Cat and Bella

Cat and Bella are the first mother/daughter team we’ve met traveling long-term. When we first started talking outside Thiksey monastery in Ladakh, we thought we were chatting with two sisters. But soon we discovered that Bella, the short spunky lady, was only 11 years old (with the attitude of a 25-year old). We immediately hit it off and arranged to hire a jeep together for the next three days to visit Nubra Valley.

Ladakh was Cat and Bella’s first introduction to India. The perfect place to ease in and minimize the culture shock coming from Europe, where they spent several months traveling after leaving their home in Albuquerque, New Mexico this summer. They’ll be gone for one school year, but that doesn’t mean vacation pure for Bella – or for Cat as a matter of fact.

Homeschooling, or rather hotelschooling, is part of their daily routine. From art education (Bella’s favorite is drawing Japanese-style cartoons, which comes quite easily with her mom being an art teacher), to spelling, to calculating the circumference of a circle. Cat teaches her everything a 6th grader should know. Even in Nubra Valley, Bella had to do her writing exercises and ponder math problems.

But honestly, who cares about math when the world is your classroom. What better way to prepare for Real World 101 and Intro to Humanity than traveling around the globe. That’s the stuff Bella can’t pick up from books, and it makes Cat an excellent teacher for realizing it.

I really admire Cat. She’s a single mother with a mortgage to pay but she’s still living her dream. For everyone who thinks traveling with a child might be impossible or even scary, it can also be a lot of fun – just look at Bella.

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