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What I’m Thankful For

Originally posted on 11/26/15:

November 26, 2004. Black Friday in Sao Paulo, Brazil. My 20th birthday. I was teaching children for a year in a school that couldn’t afford toilet paper and where it rained inside my bedroom. And it was the day I started a small blog for friends and family, ctownbochur.blogspot.com. It wasn’t until 2007 that the DansDeals.com domain name would fall into my lap.

Blogging was a natural extension of me. I was flipping baseball cards as a 10 year old. Selling beanie babies on eBay as a 12 year old. Freezing out in the cold on Black Friday as a 15 year old to make a large profit on eBay (thank goodness that can be done online now!). By 16, I negotiated a 50% discount with Delta and booked out an entire flight from LAX-JFK for my yeshiva, saving everyone money while earning a boatload of miles and free tickets for myself in the process. And by 17, I took advantage of a now defunct eBay program to rack up over 1 million miles with Cathay Pacific. And since then it’s grown into an obsession to see how many millions of miles I can manufacture and burn through each year. There are worse hobbies to have, no?

I won’t bore you again with details, I gave the cliff notes version of the history last year for this site’s 10th anniversary.

I’ve been blessed with being in the right place at the right time so many times in my life that I could fill a book. It’s amazing looking back at how all the pieces fall into place. Over the course of 11 years of blogging, every day I gain an incredible appreciation for the world and our part in leaving it better than we found it.

I don’t know when exactly it crossed over from, what I did for kicks to what I do professionally, but it doesn’t matter. I don’t know when exactly the traffic to the site increased from a few hits a month to millions of hits per month. I do what I love and I love what I do. Even if I do let the commenters that never seem to read the post get to me at times πŸ˜‰

And so I’m thankful to G-d for allowing me to support my amazing wife and 2 adorable children in the most unique of ways. And for being able to take them on dozens and dozens of flights around the world thanks to miles.

I’m thankful to my parents for making sure that I was always curious. Always questioning. Always working hard because nothing worthwhile comes easy. And always striving to be humble and appreciative of everything and everyone.

I’m thankful to my brother JJ, 6 years my junior, for invigorating new life into the deals since he started contributing to this site 2 years ago.

I’m thankful to my wife Mimi for putting up with me working all-nighters, for letting me book international travel glitches just hours before departure, and for always being there through life’s ups and downs.

I’m thankful to my kids, Rafi and Talia. Aside from being impossibly cute, their wide-eyed wonder at seeing the world and listening to foreign languages and seeing other cultures is refreshing. Their adorable innocence, hugs, and unconditional love melt away the biggest worries and fears in the world. Sure it’s significantly harder to travel with kids, but there is no greater blessing in the world.

I’m thankful to the amazing DDF Family for being a great source of deal leads and an awesome place to read trip reports, plan trips, and shmooze. I even got to fly with my 4 year old Rafi to his first DDF DO this year!

And I’m thankful to you. For reading. For following on Twitter, Instagram, SMS, and Facebook. For telling your friends and family. For commenting and adding insight. For patronizing our advertisers and shopping and signing up through our links. For sending me countless touching emails letting me know how DansDeals made a difference in your life. For coming to seminars and being able to bounce ideas off each other in person…and then letting me know that I’m a lot more down to Earth of a guy than you expected. You make it all possible and worthwhile.

Hard to believe 11 years are in the books. I still haven’t wrapped my head around turning 31 today. But I won’t stop as long as I’m having fun. And I hope you won’t either.

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75 Responses to “What I’m Thankful For”

  1. Moe Says:
    1

    Happy birthday Dan! Happy anniversary to DD!

    ReplyReply
  2. VacationLover Says:
    2

    Dan, we all agree. You rock!!

    ReplyReply
  3. yehuda Says:
    3

    Dan, time for a book! you have enough followers/chassidim

    ReplyReply
  4. yehuda Says:
    4

    Happy birthday and thanks for all your hard work.

