A very famous quote acclaimed to be by St. Augustine states, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page”. This is a true sentiment that has driven the wild at heart and the courageous of spirits to burst out of their comfort zone; to explore the multidimensional facets of mother earth, to experience life irrevocably, and to free their wandering souls out into the unknown. The world of the unknown is vast and limitless and travelling launches everyone into this unknown space. In the past, travelling was somewhat of a personal experience, sometimes detailed in a personal diary or a travel journal with the hopes of inspiring future familial generations and friends. However, with the new age of dynamic technology, sharing adventure and travel stories with the world has become somewhat easy. People can now feed off of the experiences of others at the comfort of their home. One such platform where people are able to freely share their perspectives and stories on cultures and places is Spirited Pursuit. Clear in its mission to be a visual experience for travel lovers, the founder, Lee Litumbe, has been able to creatively collect visual stories of travel adventures documented by people in photographs and written text. This assembly of dynamic and deeply nomadic stories inspires so many adventurous souls at heart to travel and experience the world they live in. With a lot of interest in the mission statement of Spirited Pursuit, we approached Litumbe, who humbly answered all of our inquiries.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
My name is Lee Litumbe and I’m a 26 year old Cameroonian American. Although I have spent majority of my life living in Atlanta, GA, I was born and spent my childhood in Douala, Cameroon being a quintessential tomboy. Climbing mango trees in my compound (much to my Mom’s dismay), embarrassing the boys by outrunning them in every relay race in primary school, and riding my bike around my neighborhood are just a few of my favorite memories from that time. While I’ve come a long way from climbing mango trees in my spare time, I’d like to think that I have maintained the same keen curiosity, spirit of mischief, and sense of adventure for life and the world that surrounds me. Reading is probably my favorite hobby outside of traveling and I’m also still very much a tomboy – albeit one my Mom can finally get to wear dresses without coercion.
What is Spirited Pursuit? And what inspired its creation?
Spirited Pursuit is a lifestyle and online destination that works as a visual daydream and inspiration source for the wild at heart and travel obsessed. In an effort to provide a platform for other’s to share their individual perspectives, I founded Spirited Pursuit to also work as a creative space where I could write and curate dynamic stories and captivating photography. Heavily driven by my own personal interests, the website focuses on adventurous, cultural, and international experiences from a community of spirited world travelers.
For as long as I can remember, travel has been a major part of my life. My parents own a travel management company in Douala, and I was lucky enough to be exposed to travel and cultural diversity at a very young age. It’s difficult to say what specifically inspired the website’s creation because I have always been passionate about travel. I love sharing information, I have a great appreciation for beautiful photography, and am fascinated by the world. I guess it was just a matter of me connecting the dots.
Also, I would be remiss not to mention that at the time when I began seriously focusing on the site’s development, I was experiencing my first heartbreak, suffering from a severe bout of depression, and felt completely alone and unfulfilled in my life. Instead of continuing to pour myself into a relationship that was going nowhere fast, I decided to channel that effort and energy back into myself and into something that could uplift others.
What interests you most about travelling?
In my day to day life, I rarely wake up with the intent of watching the sunrise, or rush to find the best spot in Atlanta to see the glorious strokes of reds and oranges created in the sky while the sun sets. I never take the time to explore new routes and neighborhoods, hoping to meet eccentric locals that can share interesting tidbits about their life with me. Sometimes, I don’t even make eye-contact with the stranger that walks past me, because I’m in too much of a rush and fear they will want to stop and have small talk (I should note, small talk for any introvert is an overwhelmingly draining task). Travel frees me of these habits and reminds me to appreciate both the mundane and exciting, while encouraging me to engage with those that surround me. The thrill of navigating new worlds, salivating over different culinary experiences, meeting local and foreign people, and trying new things is what incites me most about travel. I am inspired by the similarities and differences I encounter across geographical landscapes whenever I travel, and travel to seek understanding from cultures, races, and religions that differ from my own.
What is one advice you have for individuals that want to start travelling, but don’t know how to start?
It sounds cliché to say, but it’s really as simple as just pulling the trigger and doing it. Serendipity only works when you are open to it, so don’t over-plan and have a rigid itinerary. Pick a place or an activity that interests you, buy a ticket, and then go explore. Find a local willing to guide you and recommend things to you, and it will enrich your experience tenfold.
Do you have a favourite place you’ve travelled to? Tell us your fondest memory of this place.
I don’t have a favourite place, because everywhere I’ve traveled to has a favourite memory attached to it. How could I choose between a month long trip throughout South Africa where I traveled alone or the once in a lifetime opportunity to swim with wild dolphins in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Zanzibar? I couldn’t. Just as it is impossible for me to value the experience of eating homemade South Indian curries while in Mumbai over savoring the authentic Injera and Wot I ate in Addis Ababa. What I will say is that my favorite place on Earth is Cameroon. Besides the obvious fact that it is my home country, I have never experienced a place that lives life in as many exclamation points as Cameroonians do. It is a country of passionate people, delectable food, vivid colours, beautiful landscapes, and a vivacious spirit.
What do you hope Spirited Pursuit is able to accomplish in the future that has presently not been accomplished?
Something I’m consciously working towards is to document the continent of Africa in a way that will attract more investment and tourism, not just charity. Some people might see posing with “exotic” indigenous people or volunteering with various missions as a way to boost their online persona (and/or resume) and demonstrate how “cultured” they are, but in most cases I see this as predatory. While I strongly encourage everyone to explore and expose themselves to new people and cultures, as well as serve communities that need help, it is imperative that a certain level of respect and dignity be established and maintained. One of my hopes is to not only redefine the way the world views Africans, but also improve upon the way we Africans see ourselves. Through Spirited Pursuit, I want to consistently publish engaging stories and images that will counteract the negative propaganda that currently exists and has been perpetuated by those who aim to further their own agendas.
I want to show others that Africa is not defined by the poverty, conflict, disease, and socio-political issues constantly being projected by the media. Of course these issues exist, but to quote Jon Collins who was recently featured on the site, “People need to know that Africa is a continent of immense resilience and strength, where no matter the tribe or religion, the language or the people, there is a sense of community and unison unlike anywhere in the world. From Cape Town to Cairo, the one thing that unites the great diversity of the continent is the spirit and pride of African people. It is exhibited in the face of children going to school, a mother harvesting crops with her baby carefully tied to her back, a young man brushing off his crisp suit on the commute to work, in the excitement of every football game and the endless spectrum of colours in every marketplace.”
It is ultimately my goal to inspire others to go and see this beauty for themselves.
To follow Litumbe on some of her personal travel adventures, click and view the slideshow below.