You might call Deidre Mathis and Tracy Daniel true explorers, both literally and figuratively. Travel is their passion. Curiosity is their inspiration. And love is their vehicle.
In 2015, the two Houstonians met on OkCupid. “Our first meeting was at Common Bond in the Montrose area, where I had a mocha latte and Tracy had a lavender latte,” Deidre recalls. “We talked for hours. I remember that being around her immediately felt easy, and like home. That first meeting sparked our love story.”
Deidre, 36, from Jacksonville, Florida, is the owner of Wanderstay Hospitality Group, which currently includes Wanderstay Houston Hostel and the Wanderstay Boutique Hotel.
“I was inspired to start this business to merge my passions together: travel, real estate, and hospitality. After living and traveling throughout Australia, I knew that when I returned stateside I wanted to start my own travel and hospitality brand,” Deidre says.
Native Houstonian Tracy, 36, is an adjunct professor of history at Lone Star College. She admits that when she was in school, she didn’t appreciate history and did the bare minimum to get a passing grade. Her true passion for American history wasn’t sparked until after she graduated.
“It was then that I realized that students generally don’t hate history, they hate how they’ve been taught history. My passion for history came when trying to uncover my own family history. History and genealogy commonly intersect, and it was on that journey that I discovered my passion. African American genealogy can be difficult to trace. I’m able to use my historical know-how and training to put the pieces together. I’ve also discovered a few familial secrets through my research,” Tracy notes.
Both women are two-time graduates of historically black colleges and universities (HBCU). Deidre earned her bachelor’s degree from Florida A&M University and her master’s from Bowie State University, while Tracy earned her bachelor’s from Xavier University of Louisiana and a master’s from Texas Southern University.
“I knew Deidre was the one I wanted to marry after the first date. However, after being together for seven years, we felt it was time to make it official,” Tracy explains.
Deidre felt the same way about their first date. “From day one, Tracy felt like home. I felt super-comfortable with her from the beginning. When I was around her, I could be my authentic self. We get along exceptionally well. She is also the smartest person I know. I am constantly learning from her.
“We knew that we wanted to get married, and I [came up with the idea that] 2/22/22 should be our wedding date,” Deidre continues. “We had already been together seven years, had a baby, and owned real estate together. We both agreed it was time to make things legal and official. We each knew that we wanted to be with the other forever.”
Tracy couldn’t resist saying yes to Deidre’s 2/22/22 idea. “It’s such an epic date!” Deidre adds.
The couple had a courthouse wedding because neither wanted to spend a lot of money for just one day. “We wore sensible yet fashionable white dresses and white Converse sneakers, because comfort comes first. We prefer to spend our money on properties and traveling the globe,” Deidre admits.
The intimacy of their wedding was the thing that they loved the most about their choice to go small. Their then infant daughter was their unofficial flower girl, cooing and smiling from her stroller throughout the proceedings. “She had a white dress and sneakers on, just like her mommies!” Deidre says.
The couple wrote their own vows for the occasion. Although they used virtually no wedding vendors, they did support a local BIPOC business by choosing Rosegreen Florists in Lindale Park for their bouquets. “They came through with beautiful, classic rose bouquets that were perfect for our day,” Deidre says.
The couple didn’t opt for an official honeymoon because their life together feels like a honeymoon. Since they have traveled to more than 20 countries together (and can’t wait to explore others), they enjoyed a simple staycation at Houston’s Post Oak Hotel.
“Deidre is the most important person in my life,” Tracy says. “She’s a loving, compassionate, beautiful woman, inside and out. She inspires me to want to be a better person every day. She’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. Every day with her is better than the day before.”
“Tracy is the best person I know; I feel incredibly lucky to have met her,” Deidre concludes. “We fit each other so well. She is my very best friend, an excellent co-parent, and an amazing individual. I look forward to living the rest of my life with her.”
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