Sandy and Ellie’s Excellent Adventure: Two 81-Year-Olds Travel the World in 80 Days

Sandy Hazelip and Ellie Hambry wanted to do something special to celebrate their 80th birthdays. When Sandy proposed a unique adventure for their milestones, her friend was immediately thrilled with the idea: to travel the world in 80 days for their 80th birthday.

The COVID-19 pandemic may have stalled the two friends’ whirlwind trip, but only briefly. After all, the two met in Zambia 23 years ago while on a medical mission and have been sharing journeys and adventures ever since.

Starting Their Journey

So, on January 11, 2023, at the age of 81 years old, the pair departed their Dallas, Texas homes and began their journey. First stop: Antarctica.

In a mere 80 days, their itinerary allowed the two to experience the northern lights of Lapland at the North Pole, a sleigh ride pulled by huskies in Finland, a hot air balloon ride in Egypt, camel rides in the deserts of Africa, the awesome ancient structures of Rome, a two-day ship ride across the treacherous Drake Passage, where 20-foot waves rocked their boat, and searching for wallabies in Australia.

The two documented their journey on their social media platforms and quickly gained thousands of affectionate and amazed followers. Many – including a fan in Rwanda and another in Colorado – invited them to visit them and stay at their homes. As the Rwandan wrote, “You 2 are amazing!”

Hazelip laughs when recalling her family’s reaction to their social media popularity. Her grandchildren would comment on her social media updates, “There’s my grandmother having fun!”

“We’re not wanting our comfort zone. We’re wanting an adventure,” Hamby explained. “We were together 80 days 24/7, and it’s just really made us even closer than we were.”

In fact, the two enjoyed their travels so much their even planning another! Hazelip revealed, “We are planning another trip! Something when we’re 82 in 2024. We’ve got some ideas about where we’re going and what we’re going to do, so you just need to stay tuned for the next adventure because it’s going to happen!”

Whether you plan on taking on an adventure and traveling the world or staying close to home, getting a Medical Air Services Association (MASA) plan is a smart idea. All too frequently, people are shocked when they receive huge bills for emergency medical transportation. MASA can protect you from catastrophic financial loss when emergencies arise at home or while traveling by covering your ambulance or airlift, regardless of your age or medical condition. Services are paid in full, with no deductibles, co-pays or dollar limits. MASA provides global coverage 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. NCRGEA and AMBA make getting a MASA plan easy. You can even sign up online. Learn more at or call 800-956-1228.