    ReplyReply
  5. Thankful Says:
    5

    Thank you Dan! Dan is the man!

    ReplyReply
  6. Nathan Says:
    6

    @yehuda: are we calling it “what’s the deal with Dan”

    ReplyReply
  7. zow Says:
    7

    Dear Dan,

    Happy birthday, happy thanksgiving, and thank you very much. You have added an amazing new dimension to my life — a hobby that borders on obsession, but as you say, there are worse hobbies, no?!

    Ad meah v’esrim.
    zow

    ReplyReply
  8. Yossy H Says:
    8

    This is like the Dans Deals state of the union address πŸ™‚ Keep it up…

    ReplyReply
  9. jonathan aaron Says:
    9

    It’s my b day 2! Thanks Dan for everything you do!

    ReplyReply
  10. Anonymous Says:
    10

    Happy Birthday Dan! I remember following your site ctownbochur way back when! and we are about the same age, whodathunk? thanks for all the awesome deals and tutorials you put together for us here on dansdeals and on DDF. They are invaluable resources to anyone who likes to save money. May you be blessed with a shnas bracha v’hatzlocha b’gur and continue to have lots of nachas from your children and wife. Moshiach now!

    ReplyReply
  11. Dont forget Says:
    11

    And of course thankful to BA, Chase & SPG (at least this year)

    ReplyReply
  12. Voldemort Says:
    12

    Beautiful and touching!
    Thanks for all you do and have a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
    Ad meah viesrim…both you and the game.

    ReplyReply
  13. Anonymous Says:
    13

    1 thing i dont understand there r posts from 2003 over here

    ReplyReply
  14. Dan Says:
    14

    And thanks for the well wishes πŸ™‚

    @Anonymous:
    Link?

    ReplyReply
  15. touched Says:
    15

    Heartwarming post! Get some sleep Dan we need you to keep the deals commin! Hatzlacha bracha and nachas

    ReplyReply
  16. levine Says:
    16

    Wow what a great person
    We wish you only mazal …and more fun πŸ™‚

    ReplyReply
  17. Nechmor Says:
    17

    You are just amazing..u made a lot of things possible for a lot of ppl, and still thanking them
    May G-d bless you and your family, with years and years of happiness, health, fun and of course miles….
    Mazal tov

    ReplyReply
  18. ralf Says:
    18

    Happy b day dan! Thanx for all your work. Ad me’ah v’esrim shono. In good health

    ReplyReply
  19. username Says:
    19

    Happy birthday. Ad 120.

    And I am thankful to Daniel (as he likes to be called) for the great deals you post, your patience, and for all the DDF family.
    Gut Shabbos.

    ReplyReply
  20. tuda raba Says:
    20

    Happy birthday! and for us it is also the time ones in a while to thank you from the deepnes of heart on everyting, from big and small savings (especily in our days when we can allways benefit from a few extsa dollars…) to a place to discust issues… one word… thank you!

    ReplyReply
  21. Oscar Says:
    21

    Happy b day and thanks a million for all the time you share with all of us followers, it’s an amazing experience throughout the entire DD family!!

    ReplyReply
  22. Ushi Says:
    22

    Happy birthday lots of healthy and wealthy and gelthy years gezunterhyt

    ReplyReply
  23. Joe Says:
    23

    Happy Birthday and many thanks to you!
    I got sooo much out of DansDeals.
    Hashem should bless you with all the best.

    ReplyReply
  24. Nnee Says:
    24

    You are outstanding and a wonderful person BUT the one thing you forgot about when you thanked everyone was to thank HASHEM for without him and his divine intervention … Where would we all be?

    ReplyReply
  25. Dan Says:
    25

    @Nnee:
    Erm, I’m pretty sure I did, just read the post πŸ˜€

    ReplyReply
  26. coralsnake Says:
    26

    Thank you Dan. And Happy Birthday.

    ReplyReply
  27. Yitz Says:
    27

    Thank you Dan and Happy Birthday! You’ve saved me thousands of dollars and provided great entertainment throughout the years. Keep up the great work!

