Two octogenarian ladies embarking on the journey of a lifetime: exploring the world within 80 days

Demonstrating that it is never too late to explore the world, two lifelong friends are embarking on an extraordinary adventure. Eighty-one-year-olds Sandy Hazelip and Ellie Hamby, who drew inspiration from Jules Verne’s “Around the World in 80 Days,” have set out to visit all seven continents, nine Wonders of the World, and 18 countries in just over 80 days.

Thus far, they have made remarkable progress, having traveled to Antarctica and flown over Mount Everest on March 4th, according to their CBS News interview. Hazelip mentioned that their journey was initially intended to begin two years ago.

“I said ‘Ellie, don’t you think it would be fun for us to go around the world in 80 days at age 80?'” Hazelip, a physician, recalled.

“I thought ‘What are you talking about, Sandy? Are you sure?'” Hamby, a documentary photographer who runs a medical mission, added.

“And then (Hamby) said ‘Well, yeah!'” Hazelip said. With that, a plan was born. The coronavirus pandemic and its restrictions forced them to delay their trip, but in 2023, the two finally got underway, packing light and traveling cheaply to see as much as possible. 

“We don’t travel first class. And so when we have other ladies, especially who say, ‘Oh, I would love to travel with you two,’ the first thing I always do is look at their hands. If they are well-manicured, they do not want to travel with us,” Hazelip said. 

Hamby said their families are supportive of their big dreams.

“My daughter is not too concerned,” Hamby said. “She just says ‘Well, if Mom falls out of a hot air balloon in Egypt or off of the mountain … That’s fine. She’s living the life she wanted to live, and I’m happy for her.'” 

Although this is the trip of a lifetime for the duo, it is not their first excursion together. They first encountered each other nearly twenty years ago while traveling in Zambia and became fast friends.

Despite their knee replacements, they are now traveling to various locations, including China and Argentina. Hazelip aspires to inspire people of all ages with their story.

“Don’t sit in that chair and waste away,” Hazelip said. “If you don’t use it, you lose it.”