World traveler Deidre Mathis will make history as the first African-American female to own and operate a hostel in the United States.
When Deidre Mathis caught the traveling bug while in the Dominican Republic during an alternative spring break in college, she most likely didn’t know it could lead to a fulfilling career traveling the world and helping others to do the same. The Jacksonville, Fla. native has since traveled to a total of 37 countries and counting.
“I always heard of the thing called the travel bug, but I didn’t think it really existed. I thought it was something only wealthy people got. I didn’t think it was something I could get. But I quickly realized while studying in the Dominican Republic that I had indeed received the travel bug,” says Mathis.
A journalism major, Mathis returned to the states to finish and receive her degree from Florida A & M University, only to leave the country again. This time for Costa Rica where she lived for a couple of months.
A 9-5 stint in Maryland was short lived when Mathis once again had the desire to see the world. Working what she says was an “unfulfilling job,” she quit and was off to South Korea where she taught English for seven months. “Every opportunity I got to go abroad after that [her time in the Dominican Republic] I took it,” says Mathis.
Her passport includes stamps from Australia, Taiwan, Ireland, Iceland, New Zealand, Martinique, Belize, the Philippines and Holland to name a few. Upcoming wanderlust plans include 10 days in Switzerland, a short trip to Cuba and at the end of the year, she’ll be embarking on one of her most adventurous trips to date, a 10-day cruise to Antarctica, marking her seventh continent traveled.
When asked what drives her wanderlust, she says, “Our homes, our cities, our states, although they may be great, fun and exciting, there is nothing like stepping into a new place that you have no idea what you are about to encounter. So the people, the food, the languages, the culture. It is just all new. It is a sickness you just can’t cure in one spot. It’s an excitement that I can’t get from my own city and state.”
For two and half years now, Mathis has called Houston, TX home base when she is not globetrotting. Working for a study abroad company, she was asked to relocate to the South or Southwest. “I have always wanted to live in Houston, so I decided to give it a go.” She credits working with a hostel there in the city with being the catalyst for her latest professional move, opening Wanderlust Houston, a hostel designed for today’s traveling Millennials in mind.
“While traveling abroad, I mostly utilize hostels. I just fell in love with them and I have always been entrepreneurial and always knew I wanted to open my own business, run my own company. It wasn’t until I moved to Houston and I started working with the hostel back here that I started to see there was a need for this. It took me taking that experience of working with the hostel here and just all my other travel experiences and deciding, ‘Hey, I think I am going to do something different and open up a hostel here in Houston,” shares Mathis.
Mathis will become the first African-American female to do so once Wanderlust Houston opens at the end of this year. Owning the tagline, “Modern Millennial Accommodations,” she says the hostel will cater to Millennial travelers who are looking for “a great place to come and network and enjoy the city of Houston.” Saving the major bells and whistles for when the property opens, Mathis says Wanderlust Houston will be equipped with co-working spaces for the traveling professional, shared and private rooms and bright furniture to create an upbeat environment. Don’t worry, even if you are not a Millennial, you can still enjoy the hostel that will be located on the cusp of EaDo or East Downtown Houston.
As a solo travel and “student of the world,” Mathis has also penned her travel experiences in her book, “Wanderlust: For the Young, Broke Professional” available on Amazon and her website. In it, she dispels that myth that traveling abroad is only for the rich and provides keys tips and resources to follow your passion for seeing the world. Some of these tips include:
- Take your time and do your research.
- Don’t be loyal to one company (i.e. airlines or travel sites).
- If you see a deal, jump on it.
- Take trips on long holidays.
Mathis has traveled to Mexico for $170 and Dubai for $200 roundtrip and her airfare to Switzerland only set her back $400 on Delta Airlines. She says, when you see an airfare that is too good to be true, it is most likely the real deal that shouldn’t be passed by. Get the ticket and you have 24 hours to dispute it if for some reason it is not legit. “Travel is not a luxury for the rich. Anyone can travel. All you have to do is plan, save your money and go on your trip.”
Photo credit: Deidre Mathis
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