Design Your Life

America’s First Black Hostel Owner Talks About Going From Self-Care To Self-Made

By Parker Diakite

Share

Putting herself first and allowing time for self-care led Deirdre Mathis to exactly where she is supposed to be in life.

 

Taking the time for self-care and travel after college provided Mathis with the idea to open WanderStay Hotels, the first black-owned hostel in Houston. One thing she said she learned on her journey from wanderlust, to author, and now entrepreneur, is that it’s okay to part ways with your original plans.

 

The FAMU graduate had plans of working in broadcast journalism. “I wanted to be the next Oprah Winfrey,” she says jokingly over the phone. Her aspirations weren’t farfetched. After spending the summer after graduation in Costa Rica, she landed her first job at the CBS television affiliate in Baltimore—the same place Oprah’s television career started.

 

wanderstay

Photo courtesy of Wanderstay

 

“I worked there for seven or eight months and realized news was not something I wanted to do anymore,” Mathis tells Travel Noire. “I just fell out of love with it and needed to figure something out.”

 

She quit her job at the television station and moved to South Korea to teach English for nine months. There, she drafted a new plan. “Because I loved to travel I decided to go into International Relations,” Mathis says.

 

After receiving an acceptance letter from Bowie State University, Mathis got a call from one of the school’s deans to study abroad in India for four months before obtaining her graduate degree. Mathis said she still wasn’t satisfied after getting her master’s degree. She saved all her money and moved to Australia for a gap year.

 

RELATED: Hostel Hacks: A Beginner’s Guide To Saving On Accommodations

 

“My gap year started in Sydney, Australia and I kind of traveled that part of the world for about a year and that’s when I absolutely fell in love with hostels.” Meeting people from all over the world while spending less on a place to stay inspired Mathis to bring that communal lifestyle to the United States.

 

“I wanted to create a place that I would want to stay,” Mathis says. “A centralized location was important to me as well. I wanted a space that if a guest had a car, then great but if not, even better.”

 

wanderstay hostel

Photo courtesy of Wanderstay

 

With two private rooms and six shared rooms, WanderStay Hotels is in walking distance to parks, bars, restaurants, and downtown Houston. “Next, my goal is to open five more the next seven years,” she says. “My last hostel, I hope, is international but I’m not exactly sure where yet.”

Share
Travel Noire

Parker Diakite

Want more?

Get exclusive, unpublished tips from Travel Noire's CEO to help you get off the beaten path, into the hearts of locals and onto a better, more cultured life.

Black Expat Update: ‘Leaving America Saved My Life’

Black Expat Update: ‘Leaving America Saved My Life’

A little over a year ago, we spoke with Florida native Craig Kingston, aka The Cheap God, on his decision to leave America and move to Southeast Asia. What made his story stand out to many of us, was the fact that he moved across the world with no job lined up. He started this […]

DeAnna Taylor

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Moving To Africa In 2020, Says The Continent Will “Define The Future”

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Moving To Africa In 2020, Says The Continent Will “Define The Future”

It’s looking like more people are catching on to the excellence on the African continent, with the latest being Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.  Dorsey has plans to move to the continent in 2020 for a period of three to six months. This decision comes after traveling to entrepreneurial hubs in Africa for a month.  He […]

Kelsey Marie

Photographer Danny Wonders Changes The Way The World Views Africa With New Documentary, ‘This Is Ghana’

Photographer Danny Wonders Changes The Way The World Views Africa With New Documentary, ‘This Is Ghana’

Danny Wonders is a creative director and photographer who has been making an impact in the film industry for a while now. Wonders launched his production company, “Wondervision Films”, after a slew of failed 9-5 jobs. Through Wondervsion Films, he began directing music videos, documentaries, and an award-winning web series.  Since then, he has gone […]

Kelsey Marie