WHO ARE WE? – MyShittyBackpack™

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WHO ARE WE?

All of us riding bikes on the malecon of La Paz, Baja, Mexico on a beautiful evening
This is us on the malecon of La Paz.

Welcome to our backpack family. We are a French/American family and we live in La Paz, Baja, Mexico, a beautiful place with wonderful beaches and warm (or hot!) weather year-round.

My two older sons and me hugging. The background is green with lots of trees
This is me (Christelle) with my wonderful older sons. They live in Europe.

The journey

In 2011, when our two younger kids were 8 and 10, we bought one-way plane tickets to Mexico, rented our cosy home in idyllic Durango, Colorado and left without any plan other than Quintana Roo as our first destination. We did not know we would end up traveling to different countries on different continents, among which South America stood out.

The purpose of our travels was to expose the four of us to different cultures and lifestyles - shedding some old and useless beliefs on the way, as we went from Mexico to Guatemala on buses, then further South - and to eventually experience life in a non-western country not only as tourists but also as residents, which are two different things.
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The path led us to Vilcabambaa small traditional village with a wonderful local culture nestled in a tropical valley of the Andes, in the South of Ecuador, where we felt at home.

The front yard of our rental house was a paradise of bamboo, mango, avocado and passion fruit trees, and a beautiful creek ran behind the house, just 7 blocks from the main plaza.

Our 9 year old daughter standing in the middle of her school friends in the classroom in Ecuador
Our children attended a great Ecuadorian elementary school for 1.5 years.

Our 11 year old son sitting in the computer classroom with his classmates in the Vilcabamba elementary school
They got to learn Spanish and adapt to a totally different culture at a young age.

Our 9 year old daughter taking a foot massage class in the North of Thailand.
Our daughter loved taking foot massage classes in Pai, in the North of Thailand.

Needless to say the four of us were permanently transformed by this experience.

Our complete travel blog since 2011 is here.

Backpack love story

MyShittyBackpack™ is a very recent family business where all of us contribute motivation, ideas, suggestions regardless of their age. Even grandma loves this backpack and is helping out. In a way, our travels gave birth to this backpack out of experience.
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Three of my kids hugging at a restaurant in Tenerife
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I had been looking for the perfect backpack on line and in stores for 15 years, reading hundreds of bag descriptions and thousands of reviews, with no success. I am a patent translator and my work started going down as Google was progressively taking over.

A mentor told me that in order to find my new job I would have to figure out what it is I like to do when I feel sick or discouraged and take this interest seriously as a business. This applies to anybody actually. For me it was browsing backpacks on the internet! Mix this with a need for back pain relief and I had all the ingredients for a new career at over 55 years old.

Backpack requirements

So, I needed a very practical and durable backpack both for everyday life and travel that would:

  • organize my keys and cellphone perfectly,
  • have an external water bottle holder for hikes,
  • be nice looking,
  • very comfortable to wear (to relieve my back pain),
  • not too big or too small - just the right size for daily use
  • reliable and classy enough for everyday use in town,
  • durable for travel,
  • weather-resistant (actually many customers are in rainy UK!)
  • breathable and non-sweaty for hikes, horse rides and bike rides,
  • low profile and inconspicuous so that I can carry valuable electronics without attracting attention,
  • plus in natural fibers and washable!
That’s a ton of details. Some quality brands came close to fulfill them but not close enough. Maybe you've been looking for something like this too?
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The backpack is taken on a wonderful horse ride in Baja. We are on a steep downhill with green scenery.
First backpack sample on a horse ride in Baja.
The model has seen a few improvements since then.

The handmade episode

Tired of the search I finally came up with my own design in 2016. I got on a plane to Oaxaca, Mexico and was able to find a master-weaver there who agreed to weave my complex backpack (some weavers turned down my project). It was just for my own personal use. I had no plan on making it a business back then. The weaver loved the design and later on suggested I turned this project into a business 😱.

What ended up coming out is an amazing handmade backpack that is now for sale on another website. It's the same design as this backpack but it is not this backpack here. Keep on reading!
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This shows the Mexican hand woven version of the GoApe backpack. It’s beige with geometrical designs in kaki. A real work of art.
It’s the same backpack as the GoApe, but hand woven.

Finally, the hemp backpack

In 09/2019 I decided to have the exact same model made industrially in hemp and cotton, since I've had a life-long love for hemp (hemp was not available in Oaxaca). It’s the GoApe backpack here. All in all this design ripened in my mind for 15 years and came to completion recently. Click here if you wish to check out the backpack. 
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This is me sitting at a teak table in my front yard. The hemp backpack is on the table and I am wearing a straw hat and drinking coffee from a beautiful Colombian mug. Palm trees in the background.
It is nice to sit down and empty the mind for a moment.

The website

For now this store has only one backpack model in one color. Now that this product is available, my promise to you is that I will do all I can to provide a friendly and personal customer service at all times. I will treat you as I would my best friend or a family member. 

So far there have been only 5 star customer reviews. I do not filter out any reviews. 

This website is also about spreading the word on the extraordinary plant that is hemp. It is a plant of the past and of the future, much more so than cotton or wool. We should really switch to hemp for many of our daily needs like paper, clothing, accessories and even for industrial purposes.

Anybody is very welcome to communicate with me. Click here if you wish to contact me privately, or leave a public comment below the reviews.

Please forgive the imperfect English. My mother tongue is French.
 
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Thank you for visiting. 


heers!
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