Ellie Hamby and Sandy Hazelip travel the world together. In past years, they have visited Siberia and Mongolia, on the longest train ride in the world. They traveled across Southeast Asia, taking trains and buses through several countries.
When traveling, the two opt out of any type of tourist excursions and live like the natives of the land they are visiting. They forgo any fancy hotels or transportation and immerse themselves into the surrounding culture.
“We are second class travelers,” Hamby said.
This year’s location: the Middle East.
“I’ve wanted to go to Petra my whole life,” Hazelip said.
Beginning in Romania, Hamby and Hazelip traveled through Bulgaria to reach Turkey, where their adventure in the Middle East began.
Hamby and Hazelip utilized public transportation, which, in the Middle East, means traveling by buses, trains, taxis, pickup trucks, unmarked cars, camels and donkeys.
Hamby photographed, while Hazelip wrote of their adventures. Excepting Hamby’s Nikon DSLR’s and a few lenses, the two women packed light for their travels.
“You can’t travel the way we do with very much luggage,” Hamby said. “It would be exhausting.”
The pair traversed “beautiful countryside” and dusty deserts. They resided in cheap hotels and even a Bedouin tent. But the most significant aspect of their journey remains the relationships they formed.
“We love the people, the culture,” said Hamby. “[Meeting them] was priceless, unplanned, and we wouldn’t trade it for anything.”