When Texas best friends Ellie Hamby and Sandy Hazelip turned 80, they decided to celebrate the landmark birthday by traveling the world’s seven continents in 80 days.
The adventurous octogenarians, from Dallas, subsequently became famous on Tiktok, and Instagram after charming tens of thousands with their warm friendship and awesome spirit of adventure.
Starting in January, the ‘traveling grannies,’ who have been friends for 23 years, began their journey in Dallas, Texas, where they departed on their way to Antarctica, where they explored a land of ice and penguins.
That would have been the trip of a lifetime for many – but not for Hamby and Hazelip, who set about exploring the world’s other seven continents.
‘We went to the North Pole in Lapland and saw the northern lights and took a sleigh ride. We were in Zanzibar. We went to Egypt, India, Nepal, Bali, Japan, Rome and of course, London, too,’ Hamby told NBC5.
The pair pose with the Northern Lights – just one stop on their inspiring adventure around the world in 80 days
The pair, both widows, posted pictures of themselves to their TikTok account that amassed 50,000 followers and 900,000 likes.
Users saw Hazelip and Hamby wearing matching outfits on a swing in Bali, dancing in Nepal, being carried around in a rickshaw in India, and on a hot air balloon in Egypt.
‘People would ask us, ‘Do you have TikTok?’ Well, no. Maybe we should get this going,’ said Hamby.
‘Even when we arrived in LAX, two people came up and said, ‘You’re the TikTok traveling grannies.’ Yes! That’s us.’
The duo also found their way to Easter Island, saw the Northern Lights, and posed with wildlife including elephants and lions.
People around the world would stop the seniors and tell them they were an inspiration, which both said they would hold onto as they readjust to their lives in Abilene and Eastland, Texas.
Initially, the pandemic postponed the trip, so the friends were actually celebrating their respective 81st birthdays around the seven continents.
But they say the trip they spent years planning was worth the wait, all they needed was a slight name change to the itinerary: ’81 and still on the run’ became the official name of their tour.
Ellie Hamby poses with a lion in Zambia during her mammoth – but slightly COVID-delayed – 80th birthday celebrations
Ellie Hamby poses on a camel in Egypt during the mammoth trip she and friend Sandy Hazelip took to celebrate turning 80
The duo pose in matching red dresses on a swing in Bali, taking on adventures that would daunt many people far younger than them
First stop on the trip was Antarctica – but rather than settling for a one-destination trip of a lifetime, Hamby and Hazelip just kept going
Both agreed that their favorite part of the trip was the people they met along the way
‘The thing that has excited both of us is how we’ve brought people joy as they followed us on this adventure,’ said Hazelip.
The pair, who landed back in Dallas late last month, exactly 80 days after they departed, hope that they’ve inspired members of future generations to realize it’s never too late to go on the expedition of a lifetime.
After the trip, Hazelip said the pair are anything but worn out.
‘Vacations are tiring. You get worn out on a vacation,’ she told USA Today. ‘This is not a vacation, this is an adventure, and an adventure just revs you up to keep going more.’