Maybe most of us struggle when it comes to finding out what we really want to do in life. We had been wanting to start a new business for over 15 years and yet there was no inspiration forthcoming about what type of business to embark on, until... a meditation mentor that Christelle was following said to look at what we specifically enjoy doing, if anything, when we are sick, depressed or just not feeling well. Where is our place of comfort in challenging times? This can be where our talents reside if we are looking to start a new job or business. This applies to anybody! Christelle loves to check out bags online when she is under the weather...

For over ten years she was looking for the perfect practical backpack for daily use as a purse-type carryall that would leave her hands free for shopping and allow her to organize her keys in a very unique and convenient way. There seems to be so many people who are tired of misplacing their keys or having to fumble at the bottom of their bag to find them! Christelle used to be one of those. She also was one of those who experienced back pain when carrying a shoulder bag. She bought and sold many bags yet she never found the perfect one. Could this really be her new job? How strange!

During the spring of 2011 the main source of our family income, Christelle’s translation business, began to drop off. At the same time her older son was encouraging us to meet him on his 3 month planned journey the following year somewhere in Mexico or Central America. Then a mutual friend, Doug, called us up out of the blue and started talking up Latin America also saying we should visit there and that our kids would love it. The common denominator was that these two individuals were very instrumental in encouraging us to get together 11 years earlier. 
This was our house in Durango
Christelle told Peter that “Now Doug is also telling us to go to Central America.” Peter responded with something like “Your job is drying up so how can we afford to take an extended vacation to Mexico or wherever when we cannot even make ends meet here? We are using the credit cards to get through the month.” Christelle shrugged and replied that “It’s those same two guys. It must mean something. That is all I know. We have to do it.” Then in a moment of clarity Peter saw the truth to the situation and had a realization that maybe they could swing it if they just rented out their two homes and that income might provide enough monthly cash flow to travel with an open ended schedule. With no real plan essentially.

 This is us and all our gear in Chiapas.

We began to travel in earnest leaving Durango, Colorado, on the winter solstice of 2011 with one way plane tickets to Cancun, Mexico. The previous six months were very hectic, almost crazy at times. Despite all the hurdles like maxing out the home equity line of credit, completing all of the unfinished home improvement projects, the perpetual six week yard sale, selling all of the vehicles in order to pay off the credit card debt, and the night sweats, everything fell into place. 70% of our material possessions went away. The rest was put in storage before we left. 

San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico.

The bus route to Lago Atitlan in Guatemala

Our travel plan was to search for a new locale where we could survive on roughly $1000/month. Both Mexico and Guatemala proved to be too expensive for our budget. Six weeks after leaving Durango, just as our travel money was dwindling down to zero, we landed softly in Vilcabamba, Ecuador which we called home for the next 16 months.

 The Mandango above Vilcabamba

We put the kids into a local school with essentially zero comprehension of the Spanish language.

Getting out of the school "13 de Abril " in Vilcabamba

And it was very hard at first, but in time they began to understand and then life slowly became quite idyllic.

Soccer with our neighbours

Bridge close to our house

In front of the church in Vilcabamba

Then we visited Thailand for three months before returning to Colorado for one year.A footbridge in Pai near Chiang Mai

This is Christelle and her 4 fantastic kids in Bangkok in 2013

Click here for our complete travel blog since 2011.

We basically returned to complete the material possession purge and sold most of our remaining belongings including all real estate.Then we chose to explore Mexico some more. We lived in San Martin de las Piramides very close to Teotihuacan, Mexico for eight months.

The pyramids of Teotihuacan near Mexico City

Then el camino led us to La Paz, Baja California Sur.

Playa Balandra in La Paz, BCS.

One day Christelle discovered some remarkable bags made in Oaxaca while shopping in San Jose del Cabo, Baja California Sur.  Then she had an idea for a special backpack (the perfect backpack in her mind) that nobody was making and in 2016 she went to Oaxaca in search of weavers to hand weave her idea into fruition. The weavers asked her if she was going to sell this backpack. She hadn't thought of that yet. She immediately said yes, because it sure was a good idea.

The church Santo Domingo in Oaxaca

  A traditional waist loom weaver downtown Oaxaca

Among other features, she wanted a backpack with an innovative elastic key fob. After 1.5 year of trial and error, the final version of this backpack is now available on this website, among other backpacks she discovered in Mexico.


Above two photos taken in Salento, Colombia

Our customers love our exclusive Pazeña™ key holder feature, they say it simplifies this aspect of their daily lives. They no longer have to look for their keys or fumble in their bags! She called this backpack "Hazaña" because it is very hard to sew together considering all the different features it has. Hazaña means a feat or exploit. Some weavers actually refused to make this backpack for its complexity both at the weaving and sewing levels. Click here to see a detailed description of this backpack. Clicking on the following pictures will take you to  short videos showing how this backpack works:


These quality unique articles have made a long journey in many ways not only through the ancestral artisan craft handed down from generation to generation that is evident in the product line, but also the path that led us to start this business. Each weaver works out of their own home like they always have. At Pazeña we value their work and respect their lifestyle and talent. And you, the shopper, have also made long journey to be here right now perusing these lovely items.

  • For more information on how and by whom these backpacks are made, click here and here.
  • Click here if you would like to know what is the meaning of "ethical" in our business.
  • This Pazena website is hosted by Shopify, a secure platform. If you would like more info on the security of Shopify websites, this is a link that might interest you:
  • Feel free to contact us for any inquiries by phone or SMS/WhatsApp at +52 55 45 95 06 51 (Mexico), by email at, through our Message Us button at the bottom left corner, or through our contact form at the top of the home page. We love to read messages and respond to our customers.
  • For any other practical details, check our FAQs.
  • Follow us on InstagramTwitterFacebook, and other medias at the bottom of this page.

Thanks for visiting.

ethical brand - ethical business - ethical bag brand - ethical backpack - ethically made backpack - ethically produced backpack - fair trade bag - fair trade bag brand - slow production backpack - slow production bag - slow production brand - slow production business - small batch brand - small batch business - small batch bag - small batch backpack - small production brand - small production business - small production bag - small production backpack - zero waste brand - zero waste business - zero waste bag - zero waste backpack - minimal waste brand - minimal waste business - minimal waste bag - minimal waste backpack - buy ethical bag on line - buy ethical backpack on line - buy fair trade bag on line - buy fair trade backpack on line

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published



Sold Out