Come in Houston, er, Dallas: Buying a House and a Move Toward FIRE

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Alternate titles for this post: Airbnb helped me buy a house in Dallas.

Most of y’all know I run a few Airbnb properties here in NYC.

Well, I’ve been ferreting away the earnings for a long while.

I’ve been using my Fidelity Cash Management account as a defacto business checking account, and my Aspiration Summit account to save up a down payment (and an AMEX personal savings account to pay Uncle Sam) because it has a sweet 1% interest rate.

My new empire state?

My new empire state?

I haven’t posted my Dallas hotel reviews yet, and I haven’t meant to be not as chirpy as usual, but here’s what’s been up.

Way back in August, I flew down to Austin (and actually posted my review of my Austin hotel, go me) for a work meeting. On the way back, I tacked on a few days in Dallas and started shopping for a place in Oak Lawn/Uptown.


Do you ever get a feeling about a place you can’t explain, but it feels so right you simply can’t ignore it? 

I went to college in Chicago. I’d only been there once or twice, but for some reason, the city was calling me. I applied to my school, got accepted, and bought a one-way ticket from Memphis, Tennessee (I’m originally from Mississippi) to Chicago. I started in the Winter, and promptly froze my butt off. A few years later, I got my degree in Painting and moved to New York (I actually wrote a book about it).

And when I visited Hawaii for the first time, it felt like something that was always meant to be (I know, Hawaii right? So corny. I felt the same way about Easter Island).

Now, I have the same feeling about Dallas. And I never saw myself living in Texas. For now, I don’t know exactly what it all means.

New craft beers to explore

New craft beers to explore

I feel the universe is winding down my time in New York City, and I’m grateful for all of it.

I won’t ever write a good-bye to New York because I’ll never really leave.

I’m not sure if I want to set the place up, rent it short-term, occupy it myself, rent it out to tenants, or just hang on to it for a second before I decide.

The new living room where I'll (hopefully!) be banging out new Out and Out posts!

The new living room where I’ll (hopefully!) be banging out new Out and Out posts!

I’m saying all this at the risk of jinxing myself because I’m scheduled to close on December 15th. So, fingers crossed that it all works out.

But I’ve already got my eye on a few single-family homes in the area. Paula from Afford Anything has been such a huge inspiration to me on this. I’m thinking of starting with 1 home to rent out, then expanding.

It’s all a move toward FIRE (financial independence, retire early). And it’s a term Sex Health Money Death has criticized because no one ever seems to really retire.

I have a strong work ethic. I always want to work.

Recently, I’ve been getting into reading tarot cards (this deck in particular), which you might’ve noticed on my Instagram account (feel free to follow me!).

Quiet nights in with a tarot deck and a sage stick

Quiet nights in with a tarot deck and a sage stick…

Take it or leave it, but the cards have been telling me what to expect. (And even if it’s a tool for my own self-discovery, and nothing more, I’m fine with that, too.)

So I’ve been really trying to feel gratitude for everything and see what happens, and the universe has been sending me powerful signals to wrap up my work in New York.

I’m so bowled over with excitement I can hardly stand it.

So, while I’m not sure what it means yet, I’m most likely (*fingers crossed*) closing on a place in Dallas next month.

My travel allegiances

Ah, Dallas. Hub of American Airlines, Southwest, and Virgin America, flagship of the AMEX Centurion Lounge, what do I make of thee?

For one, I’m not even sure I want to cozy up to American Airlines at this point – a devaluation is too near.

But, I am considering swapping AMEX for Citi.

I don’t anticipate Dallas will sway my hotel allegiances any (I’m firmly Hyatt, with some IHG and Hilton thrown in. Don’t care about Starwoodthey’re merging with Hyatt soon anyway).

But there’s one airline program left standing…


What does Alaska have to do with Texas?

a blue and white flag with a face on it

Look at that weird, creepy face. I want to squeeze it

I’ve been considering saying eff it all and crediting everything to Alaska’s MileagePlan. I’ll do a post about this soon.

But I’m really thinking the other shoe is about to drop for American Airlines AAdvantage program. Unfortunately. 🙁

And right when I start to get involved with Dallas! #justmyluck

Other stuff

I’m figuring out what I’d do with my New York apartment, the Airbnbs (which might be ending soon anyway), and everything.

It’s a strange time, a big move that’ll affect a lot of my travel patterns (and give me more stuff to write about!).

But I’m feeling confident and grateful it’ll work out. This is my first time buying a home so I’m nervous/excited/emo/etc. about getting it all together and getting to the closing table. Going through the process of it all right now.

I wanted to post about it to officiate this next step, speak about it to make it more real for myself, and let you guys know changes are afoot/why posts have slowed down recently.

Bottom line

I’m buying a place in Dallas – the first, I hope, of many, in an effort to move close toward financial independence (OMG so many commas in that sentence!).

It’ll mean big changes for me, my travel plans, and the things I write about here. But I’ve been talking about FIRE for a while now, and in the background, I’ve been a busy bee, saving up and work work working toward my goals.

So I’m excited to share this step, and wondering what it’ll mean for how I think – and write – about travel. But more travel is for sure in the future. I’m so excited about that!

While I have you guys on the line, I want to be sure to say thank you for reading despite everything lately. It’s truly been my pleasure, and I look forward to more travels in the future!

If you’re familiar with Oak Lawn/Uptown. I’ll be looking for:

  • Craft beers
  • Amazing Mexican restaurants
  • Great gay bars
  • Cool experiences
  • Anything to do with art or art-making

Any tips/intros/observations from Dallasites more than welcome!

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About Harlan

Just a dude living in Memphis, traveling, and working toward financial independence.

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  1. Sounds like an exciting time Harlan, look forward to seeing what happens next and maybe we’ll grab another drink in a different city. Cheers!

  2. Welcome to Dallas (I’m sure a everything will work out). It may not seem like much at first but there is plenty to discover and you’ll be situated in the right spot for it.

    • I’ve already enjoyed my limited time there. Looking forward to the slower pace, and to exploring a new city. Seems like a LOT is changing down there.

      Thank you so much!

  3. You’ll love Dallas. I live in Ft. Worth (which IMO is better but that’s because life’s too short to live in Dallas (grin)) but Dallas is a fun place. Make sure you come over to Ft. Worth and check out what we have to offer!

  4. Congrats and how exciting! I’m working on my own FIRE too and would love to tell the “man” to go shove it.

    • Thank you so much!

      I’ve realized lately that having money isn’t really wealth. It’s having the ability to create your own schedule. That’s real wealth.

      I haven’t traveled nearly as much as I’ve wanted to this year, and that’s a problem for me. Time to take steps – small, sustainable steps – to take back my schedule and open myself up to more travel experiences.

      Good luck on your FIRE – it’s a different path for everybody, but always an exciting one!

  5. Congratulations! I don’t know your feelings about Spirit – if any – but they have nonstops to Dallas which are often super cheap (occasionally as low as $23 o/w if you’re in their club) and their lowest mile awards (only at certain times/if you have their cc) are 5k.
    FWIW I’ve been flying them for years and have had zero issues. Just have to learn their rules.
    Best of luck!

    • Thank you!!!

      I’ll be in NYC for a while longer yet. Many, many things to wrap up.

      Re: Spirit. Never flown ’em. Not opposed to it, but would rather earn miles on other airlines. Guess I’ll take it case-by-case and see what shakes out.

      Dallas is also home to Southwest and Virgin America, so the Dallas-New York route is usually really cheap!

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