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Travel expert shares tips for the young, broke professionals

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Deidre Mathis is visiting campus this Friday to sign copies of book that aims to help anyone that wants to travel. | Photo courtesy of Deidre Mathis.

Have you ever dreamed of seeing the world but felt as though it was out of reach? Juggling school, work and everything else in between can make traveling seem impossible.

After studying abroad when she was 19, author Deidre Mathis realized that she wanted to pursue her traveling dreams. Ten years and 27 countries later, Mathis wants to help young people go beyond their comfort zone and explore the world with a plan, a budget and the desire to take risks.

Mathis will be on campus Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the bookstore to sign copies for students.

The Cougar had the opportunity to speak with Mathis, budget-travel expert and author of Wanderlust: For the Young, Broke Professional: Because traveling should not just be a luxury for the rich.

The Cougar: Where did it all start?

Deidre Mathis: As an undergrad, I studied broadcast journalism at Florida Agricultural & Mechanical, and as a graduate I studied corporate communications at Bowie State University. My first trip was as an undergrad at age 19, I studied abroad in the Dominican Republic.

TC: Why do you believe traveling and exploring different countries is such an important thing to do?

DM: We live in such a diverse world, especially when it comes to getting jobs and going to school. We are forced to interact with people that don’t look or think like us. Not only does traveling expose you to diversity, (but it also) opens-up your mind. As Americans, we are really blessed and have a lot of things that other countries don’t have. When you travel you see how other people live, and it makes you really grateful for the lifestyle Americans have.

TC: Your 12/12/12 model consists of travelling to 12 countries in 12 months for only $12,000. Can you talk about how this started?

DM: When I finished my master’s degree, I took a gap year and took time to explore Australia, Fiji, Bali, England, South Africa, Thailand and Mexico. I was really interested in becoming bilingual and studying Hindi.  I spent the whole year traveling and writing my book.

TC: Why should students at UH pick up your book?

DM: My book will help give tips on things to know, like saving money and planning a safe trip. The book is only 101 pages and written very practically. Anyone can pick up the book and plan their own trip.

TC: Do you have any advice for students who feel stuck in a rut?

DM: Now is the time to fully figure out what your passion is. We’re raised to go to college, get married and get a job. We’re never really taught to do things that truly make us happy. So, focus on what makes you happy. If you had to do something over and over and never get paid for it, what would it be? When you start to figure that out do every single thing you can to help yourself gain experience in that. At 20, I was confused about what I wanted. Between then and now, obviously a lot has changed, but the one thing that was consistent was that I knew what I was passionate about and did everything to make that work.

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