The Treads That Bind Us

By Janet Semenova, Founder of Travel Boutique Advisors

It has been 16 years since my mom passed away from cancer and I can still feel her absence so acutely in various moments of each day that it is as though time has not moved at all. As I navigate this journey without her I have clung to the threads of her memories real and imagined which I allow myself to sparingly indulge in. 


Of all the life lessons she taught me in our 19 years together it was the legacy she left behind that gifted me with a passion for adventure that I am most grateful for. From the day my children were born I have struggled with how I would pass on her legacy and impart a deep compassion for suffering and appreciation for inner beauty without having them live through inexplicable trauma and loss themselves. I wavered between wanting to shelter them from pain and loss while exposing to the suffering of our fellow humans and the planet itself. 

As I navigated life and motherhood I slowly realized that I have found a way to keep her close to me wherever I go because her spirit has infused the very fabric of my life's choices. I was living her dream and in doing so introducing her to my children. I realized that each one of the dozens of adventures we have embarked on has been a learning experience enriched by the memory of my mom. In passing, she left behind a roadmap for me to follow although I had never realized it was there embedded in my heart and now in the hearts of my children as well.


Through traveling they have developed a consideration and appreciation for the world they could never have learned from a textbook, a field trip or a beautifully sheltered life. In meeting children in Costa Rica for whom we collected clothes and shoes they understood early on that with privilege comes responsibility and that people are defined not by their social status or race but by their actions and spirit. By participating in beach clean ups, observing endangered species in their natural habitat and seeing first-hand the devastating effects of overdevelopment they learned eco-stewardship. They made friends abroad despite speaking different languages and experienced World Heritage Sites rather than seen them in photos. 

My children will never meet my mom but her values and love will forever guide them. On each of our adventures we have reconnected as a family, struggled together to overcome fears and preconceived notions, failed, succeeded, taken risks and made incredible lifelong memories. I do not know what struggles and disappointments lie ahead of them but I am confident in their ability to adapt and learn from each experience. 


I hold steadfast to my belief that prejudice, bigotry and fear are traits that are taught to our children through ignorance and if we show them that the world is full of wondrous colors, cultures and immense beauty we can eliminate the bias and support them in creating a better world. The threads that bind us to our past and to lost loved ones are also the fabric of our future. 

kelsey bumsted