Two octogenarian best friends from Texas went on an adventure of a lifetime, traveling around the world in 80 days.
Sandy Hazelip and Ellie Hamby, both 81, recently returned home after the 2-and-a-half-month trip that started in Antarctica and took them to a World Wonder, the North Pole, and all the way Down Under.
The adventure began as an idea in 2020 when the two friends were working their respective jobs in Hamby’s kitchen one evening and Hazelip came up with the outrageous idea of traveling for as many days as their ages.
“Ellie, we both love to travel, our health is good, we travel well together,” Hazelip said according to the “Around the World at 80” blog. “So wouldn’t it be fun to go around the world in 80 days when we are 80 years old?”
It would take nearly two more years for Hazelip, a doctor, and Hamby, a photographer, to start their journey as COVID-related travel restrictions affected their trips to most of their planned destinations.
“By postponing until 2023, we will be able to include the Antarctica trip that was in our original itinerary,” the two grandmothers said, who met each other 23 years ago during a medical mission to Zambia the two women told CNN.
The trip started with a plane ride to Argentina on January 11, when they would get on a 60-person boat to cross the Drake Passage in order to reach the least visited continent and walk with penguins.
From there, the adventure took them to Easter Island to see “the mystical island, full of beauty at every turn,” along with the namesake statue heads or Moai.
The friends traveled with their own small entourage composed of a physician and photographer who helped document all their destinations through their blogs and various social media accounts.
The two-year postponement allowed for better budget planning which allowed them to get great deals on their hotels.
They even slept in airports just to make their flights on time.
“You do not have to stay in the big chain hotels. In other countries, the best hotels are local places,” the pair told TODAY, claiming the average costs of their hotels were $29 a person. “They may not be a hotel. They may be someone’s home. They may be just small little places, but those are the best buys and the most fun.”
The adventure of a lifetime did come with some hiccups, which forced some last-minute changes to the itinerary.
“After leaving the mystical Easter Island, we planned to go to Peru and take the train to Machu Picchu,” the friends wrote in a blog post from February 5. “Because of political violence in Peru and especially in the Machu Picchu area, we had to cancel this portion of our trip.”
They then traveled to Northern Europe and the Arctic Circle where they met reindeer, rode a husky-pulled sleigh and saw the remarkable Northern Lights
The second leg of the trip took the friends to the historic landmarks of Europe, including the Roman Coliseum, Sistine Chapel, Notre Dame and Buckingham Palace before heading south to Africa.
In Africa, Hamby visited the island of Zanzibar, checking out the historic port the spices which have led to the semi-autonomous providence to be dubbed “Spice Island.”
Zanzibar led them to Egypt, where they explored The Great Pyramids.
They went on to see India’s Taj Mahal before traveling to visit the breathtaking views of Mount Everest and Mt. Fuji.
The Land Down Under was the final portion of their journey trip, taking in the sites of Sydney and The Great Barrier Reef before heading back home to Texas on April 1.
For those thinking it was a once-in-a-lifetime trip, the best friends are not done and are already planning another one.
“We are planning another trip, So it’s going to be something when we’re 82 in 2024,” Hazelip revealed to TODAY.
Hamby and Hazelip’s trip is inspiring others to go on their own adventure
“My sister (single) and I (widowed) are trying to go to every continent. We’ve been doing this for 8 yrs now! We’re in our 30’s – let’s go, ladies!” said one photographer on TikTok.
“Bucket list,” another person said.
Many other commenters were saying the many destinations the friends visited were bucket list items for their own adventures.