Two 81-year-old best friends have begun their expedition around the world

The two traveling mates recently embarked on their once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

By Paige Taylor, KACUFebruary 9, 2023 9:54 am,

From KACU:

Traveling around the world is something many people have on their bucket lists, and for two Texas ladies that dream is actually coming to life. When Ellie Hamby and Sandy Hazelip turned 80 years old they had only one thing on their minds: traveling the world. The duo met 23 years ago at a medical missions workshop in Dallas. Their friendship strengthened when Hazelip started traveling from her home in Eastland, Texas, to Abilene, where Hamby lives, twice a week for work. “So she calls me one day and said, ‘Hey if you’ll give me a bed two or three nights a week I’ll take you out to eat’,” Ellie Hamby recalls. “That happened in 2006, and we’ve been doing it ever since. And then we started making trips together.”

Although both Hamby and Hazelip have been travelers for the majority of their lives, they have never gone on a trip like this one, going around the world in 80 days. Their journey will take them to all seven continents, including Antarctica.

Hazelip first told Hamby about her idea for this trip five years ago, “And at first she kind of had big eyes like ‘ahh!’ and then about 30 seconds later, ‘Yeah that would be great’!”

Sandy and Ellie standing in front of the plane after arriving in Punta Arenas, Chile from King George Island, Antarctica.
Courtesy of Ellie Hamby

The original idea was to take this trip in honor of their 80th birthdays, but COVID-19 put traveling to a halt and altered those plans. They pushed their departure date to January of this year and now refer to the trip as, “81 and still on the run.”

Hamby and Hazelip did not use a travel agent and did all of the planning for this trip themselves. They consider themselves to be budget travelers and value experience over comfort, with their average hotel costing only $29 per person a night. They will travel to their destinations almost exclusively by plane.

One of their favorite parts of traveling is interacting with the locals. They say language barriers aren’t a problem. “When we smile at someone and they see these two old ladies I mean, everybody wants to talk to us and be friendly and help us and make sure that everything is great,” Hamby states as she giggles.

Hamby’s daughter, Sheryl Ramsey, says she doesn’t worry about her mother going on a trip like this, even despite her age, “I could never imagine my mother sitting in a hospital bed and just wasting away. If she’s gonna pass away or if she’s gonna leave this life let her do it on a camel or let her do it in a hot air balloon or going down the river. Whatever it is in her life. I feel like she- this was what makes her happy.”

Hazelip’s daughter, Barbara Lambert, shares the same sentiment, “This is just a very cool opportunity for anyone, but especially for people who are older, and I’m so proud of her.”

Hamby and Hazelip say they hope to bring home a few special souvenirs from this trip. Hamby reflects, “Just a greater appreciation of God’s world and the beauties of what He has given us.” Hazelip adds, “And the people in this world, no matter what culture they are.”

Follow their journey around the world on their blog.

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