Whether it's on Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, or through my personal email, it's always nice to hear directly from you awesome folks that support me and Spirited Pursuit. As the platform continues to grow and evolve, I've noticed there has been an increase in the level of curiosity you guys have in who I am as a person and what I do for work. As a result, I get several questions asked (most of which are the same), which to be honest has become a bit overwhelming. So instead of spending hours each day responding to each of the same questions, I figured it would be much more efficient to put together a comprehensive list of FAQs. That way readers both new and old can always refer back to it. I'll also plan to check in and update this monthly (fingers crossed) to answer any new questions you leave within the comments. Hope it's helpful and your curiosity is satisfied. Cheers! x
WHO I AM + HOW I got my START
Where are you from? How old are you?
I'm originally from Cameroon, where I was born and spent my childhood. It wasn't until I was 9 years old that I moved to The States. I'm currently 29 years old.
How did u get into being a traveling blogger?
I was first exposed to international travel as a child since my parents have always worked in travel management. As far as travel blogging is concerned, I started casually documenting my travels on my Tumblr around 2010 ahead of my first solo trip backpacking through South Africa. It wasn't until a few years later during my quarter life crisis that I began to conceptualize what is now Spirited Pursuit.
How do you make money?
I'm a creative entrepreneur and most of my work is digitally based. I work with brands, hotels, publishers, companies, and tourism boards as a photographer, writer, creative consultant, influencer, and content creator providing marketing services and creative advertising opportunities.
Did you go to college? If yes, what did you study?
Yes, I have a Bachelor's degree in Finance.
How did you master the art of creating/curating content?
Mastered is a pretty strong word, lol. I'm a student for life, so there is always something new to learn. I essentially just create + curate content for my past, present, and future self and hope that it resonates well with others.
Would you ever be interested in making a YouTube channel to document your journeys?
I created a YouTube channel where I will likely share video highlights from my trips, but 'm not sure that I'm interested in doing vlogs. Who knows though, never say never.
hOW I MAKE TRAVEL POSSIBLE
How can you afford to travel so often? What's the secret?
Before I started working for myself, I worked a regular 9-5 job in Corporate America for several years and made daily sacrifices to be able to travel. I literally just saved up for it. Things have changed slightly now my job to travel, and to be honest sometimes I can't actually afford it. While I don't accept all partnership offers to be able to maintain the honesty and authenticity of my voice, there are times when clients pay for my travel expenses for specific projects. There are also times when I receive heavily discounted plane tickets.
Do you usually travel alone or with friends?
Most times I'm by myself. Other times with a few friends, my family, or my partner.
How do you pack for your travels?
There's now a detailed guide on this available here. Hope it helps!
Do you have any advice for anyone embarking on a solo trip?
I strongly recommend everyone travel by themselves at least once in their life, it’s liberating! It’ll be easier to meet new people and you wont have to spend hours trying to coordinate how to spend your time like you would within a group. Most important of all, you’ll be forced to learn about yourself, trust your own judgement and be independent. My best advice I can give you is to be street smart, open, and aware. You can do it. You should do it!
When you chose to move back to Africa, why did you choose Senegal and not Cameroon where your parents live and where you're from?
I wrote about my leap of faith and why I chose Senegal here.
What languages do you speak?
English is my first language and I speak enough French to get by.
HEALTH + BEAUTY
How do you stay healthy + fit while traveling so frequently? Do you have any particular self-care practices?
I sometimes struggle with this. I make a strong effort to eat lots of plant based foods and drink loads of water, but that can be tough when traveling as frequently as I do and to certain regions. For health and wellness, I travel with a green superfood power and an organic maca powder that I can add to water to keep my nutrient intake up. I also travel with organic food grade activated charcoal which is particularly helpful because it can be used for beauty (face masks and whitens teeth + underarms!) or to detox internally. Vitamin C and green tea are also great just in case my immune system needs a boost. For fitness, some kind IG followers recommended me some apps like Stop, Breathe + Think, The Nike Training Club, and the 7 Minute Workout - all of which have been very helpful!
What products do you use to keep your skin so flawless?
God bless you for thinking that lol - my skin is far from flawless. Since I currently live out of a suitcase, I have to keep things simple. I try to avoid dairy, drink loads of water, eat as many fruits & veggies as possible, cleanse with a tea tree oil soap, exfoliate, and moisturize. I'm working on also getting at least 7 hours sleep consistently to battle these industrial sized bags under my eyes. Wish me luck.
What do you do with your hair? Are they extensions/a wig/clip ins? If so, what brand?
I’ve been natural over 6 years but I wear extensions & braids as protective styles. I use extensions and buy Curly Kinky from here in 24 inches to keep things simple since I'm on the go so much. I've found that the key is to buy weaves that blend with your natural texture.
Photography + Web design
What camera do you use?
You can read a detailed breakdown of all my photography equipment here.
Who takes your photos?
The answer is anyone and everyone. A stranger, a friend, a family member, my partner, or even me - no one is safe lol. Basically anyone that's with me. I'm just very clear about how they take my picture, so that it remains consistent with my personal style/aesthetic. If I'm alone, I typically just approach people that don’t look like they’re in a rush, ask for their help, then coach/show them (this is KEY) how I want them to capture the image for me. I also take a few pictures of them, demonstrating how I want them to capture it, which takes the pressure off a bit. As you can imagine this can sometimes lead to super awkward moments, but it mostly just leads to me making a new friend who then gives me pretty ace local tips and recommendations in the area to explore.
