“If it doesn’t happen, make it happen!”

 

Where to start with the story of CultureMee?

Well let’s start at the beginning! It was during 2013 and I was coming up to almost seven years living in London and I knew I needed a change. A big change. I’d spent my time working hard, playing hard and travelling every spare second I could but I was getting bored with life in London.

I knew I needed some new energy in my life and to start seeing everything with fresh eyes again. And who knows, perhaps find some ❤! This brought me to Amsterdam, a city I’d fallen in love with from the minute I jumped onto the bike and roamed the stunning canals and parks of this fabulous city.

Amsterdam hit me like a whirlwind, in more ways than one. I moved there nine days after my beloved Grandmother passed away. I will never forget it. It was a Wednesday when I arrived and literally the next day I met my future husband (and CultureMee co-founder). It must have been fate! 🙂

Within 2 months we moved in together and within 4 months we were engaged, so I’ve a strong appreciation of what people mean when they say I’ve a very “decisive” husband!! We got married a year later and welcomed Rosa, our little bundle of joy into our life, in October 2016.

It was was also while living in Amsterdam that I came up with the idea of CultureMee. Well actually it was when we were travelling around Africa in 2015 that I came up with the idea of CultureMee, initially around frustrations with plugs, and that same night in Tanzania John and I came up with an incredible brainstorm of what we could do, and CultureMee was born.

Why would we be so passionate about CultureMee? Well I have a love of people and a huge love for travel, having travelled to over 60 countries (65 at last count), while John is also a travel fanatic and has a deep love of different cultures. He also speaks 6 different languages.

After over 2 years of research and many, many long days, we were over the moon 🌝 to finally launch a beta version of our CultureMee app to the world in August 2017.

In September 2017, together with our little baby, we did a whistle stop road trip to 10 European countries in 10 days so that we could do my culture videos. We felt it was much more authentic to do the videos in each country if we could – so we just said let’s do it and rented a car the next day!

By October 2017, we were so committed to our CultureMee journey that we decided to sell our apartment and move to South-East Asia for 6 months! Why? Mainly so that we could experience living in these cultures and gain a real insight into Asian life before we add them to the app.

Are there any lessons in all of this which we could share?

Well being a bootstrapped start-up is hard, really hard, and you’ve got to be really passionate about what you do. And we are 100% passionate about our journey with CultureMee. As a female entrepreneur (and mum), you’ve really got to have massive support from your husband, and John has been so much more than just a husband. He’s been a brilliant father to our daughter, an inspiring co-founder (I learn from him everyday) but most of all he’s been my soulmate and a rock for me through all the ups and downs of start-up life. I really couldn’t do this without him.

Do you have an idea you’re passionate about? My advice is to just go for it. You’ve got nothing to lose, and life is nothing if not an adventure.

Within 6 weeks we turned our life upside down, from being settled in Amsterdam to selling our apartment and moving here to Asia to work on our passion. And we don’t regret it for a second. As we say in the Lee household, “If it doesn’t happy – make it happen!”