Two far from normal

Two adventurous and inspiring women made their way to BD


[Cate and Michelle do not use their last names on their website, so they will not be used in this article]

Cate and Michelle were two spunky teenagers who loved music and spent their time discovering local artists and bands when they had met on a tour bus. A mutual friend of theirs had a wild idea to gather 12 like-minded friends, rent a tour bus and follow the Pat McGee Band for seven days on their Winter Tour.  After the seven days they went their separate ways and left behind the unforgettable friendship they’d formed.

They were soon reunited in New York when Michelle moved their a few years later.

“We had been living in New York City for about eight years, and even though we both had interesting and challenging careers, we were feeling very disconnected. Disconnected from ourselves, from the lives around us and from our country,” Cate said.

Cate decided to change that and spent nine months in 2012 and 2013 traveling extensively outside the US in London, Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Peru and Ecuador learning about different cultures and the way people interact with each other.

After talking with each other, they made a huge decision.

“We decided it was time to learn more about the different cultures that are so vital to the diversity and strength of our own country together and try to understand why we seem to have such a hard time working together as one,” Cate said.

Traveling, to them, is about connecting and re-connecting with themselves, our country and those that call this place home.  They wanted to see long lost friends and family, meet new people in new places and learn about their lives and communities.

They learned quite soon that their idea for traveling was more than brilliant.

“In just the first month on the road, people have shared stories with us they hadn’t told even their closest friends, shown us the hidden gems in their hometowns, and welcomed us into their homes as if we were family,” Cate said.

Cate and Michelle had made several short trips along the East Coast, but it was not until this past September that they took their first long distance trip together to beautiful California.

Once they had traveled to so many places it was hard to distinguish which was their favorite.

“It is like asking which of your children is your favorite! Each place has been so different and unique in its own way. We have many treasured stories and experiences, but a few really stood out to us,” Cate said.

Before Cate and Michelle decided to take their trip, they had made a list of the things they wanted to and attending a Friday Night Lights football game was one of them.

“Michelle and I grew up in small towns (Michelle in North Carolina, Cate in Maryland) and one of our fondest memories was going to the local high school football games. Cate went to the games with her dad, ate hot dogs and cheered for the teams whose names her dad always knew.  Michelle loved the cool fall nights with her friends as they cheered on her hometown Eagles,” Cate said.

They were staying with a friend in Broad Ripple and they asked him if there were any Friday football games around.  Fortunately, we had a football game that Friday and we were the chosen one.

Little did they know that it was our Homecoming game against Lawrence Central, so they were very lucky.

After arriving they soon realized what a great choice they made.

“We loved it. We felt at home from the moment we arrived. We could tell the Giants wanted the win, and, even more importantly, wanted to defeat the current state champions. A perfect set up for the game,” Cate said.

While there they were intrigued by BD’s big vivacious family.

“We were immediately struck with the sense of community. Everyone came together to support the football players, the marching band, the color guard, the cheerleaders – and each other. There was collective concern when a play didn’t go well for the home team, and collective euphoria when it did. We spent most of the time in the bleachers.  It was like one big family; everyone was talking to each other,” Cate said.

While walking around they ran into Assistant Principle Mike Lile and shared each other’s journeys.

“We loved talking with Mr. Lile and learning about his journey through Ben Davis, first as alumni, then returning to teach and now as an administrator. He is so passionate about what he does, but more so about the Ben Davis family. You don’t see that every day!  We watched groups of friends come and go from the game talking and smiling and laughing. The excitement and energy were infectious,” Cate said.

For those of you who aspire to travel and learn about different cultures and communities in your future, Cate and Michelle share some personal advice that could really help.

“Simply: Do it. Try new things. Push yourself beyond your limits. Don’t be afraid to try. You have the ability to be whoever you want to be. Don’t find yourself, create yourself. Allow yourself to be inspired by yourself and by others. Traveling teaches you to be more social, compassionate, accepting, flexible and understanding. It forces you to think and live outside your comfort zone. It challenges you and those around you. Ask questions. The best way to learn is through conversation and curiosity. Study beyond your books,”

Traveling is powerful. Whether it is a weekend trip to a town near where you live, a trip across the ocean to a new country, or jumping in your car and driving for three months just take the chance, like Cate and Michelle. These two women decided to take a leap of faith and it changed their life drastically for the better.

If you are as intrigued by their story as I was, their contact information is below:

Email: [email protected]


Instagram: twofarfromnormal