Do you use your film camera for your IG pics or a digital editing app?
All my photography details are now available here.
How did you create your website and how do you maintain it? Do you use professional IT service(s) for it if not created by yourself?
I use Squarespace (which I highly recommend). I work with an amazing talented designer/coder from time to time but I designed and maintain the website on my own.
Where were you at when you were a 22/23 year old post graduate?
I was failing at a lot of things. I was a mess and struggling to figure out where my life was going, who I was as an individual, and what my purpose was. But I think that’s normal and healthy. If you’re confused, that means you are actively searching for meaning in your life. Keep going. I still don’t have it all figured out (AT ALL), but I’m finally getting to a place of clarity, peace, and heightened self confidence because I decided to walk in my passion & purpose. Read books, meet new people, watch documentaries, travel. Do anything that will keep you curious about life and inspire you. Focus on your “you-ness”and spend time working to nurture and grow in that.
What advice would you offer to someone completely stuck in their comfort zone? I crave new adventures and travel experiences but I just don't know where and how to get started.
There is definitely a vibrant world that exists outside of your comfort zone, don’t be afraid to challenge yourself to explore it. Also reevaluate the people you’re spending majority of your time with. Find new friends that are adventurous and open to trying new things. And if you can’t find new friends to do those new things with you, don’t be afraid to go it alone - you’ll be surprised by how many amazing new people you will meet traveling by yourself.
How do you stay motivated and manage your time? Have you ever been in a slump? How do you get out?
You’re not alone, I honestly struggle with this all the time. I stay motivated by tuning out what others are doing and tuning into what I need to do to propel my life in the direction I want to go. There’s nothing wrong with being in a slump, but definitely don’t pitch a tent and stay there. Do more of the things you love, eat healthier foods, and surround yourself with positive energy. Also make sure you’re around people that are actively pursuing their goals - chances are it will have a positive impact and inspire you. Hang in there, it gets better.
Where would you recommend a first time solo traveler to visit?
What are some things you love to do? I would say start by taking a trip to a new place (it can be domestic or international) that incorporates the things you enjoy doing. That way you have the comfort of doing what you love, but you get to do it in a new environment and will become exposed to new people who also love to do the same things. For instance, if you’re a foodie and like to try new foods, maybe plan a trip to Thailand, California, Chicago, or India to go on a food crawl. If you enjoy working out and running, maybe plan a trip to a different city or country and run a marathon there.
You say you don't eat out much or shop to be able travel frequently but all your clothes look so beautiful and new! Where do you shop?
After I started traveling long term in Africa, I actually started designing my own clothes and getting them made locally. Some of the designs will be available through my new shop Marché Spirited Pursuit. Feel free to shop there if you like my style :)
BLOGGING + SOCIAL MEDIA
How did you gain such a huge following? What tips do you have for others that want to build the same?
Let's be real, a "huge following" is relative. While I don't think I have the largest following, I do have a very engaged one (thanks guys!*cyber hugsss*). I also use social media as a tool to share the things that I actually do, not what I want people to think I do. My assumption is that people just relate to my sincerity. I'm also genuinely passionate about travel - the people, the culture, the landscapes, the experiences - so I hope my content translates as relatable as opposed to just showing off. If your goal is to build a large audience, focus on a topic you're genuinely passionate about and then produce quality and original content surrounding it 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 you to add value to the lives of other by solving a problem they might have, while being as creative and original as possible in the execution of your ideas. Also be sure to support others and build a community around you.
Do you have any tips for starting a travel blog? When it comes to content what are the main things to include to have a successful blog?
Start small and don’t wait for perfection - there’s no such thing. I would say be yourself, identify a niche that you're genuinely passionate about, and create content that fills in the gaps. Don't try to do things just because you see them working for others. Instead, start where you are and use what you have available to you right now - even if all you have is internet access, a smartphone, and an idea. Use that and just put a ridiculous amount of work and action behind making your dream a reality. Also be creative and avoid regurgitating the same exact content as every other travel blogger. For detailed steps on how to create a travel blog, check out Lauren's guide - it's pretty spot on.
Where was the best place you traveled and loved the absolute MOST?
I have traveled pretty much all my life, and don’t know that I have a favorite place. Everywhere I’ve been to has had it’s own unique and significant impact on me, so I just embrace it all and cherish my experiences + memories. While I can't even begin to share all the bests I've had throughout my lifelong love affair with travel, I will share some of my most pivotal ones in recent years.
Traveling to Zanzibar in 2012 was a game changer for me because it inspired me to begin conceptualizing what has now become Spirited Pursuit. Costa Rica in 2014 is particularly memorable because it's where I was when I finally launched Spirited Pursuit. After that, Namibia in 2014 and Haiti in 2015 stand out because my experiences there helped me realize that my vision for Spirited Pursuit could have real impact. Finally there was my first trip to Senegal in 2016, which was the first country I visited when I moved back to Africa. It's where I first embraced being a creative and began to see some of the fruits of my labor bloom after years of hard work building Spirited Pursuit's foundation. I have a love/hate relationship with Morocco, but I had some incredible experiences there with my partner from 2016, so it has a special place in my heart.
Photo by Sopsiak Photography
Anything else? Comment box is below...ask, and you shall receive!