A couple of dearest companions from Texas are demonstrating that experience doesn’t have an age limit – in any event, when you’re 81.
Ellie Hamby, a documentary photographer, and Sandy Hazelip, a physician and lecturer, traveled the world in 80 days, exploring everything from Bali’s beaches to Egypt’s deserts.
According to the blog that the two octogenarian grandmothers have been using to keep track of their travels, they began their ambitious adventure on January 11.
Their first stop was a place that even many seasoned travelers have trouble finding: Antarctica.
The Drake Passage, the notoriously rough waters between the South Shetland Islands in Antarctica and the southern tip of South America, had to be crossed before reaching the continent’s southernmost tip.
In an interview with CNN, Hamby stated, “We were a rocking and rolling and slipping and sliding through the Drake Passage and we were holding on for dear life.” It was simply wild.
She recalled, “But when we stepped foot on the ground on the Antarctic, you forgot everything.” The magnificence of the Antarctic is only fantastic to see the penguins and the ice sheets and the glacial masses – just, this was astonishing.”
The two have traveled to 18 nations across all seven continents since their initial excursion, frequently donning matching T-shirts. Additionally, they have amassed a devoted following on TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook who follow the “traveling grannies.”
CNN reported that Hazelip met Hamby following the death of her husband in 1999. She claimed that prior to his passing, he “sown the seed in my heart that we should start taking our grandsons on mission trips in the summer.” This brought her to Hamby and her husband’s project in southern Africa called the Zambia Medical Mission.
The two became close friends as a result of their shared interest in traveling and determination to place unique experiences ahead of comfort and convenience when they traveled. After Hamby’s husband passed away in 2005, they became closer as widows.
According to Hazelip, the idea for their trip came about a few years before each of them was expected to turn 80.
She stated, “I just got the idea because we had previously traveled together internationally.” I said to her one day, “Ellie, wouldn’t it be fun to go around the world in 80 days at age 80?” about four years before we were going to turn 80.
According to Hamby and Hazelip’s website, the trip was devoted to their late husbands, Kelly and Don. They write, “We miss you and wish you were joining our adventure.”
Initially, the two wanted to land in 2022 when they were 80 years of age. ” Also, Coronavirus shut those plans down,” Hazelip went on. ” However, Coronavirus didn’t close us down. As a result, we attended this year, and our theme was “At 81 and still on the run.”
The two of them have traveled to Egypt to ride camels, Bali to meet elephants, Nepal to dance, and Finland to see the Northern Lights.
Additionally, despite the difficulties of international travel, the best friends claim to have concluded their trip without arguing.
We are both very independent and obstinate. However, it appears that we give each other space,” Hamby stated. We just get along with one another, know that what we’re doing is good, and kind of respect each other’s feelings.
The people they met along the way were for Hamby the trip’s high point.
She stated, “We love all the sights we saw, but the things we remember most are the people we met.” Some of the kindest, most wonderful people we’ve ever met came to visit us. We just now have dear friends spread out across the globe.
“We generally say when we began this, we didn’t design a get-away,” she added. ” We planned an excursion. Furthermore, each and every day was an undertaking.”
Despite the fact that Hamby and Hazelip have returned to Texas, they told CNN that they are already planning their next trip.
In addition, they gave a very important piece of advice to anyone who was concerned about the language barrier on their own travels.
Hamby stated, “You know, people ask us frequently about the language and how we manage it.” We agree with Sandy and Ellie that a smile is the only language. We discovered that this worked wonders because we were frequently aware that English was not spoken. However, a smile can speak any language.
In addition, they exhorted other older travelers not to let their age hold them back. Beside a few little concessions – like choosing not to ride a motorbike in that frame of mind of worries about falling – they said their age didn’t influence their schedule abroad. According to Hazelip, they expressed confidence that their children “would have been at peace knowing that we were doing what we absolutely wanted” if they were injured during their trip.
Hazelip portrayed 81 as “the ideal age” to leave on their excursion.
She stated, “A little bit of wisdom in decision-making does come with age.” That’s the fun part, then. At this age, I think I can really just take in the beauty because I appreciate it so much. Also, for my purposes, this was the ideal age to go. I am so grateful.”