January 2017, entrepreneur Deidre Mathis, won her first business pitch of the year at the Texas Black Expo, taking 2nd place and $1,500. Soon after, she beat out dozens of teams to win 3rd place and $4,000 during the Houston Community College Business Plan Competition. She went on to take 1st place with both the Houston Liftoff Business Pitch Competition, winning $10,000 and the Urban League Pitch Competition, winning $7,500. The local entrepreneur has secured over $23,000 in local pitch competitions to help fund her business.
Her company, Wanderlust Houston, is a boutique hostel offering private and shared accommodations for millennial travelers eager to explore Houston’s myriad of nightlife options, festivals, and sporting events.
When not participating in business competitions, she could be caught jumping from towers in New Zealand, bathing rescue elephants in Thailand, zip lining in a Mexican jungle or skydiving in the States. When she’s not trekking the globe, she is well known as a budget world traveler, author, and public speaker. She has traveled to more than 37 countries over all 7 continents. Her budget travel book, “Wanderlust: For the Young, Broke Professional” has been well received worldwide, appearing in the United Arab Emirates, China, and Australia.
Mathis’ claim to fame came in 2013. A recent master’s degree recipient fed up and burnt out from the monotony of her full-time job, she quit her job to embark on a travel gap year where she lived on what she coined her “12-12-12” model: 12 countries in 12 months for less than $12,000.
Deidre’s inspirational story has been featured twice in Black Enterprise Magazine, Forbes Magazine, USA TODAY, and Essence Magazine’s, ” Top Ten Things We Are Talking About.” Other publications that have featured her inspiring story are Parlour Magazine, The Houston Chronicle, and Houstonia magazine.
She is no stranger to television coverage, making appearances on numerous stations as their travel expert. She has appeared on Great Day Houston, First Coast Living in Jacksonville, FL, WBTV CBS in Charlotte, NC, and Houston Life in Houston, TX. Women’s travel conferences and colleges and universities have welcomed Deidre as a keynote speaker in the areas of travel and entrepreneurship.
Wanderlust Houston (www.WanderlustHouston.com) is set to open spring 2018 in Houston’s Museum District. Her opening will make history, as she will be the first African-American woman to open a hostel in the U.S.
Mathis has a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from Florida A&M University, a master’s degree in Corporate Communications from Bowie State University and a graduate certificate in tourism management from George Washington University.