Lee Litumbe shares her journey of self-exploration and building community wherever you are.
– KEYS SOULCARE
Lee Litumbe, aka Spirited Pursuit, has turned her love of travel into a full-blown brand celebrating Africa through an aspirational lens. With over 200,000 followers on Instagram and clients from Cartier to ShopBop, it’s clear her vision is being applauded.Originally from Cameroon, Lee spent grade school through college in Atlanta. While she had friends, family, and a life in Georgia, something was missing, and Lee knew she needed to make a change. And change she did — a leap of faith in her late 20s, selling her possessions, and starting her journey with a move to Senegal set a new life in motion. Through the point of view of her breathtaking photos and unreal experiences across the globe, followers are taken on adventures — like swimming with turtles and visiting the Taj Mahal — with a hyperlocal touch. Lee shares how she’s navigating travel, putting down roots, and being intentional as she creates a new understanding of “home.”
I was clueless when I started Spirited Pursuit. And I’m so glad that I was, because if I knew everything upfront, I probably would have been too scared to leave Atlanta, a place I’d known since childhood. I left with this really naive mindset of the world as my oyster, everything is going to be fine. Turns out everything was fine, but I still had to deal with challenges like housing and navigating countries where I didn’t speak the language.
The pandemic has affected my ability to travel the way I’m accustomed — but then, I also feel grounded. I see myself even more clearly in the here and now. For example, I realize I have spent a lot of time traveling to escape my former life, and not always for enjoyment. Not being able to travel has allowed me to meet myself on a deeper level.
Senegal is where I am now, and the irony is it’s where I decided to start my travel journey with Spirited Pursuit years ago. My plan was to travel Africa, longterm. I had zero actual plans and only ideas. When I left the U.S., my starting point was Dakar — my goal was to come here, visit, and move on to the next interesting place. I just fell in love with the city, and then fell in love with the country. I would go to other countries, but would always come back.
When I first arrived to visit, my French was not good, and I didn’t know anyone. I had never even visited. But there was an element of starting fresh. Like, I get to be whoever I say, and there’s nothing holding me back. There’s freedom, but there’s also this loneliness that sets in once you’re still.
And now that I have more stability, it’s important to me [to stay connected to people here and in the U.S.]. Community, for me, is a sense of home, you know? A sense of comfort and familiarity and accountability. I think that would be how I would define it and what I am hoping to continue to build around me, endlessly. Because you can’t journey through life by yourself.
This year I have been in one place for eight or nine months. And it’s allowed me to make real friendships. It’s allowed me to see that it is possible to build a life here beyond just the superficial “travel, destination, adventure, whatever.” It’s having a girl’s night. It’s having group chats. I’d always felt like I was on the outside of that because I was constantly on the go. Building a home has made me feel like I belong somewhere in the world as opposed to just passing through it.