    ReplyReply
  28. Impressed Says:
    28

    Dan,

    Your writing is fun to read and impeccable. From your trip reports to your personal notes.
    Beats the pants off of many best-selling authors twice your age and decades more experience.

    I will be the first one to buy any book you write.

    You really should!

    Happy birthday!

    ReplyReply
  29. David Says:
    29

    All best wishes dan mazal tov and happy birthday

    ReplyReply
  30. jennifer Says:
    30

    yasher koach!

    ReplyReply
  31. Barry Says:
    31

    Happy birthday! Thanks a lot Dan! This post opened my mouth wide! And I’m sure it did to many others as well!

    ReplyReply
  32. Sol Says:
    32

    @dan you the man hbd brothA!!!

    ReplyReply
  33. Jim Says:
    33

    Among many things on this site, Dan, I’m thankful for your reverence for and faith in G_d. I am a Christian and I so appreciate your devotion to faith and family…..and, let’s find another “F”…..frugality!

    ReplyReply
  34. Simcha Says:
    34

    Thank you for every thing and Happy Birthday!!

    ReplyReply
  35. Tzvi Says:
    35

    Thanx dan for everything….perhaps it’s time to think of a new project for your followers πŸ™‚

    ReplyReply
  36. Nnee Says:
    36

    Understood but not ” for allowing you to support your family” I would change that for- giving you the most wonderful ABILITIES that in turn help so many people and even has reduced some of the anti semitisim- You are the number one guy around and we personally have given many people who are not of our faith the website. Via your website many who said derogatory things about our nation and people change their minds asap when they get $180 seats on oversea flights or free coffee and donuts .. People rightfully sing your well deserved praises and that is indeed due to Hashem giving YOU the ABILITY. Dan you are our #1 and remember Black Friday is always followed by a Restful Shabbos !!

    ReplyReply
  37. FlyFirst Says:
    37

    Happy Birthday Χ“Χ Χ™ΧΧœ .
    What a beautiful post !!
    All I can say is we are so thankful to you for your amazing site and the forums !!
    You definitely changed countless of people’s lives !!!!

    ReplyReply
  38. Thankful Says:
    38

    Happy birthday! Thanks so much for all you do. Your hobby saves young couples (and all ages) lots of money and that’s a truly beautiful Chesed! Keep it up πŸ™‚

    ReplyReply
  39. Dan Says:
    39

    Got a few touching personal emails just now, I really do appreciate those!

    @touched:
    Sleep after I’m 120 πŸ˜‰

    @Impressed:
    I read some TRs on DDF and only wish I could write as well as others do.

    But thanks πŸ™‚

    @Jim:
    Amen!

    @Tzvi:
    Always open to suggestions.

    @Nnee:
    I don’t like to talk about my abilities nor do I think they’re superior to what others can do or would do in my situation, but I do see where you’re coming from, so indeed, thank Gd for what he has given to me.

    @FlyFirst:
    @Thankful:
    Thanks guys!

    ReplyReply
  40. FlyFirst Says:
    40

    Happy Birthday Daniel.
    We are so thankful to you for your amazing site and of course the forums as well.
    All I can say is, you definitely changed countless of people’s lives.
    May Hashem bless you with strength and health till your 120

    ReplyReply
  41. Happy Birthday Says:
    41

    Only Brachos should come your way and we all appreciate your hard work in helping us all out

    ReplyReply
  42. jim smith Says:
    42

    Happy Birthday mate!
    You are the best.
    Super thorough, detailed, and impeccably organised. Through your work, you have created phenomenal experiences for many of us and we are very grateful. I hope you continue for many years, using your talents to the max.

