Two octogenarian ladies who have just finished circumnavigating the globe in 80 days have become famous on social media.
Ellie Hamby and Sandy Hazelip began their adventure on January 11, flying from Dallas to Ushuaia, Argentina, the launchpad to Antarctica. Hamby and Hazelip braved 20ft waves crossing the Drake Passage on their way to the Seventh Continent and posed with penguins once they got there.
Since then, the widowed best friends from Texas have traveled to every other continent, finishing the trip by exploring the Grand Canyon before returning home to Texas for the weekend.
During nearly three months of travel, Hamby and Hazelip rode camels in Egypt, tossed coins into the Trevi Fountain in Rome, took a selfie with a long-tailed macaque in Bali and rode a dog sled around the Arctic Circle. Arctic.
And they’re not even tired, they told USA TODAY in a video interview from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
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“Holidays are tiring. You get exhausted on vacation,” Hazelip said. “It’s not a vacation, it’s an adventure, and an adventure just makes you want to go on more.”
Hamby and Hazelip have been friends for about 20 years. When both of their husbands passed away several years ago, they became even closer and started taking trips together.
The two were sitting together one night when the idea for a bigger adventure came to Hazelip.
“Ellie, why not go around the world in 80 days when you’re 80?” Hazelip recalled. Hamby was shocked for a few seconds, thought about it for a few seconds and then blurted out, “Why not?!”
The two began planning, but the pandemic briefly got in their way and forced them to change their goal of traveling the world at 80 and doing 81 instead.
They even created a new catchphrase: “Now it’s around the world in 80 days at 81 and still on the run!” they said in unison.
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When they started talking to friends and family about their travel plans, Hamby estimates that about 20% of people really believed they would.
“Most people smiled at first thinking we wouldn’t really do this,” she said.
Fame on social networks
Not only did Hamby and Hazelip complete the trip they set out to plan, but they gained quite a few fans along the way.
Videos of their adventures have over 800,000 likes on TikTok and they have around 43,000 followers.
“You are both amazing!!” a user wrote. “Have fun and take care of each other!”
Another wrote that their “husbands look at you with full hearts and open arms and can’t wait to hear about all the adventures you’ve been on.”
The couple said all the love from people around the world has come as a pleasant surprise.
“It’s been so wonderful for us to get comment after comment that we bring joy into other people’s lives, encourage them to get up and do some of the same things, and inspire them,” said Hazelip. . “It just gives us great joy that we’ve been a joy to others. And they feel like they’re on our journey with us.”
Flexibility, optimism fuel adventure
Of all their adventures, the women say Bali stands out for its beauty and budget. They thought Antarctica was a remarkable experience and they felt lucky to catch the Northern Lights when they were in Lapland, Finland.
During their entire trip, they said they had never lost a single piece of luggage or even gotten into a fight.
There were a few minor hiccups, however.
Three days before they were due to start their trip to Peru, it had to be canceled due to political unrest. So they went to Argentina instead.
“Sandy did the tango and I went riding and we had a great time,” Hamby said.
Flexibility and optimism were key to all the smooth sailing, they said.
For example, they accidentally got on the wrong train in Japan.
“We didn’t just freak out,” Hamby said. “We just said, ‘Okay, well, let’s find a plan B, how are we going to make this work? And that’s basically our attitude. ‘OK, it doesn’t work, and we just go to plan B. We sometimes go to C, D and E and several other plans.’
They also take liquid antacids every morning. “And we don’t get sick,” Hamby said.
‘Get up from this chair’
Among the most exciting experiences was the time the women went for a dog sled ride and got more than they bargained for.
“We just took off and we’ve covered several miles,” Hamby said. “And we were taking turns, it was minus 4, so it was so cold. And we just didn’t know it was going to be this adventurous… We were holding on for life.”
Now that the couple are safely back home, they hope others will be inspired to go on their own adventures.
“My advice is to get out of that chair, get out of your comfort zone, make plans and live,” Hazelip said. “Your age is just a number.”
So what’s next for globetrotting octogenarians?
Humby said, “85 years old and still alive!”