Blogger’s delight: Lee Litumbe of Spirited Pursuit

Lee Litumbe Spirited Pursuit

As the face and voice behind the popular travel and lifestyle website Spirited Pursuit, Lee Litumbe’s mission is simple: she is in spirited pursuit of travel, adventure, and new cultural experiences. Founded in 2014, Spirited Pursuit showcases dynamic travel stories, captivating photography, and curated city guides from culturally rich destinations. Geared towards curious and adventurous individuals seeking authentic experiences, Spirited Pursuit is quickly becoming the premier inspiration site for travelers.

As a visual storyteller, Lee uses photography to shape poignant narratives centered around cultural immersion and travel experiences off-the-beaten track. Driven by Lee’s Cameroonian roots, Spirited Pursuit’s primary region of focus is Africa. Other current geographic focuses include The Middle East, Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Oceania, with some additional coverage of Europe and North America. Accolades garnered include features in USA Today, The Guardian, and Ebony magazine to name a few. Additionally, Elle Canada named Lee among the most “Inspiring Instagram Accounts that Make You Want to Travel”.

Lee Litumbe Spirited Pursuit

With a blog that features photography, travel, adventure, and cultural experiences from you and many around the world, what led you to start blogging?

To be honest, Spirited Pursuit was founded as a result of my quarter life crisis. The idea for the website began to develop after I turned 25 and realized I had no idea where my life was going. During that time, I was working a job I despised, struggling to salvage a dysfunctional relationship, and battling a severe bout of depression which all left me with dangerously low self-esteem.

After spending several months curled up in bed feeling sorry for myself, my two older sisters encouraged me to get off my ass and get back to doing the things I love: traveling, taking photographs, writing, and just being creative.

Those passions combined with my desire to provide a platform for others to share their transformative experiences and stories with travel are what ultimately drove me to create Spirited Pursuit. The website now serves as my creative outlet, which has given my life a renewed sense of purpose and direction.

As seen on your blog, you are also a photographer, and a model. How have these hidden treasures furthered the success of your brand?

I think it just comes down to others seeing themselves in what you do. African (black) women are rarely used in major travel campaigns, so it’s a conscious choice to use myself as the face of my projects.

I want other young black girls and women to be able to see themselves traveling and being adventurous, while also giving readers the opportunity to connect with a real person. By using myself and my unique set of skills to capture destinations, I believe it makes my stories more relatable and attainable. It further demonstrates to my readers that if I – a young solo female traveler – can do it, so can they.Lee Litumbe Spirited Pursuit

Although I use myself as a subject, the narratives I produce always focus more on the place and experience, not so much me.

Have you been able to monetize Spirited Pursuit? If so, through what avenues? If not, do you have plans to do so or are you not interested in monetizing?

Spirited Pursuit began as (and still is) my labor of love, so initially there was no financial motivation. Early on, I made the difficult decision to keep our digital space ad free to maintain a positive user experience, choosing to accept donations at the discretion of our readers instead.

However, as the platform continues to see tremendous growth, I’ve opened up collaboration and partnership opportunities to like-minded brands, tourism boards, and publishers that are interested in promoting powerful travel opportunities to our community through creative advertising. I also separately offer my creative services (content curation/creation, creative direction, consulting, photography, and writing) to other brands interested in elevating the quality of their digital content.

Pursuing earnings without compromising my reader experience is important to me. I am consistently working towards finding a balance between keeping the lights on and maintaining a quality, minimally compromised, user experience.Lee Litumbe Spirited Pursuit What are your plans for Spirited Pursuit? Where do you want to take the blog/ brand in the future?

The goal is more travel, more stories and more inspiration – particularly within Africa and the African Diaspora. I’m passionate about building a community and platform that takes the anxiety out of traveling to Africa by creating informative and inspiring resources and guides. By curating content that shows others that Africa is not defined by the poverty, conflict, disease, and socio-political issues constantly being projected in traditional media, my ultimate goal is to attract more investment and tourism.

And by attracting investment, I mean compelling and propelling business opportunities within the continent, not just charity. Beyond that, I’d much rather show you than tell you, so please stay tuned for what’s next for Spirited Pursuit and me. Lee Litumbe Spirited Pursuit

What advice, would you have for African women looking to further their brand through blogging or social media?

The best advice I would give to others would be to speak on a 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 also encourage others to add value to the lives of their audience by solving a problem they might have, while being as creative and original as possible in the execution of their ideas.

Finally, be sure to support others – particularly women. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned on my journey is that another woman’s success is not my failure. Your win is my win, and my win is your win. Instead of viewing other women as competition, reach out and build relationships with them so they become allies; there is enough room for everyone to succeed. Be kind and uplift others, I believe it will take you much further.

Enjoyed Lee’s insights? Share your thoughts and comments below. Have a favorite blogger you want us to profile? Drop us a line.

Blogger’s Delight: Love Mavin with Maggie Adofo

Maggie Adofo_Blogger's Delight

Editor’s note: Every two weeks, SLA will feature an African blogger killing the game. 

Tell us a little about yourself

My name is Maggie Adofo. I graduated from the College of Saint Rose with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Marketing, and Public Communications.

I’m a part-time blogger and work full-time.

My blog brings aims to bring women who are interested in beauty and fashion together.

What inspired the idea of beauty blogging on Love Mavin?

Love Mavin started as Love Scrapbook during my Freshman year while I was in The College of Saint Rose. At the time, it was an online diary documenting my college experience, and it’s been a source of motivation for me to become a better person academically, socially and even professionally.

I channel my creativity through my videos and blog posts.

How do you balance a beauty blog (which includes your YouTube channel, your IG, being a Curls Understood brand ambassador) and a 9-5 job?

It has not been easy at all! After graduating college, my full-time required me to work 40 hours from Friday to Sunday. So Mondays through Thursdays were dedicated to developing my brand. I would shoot videos, take photos, and prepare content during this down time.

At the time, I had the opportunity of visiting Youtube Space New York for workshops and NYFW. Now that I work a regular 9-5, I have had to schedule the days on which I film, edit, post and promote. I rely on my planners to keep track of this.

The moment I get home, I dedicate a solid 3 hours to my blog before doing anything else. I try to submit one post / review a month, but I promote the brand on all my social media pages. Currently, Curls Understood is re-branding the blogger submissions which is really exciting.

Blogging takes a lot of time and dedication, but my passion and the satisfaction I get from posting supersedes the sleepless nights and stressful deadlines. 

Maggie Adofo _ Blogger's Delight

Have you been able to monetize Love Mavin? If so, through what avenues? If not, do you have plans to do so?

For about two and a half years, I was able to monetize my blog enough to be considered a full-time job. It was incredible! Google Ad sense wasn’t too bad but my primary source of income came from selling advertisement spots on my blog and external services like video editing, product photos and some graphic designing.

A lot of brands were also very generous with providing PR gifts to be blogged/reviewed so essentially, my ROI was great. I didn’t have to invest too much to begin with. At the end of the day, monetized content is great because you can earn with click throughs. It’s always nice to earn money when you are not around.

What are your plans for Love Mavin? Where do you want to take the blog/ brand in the future?

Personally, I am working towards creating a stronger relationship via collaborations with other bloggers and expanding my brand’s services. As I genuinely love my 9-5, and have no plans on quitting that any time soon, the goal is to maintain a balanced schedule while building a brand that will encourage and inspire others to do what they love and live a full life.

Love Maggie’s story and want more Love Mavin delight? Check out her website and follow her on social media here and here.

If you’d like to share your story with She Leads Africa, click here