Spirited Pursuit is one of those sites that you can get lost in for hours, scrolling from article to article, filling your wanderlust and escaping into different worlds. With a mission to not just share more than just your typical travel stories, Lee Litumbe really knows how to shape a narrative with photography and words. We had the honor of chatting with her to hear why she started the brand, advice for those who want to start their blogging journey and how she's working on consciously documenting the stories of Africa in a different light.
For those who might not know, can you tell us a little bit about Spirited Pursuit and what you want people to gather from it?
Spirited Pursuit (SP) is an intercontinental digital platform that shares positive travel stories, captivating photography, and curated city guides across various regions worldwide. Since I focus primarily on covering beautiful and culturally rich destinations that normally go largely under or inaccurately represented by Western media, my goal is to challenge what readers think they know about each featured country in addition to inspiring them to travel to regions they may not have otherwise considered. While I share my own personal journeys and experiences on the site, Spirited Pursuit also serves as a creative space where other photographers, local experts and spirited world travelers can share stories surrounding their own personal travels. If there was one thing I’d hope for others to gather from the site, it would be inspiration to get out into the world and travel. If we can do it, so can you.
By the way, we love the name. What was the inspiration behind it?
Thank you! I can’t take all the credit though because my two older sisters were instrumental in helping me come up with the name. I wanted something simple, memorable, and effective that could embody the spirit of what I hoped to build without being gimmicky or pretentious. As a result, I focused on brainstorming for a name that aspired to evoke passion. Not just passion for travel, storytelling, and photography, but something that also conveyed the amount of relentlessness and dedication I believe it takes to live a purpose-driven life.
You’ve only been blogging for a little over a year but have already gained a really strong following, what advice would you give to others who want to start sharing more with the world?
The best advice I would give to others would be to speak on topic they truly love and are passionate about; mostly because you’ll need that passion to stay motivated when things get hard (which they will) or uninspiring. If your goal is to build a large audience, focus on producing quality and original content consistently. The people you hope to connect with will naturally gravitate towards your work if it’s genuine and honest, so don’t lead with trying to make money or being “popular”. I would encourage others to add value to the lives of their readers by solving a problem they might have, while being as creative and original as possible in the execution of their ideas.
As an aside, it’s important to remember that success never happens instantly. As the saying goes, it actually takes ten years to be an overnight success, so have patience in your process. We live in an age of instant gratification where everything happens immediately and comes seemingly easily, so I think there is a tendency for people to set unrealistic expectations for growth (I’m also guilty of this at times). Though I’m still in the infancy stage of my journey, I’ve quickly learned that building a sustainable brand online takes hard work, consistency, discipline, and time.
You do an amazing job at not just sharing travel stories, but really creating a visual experience. Tell us a bit about your thought process behind storytelling. When does inspiration normally strike for a new piece on your site?
Thank you! I wouldn’t say that I have a specific thought process when it comes to storytelling, I just make the effort to capture the essence of my surroundings in a way that others can also vividly experience the sights, sounds, textures, and flavors I’m exposed to.
Inspiration can come from any and everywhere. Whether I’m capturing the joyful innocence of children playing, the hustle and bustle of market life in foreign cities, or documenting vast landscapes, photography is also a big part of how I experience new destinations. Being a visual journalist forces me to find innovative ways to experience my environment– though it comes at the cost of me not always living in the moment because I’m always trying to capture it.
As a nomad, always on the move, what daily habits to you have to keep you grounded?
I wouldn’t say I have any specific daily habits (other than eating lol). However, one of my favorite things to do to maintain peace of mind is curl up in a cozy corner with a good book and a strong cup of hot tea.
What has been one of your most unforgettable trips?
I feel blessed to have traveled to several unforgettable places (Zanzibar, Namibia, India, and the Canadian Rockies being among my favorites), but traveling to Haiti most recently was somewhat life changing for me. Being able to explore such a beautiful country filled with culture and juxtaposition helped reinforce all that I hope to be able to do through my work with Spirited Pursuit: visit a place that is typically marketed as negative or dangerous, help take the anxiety out of traveling to said region for others, share the beauty of that region through photography, and encourage my readers to go experience it for themselves.
Spirited Pursuit is one of our favorite IG’s at the moment and the composition and captions are always on point. What are some accounts that you love?
Thank you! @grantlegan, @lily_rose, @anddicted, and @dapperlou are a few of my favorite instagrammers because they keep me inspired to see the mundane in innovative ways, explore more, and always keep things simple.
Lastly, what do you have in the works for Spirited Pursuit? Where do you envision the brand in a years’ time?
One of my biggest goals for the future is to challenge myself to explore more countries within Africa and the African Diaspora, 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 being projected by the media, and I am consciously working towards documenting Africa in a way that will attract more investment and tourism, not just charity. A few countries currently on my radar to visit in the near future are Senegal, Mali, Mozambique, Seychelles, Zambia, and Morocco.
Interview and text by Sienna Brown. Sienna Brown is the founder of Las Morenas de España. From New York to Murcia, Spain, she is constantly on a journey to inspire and be inspired while engaging in different methods of creation. Her passion for learning about others leads her towards constant exploration and practicing the art of listening as much as she can. See more of her work here and follow her adventures on instagram.