28-year-old Cameroonian American Lee Litumbe is the founder of Spirited Pursuit; a digital platform that creates and produces travel inspiration and information for adventurous individuals seeking authentic travel experiences. After a recent trip to the deserts of Namibia, Lee shares what makes travelling so special to her.
Although I have spent majority of my life living in Atlanta, GA, I was born and spent my childhood in Douala, Cameroon. I was a quintessential tomboy. I climbed mango trees in my compound (much to my Mum’s dismay), embarrassed the boys by outrunning them in every relay race in primary school, and rode my bike around my neighbourhood.
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 favourite hobby outside of travelling and I’m also still very much a tomboy – albeit one my Mum can finally get to wear dresses without coercion.
One of my biggest goals has always been to challenge myself to explore more countries within Africa and to educate myself on the history of the people and cultures that exist within them. I’m passionate about showing others that Africa is not defined by the poverty, conflict, disease, and socio-political issues that are constantly projected by the media, and I am eager to help create stories and resources to help take the anxiety out of traveling within the continent.
With that said, I recently quit my corporate day job to pursue that dream full-time. I’ve just moved to Africa to travel and explore the continent, to focus on documenting Africa in a way that I hope will attract more tourism and investment – not just charity. A few countries in particular I’m eager to visit are Senegal, Zambia, Mozambique and Morocco. Tunisia is also very high on the list.
I’m often asked why I travel (frequently by myself), especially with Africa now on the horizon for me. And my answer is always the same. Why not? 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 the city to see the glorious strokes of reds and oranges created in the sky while the sun sets.
I hardly ever take the time to explore new routes and neighbourhoods, 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.
Check out Spirited Pursuit here