monkey in Bali in 2023. (Ellie Hamby)

Hazelip’s family has a few more reservations.

“My family worries about me a little bit when I’m traveling with Ellie because they know what a daredevil she is,” Hazelip said.

She had to “check in often,” Hamby said of her friend.

“If we fall off an iceberg in Antarctica or off a mountain, our husbands are waiting for us in heaven. So, it’s all good.”

Ellie Hamby

Both agreed that the feeling of being out in the world, doing their own thing, was very freeing.

“It was such a great, great joy,” Hazelip said. “For the last 40 to 45 years, I have not had or taken that opportunity. I’ve stayed very focused on — in addition to my family — my patients and their families and their needs. This was a total ‘woo hoo’ for Me.”

“We’ve always told everyone that we didn’t go on a vacation,” Hamby said. “We went on an adventure.”

around the world in 80 planes

The two friends, 81, said they have no plans to slow down. The women are capturing attention following their adventure to seven continents. “Age is just a number,” said Ellie Hamby. “So don’t say, ‘I’m this age, I can’t do it.'” (Ellie Hamby, Sandy Hazelip/Around the World at 80)

Through their blog, “Around the World at 80,” and their TikTok account of the same name, Hazelip and Hamby have been getting attention from people young and old, with one video from their trip going viral at 1.1 million views.

10 SAFETY TIPS TO REMEMBER IF YOU’RE TRAVELING OUT OF THE COUNTRY FOR SPRING BREAK

Hamby and Hazelip said that at their age, few people have wondered about the potential dangers from two older women traveling the world alone.

“If we fall off an iceberg in Antarctica or off a mountain, our husbands are waiting for us in heaven,” Hamby said. “So, it’s all good.”

hiking in antarctica

“Step out of your comfort zone. Make some plans and live,” said Sandy Hazelip. (Ellie Hamby)

“Sandy and I both had wonderful husbands and great marriages,” she added. “We’re blessed.”

When asked if they are still recovering from their 80-day trek, the answer was a resounding “no.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“No, no. We just don’t exhaust,” Hazelip said.

around the world in 80 Easter Island

The friends make a stop at Easter Island in Chile. The pair run a travel blog titled, “Around the World at 80” and a TikTok account of the same name. (Ellie Hamby)

Hamby and Hazelip hope to encourage others, no matter their age or stage of life, to have an adventure of their own.

“Age is just a number,” Hamby said. “So don’t say, ‘I’m this age, I can’t do it.'”

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR OUR LIFESTYLE NEWSLETTER

Hazelip said it’s all about taking life into your own hands.

“My encouragement is, ‘Get up out of that easy chair,'” Hazelip said. “‘Step out of your comfort zone. Make some plans and live.’

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here