    ReplyReply
  43. NY Says:
    43

    Happy Bday. You have informed of great deals and saved us all of money! Dansdeals is true to its name…
    Keep it up for many more years..! M’cyail l’hayil

    ReplyReply
  44. Dan'sFan Says:
    44

    Happy birthday Dan!
    Thank you for being such a great source of inspiration and of course for always being here to save us a buck πŸ™‚

    ReplyReply
  45. Baba Says:
    45

    Thanks for all you do, Dan – happy birthday!

    ReplyReply
  46. dave Says:
    46

    still remember back in high school when a friend of mine told me about ctownbachur
    good times.
    thanx dan
    happy b-day

    ReplyReply
  47. ricky Says:
    47

    Thank you! !

    Happy Birthday! !

    ReplyReply
  48. HM Says:
    48

    I am thankful for all the things DDF has opened my eyes to.

    ReplyReply
  49. lyla Says:
    49

    Dan,
    Well said, as always! Maybe we don’t always say it as well as you but we always appreciate all your effort. You have done so much for all of us by creating DDF. not only for the deals that are discussed but by chipping in or collecting for good times and bad. Although we sometimes disagree, fight, behave badly etc., most of the time we are there for each other. The F stands more for family than it does for forum.
    Happy birthday, happy anniversary dans deals and here’s to many more years all spend together.

    ReplyReply
  50. YMW Says:
    50

    Happy Birthday @Dan & Happy Anniversary!
    Thanks to you my family & I were able to get into this game & enjoy quite a few premium cabin trips. I wish you many more years in health & wealth.

    ReplyReply
  51. Jack out of the box Says:
    51

    Happy birthday! My 6 year old daughter shares your birthday.

    ReplyReply
  52. Sam Says:
    52

    Happy birthday!

    ReplyReply
  53. TravelBloggerBuzz Says:
    53

    Happy Birthday and congrats.

    This is only the beginning!

    ReplyReply
  54. YitzyS Says:
    54

    If you write your book quick enough, then we could buy it from Amazon and get 30% off for Black Friday book sale + 25% off from Amex offers OR 11 points per dollar on Chase. So get writing! πŸ˜‰ On a serious note, thanks for everything you do, Mr. Settlers Of Catan Promoter Of The Year πŸ˜‰

    ReplyReply
  55. Esther Gut Says:
    55

    Hi Dan!
    It was inspiring to read how you turned a hobby into a most unconventional way to make a living while helping countless people save money.
    Here’s one more feather for your cap:
    I run an organization called “Heart & Sole Shoe Fund”. Located in Brooklyn, we help thousands of needy children and their parents, with new shoes each year with all their footwear needs. We’ve been in operation since 1993.
    For the last couple of years I’ve been subscribing to Dan’s Deals. And I have been able to use the amazing tips you offer several times to buy shoes for our organization at great prices.
    Thank you so much! Tizku L’Mitzvos!
    Esther Gut
    Heart & Sole Shoe Fund
    aka “The Shoe Gemach”

    ReplyReply
  56. anonymous Says:
    56

    And let’s not forget about the 4 other brothers dan has to be thankful for who are always there for support.

    ReplyReply
  57. D I Says:
    57

    Happy Birthday! What a beautiful post! What I appreciate most is the fact that your parents gave you the independence to explore. Their confidence in you gave you the freedom to find your passion. They should be giving the chinuch seminars! Thank you, Dan and your wife. Thanks, also, for those $25 tickets to California. Our family had a trip we will never forget.

    ReplyReply
  58. Shulammis Says:
    58

    Happy Birthday, Daniel! This is a good time and place to express my Hakaras HaTov for your posts which have given me–alone, with my daughters, and with my family–several wonderful opportunities to travel to Eretz Yisroel. I am so grateful for all the chances I’ve had to spend time with my family there! ΧͺΧœΧ›Χ• ΧžΧ—Χ™Χœ אל Χ—Χ™Χœ!

    ReplyReply
  59. Anonymous Says:
    59

    Happy Birthday and THANK YOU DAN! You have introduced a whole new world of travel opportunities to a couple that are “retired” and who would normally not be able to afford to travel. You have changed lives and helped people expand their horizons and their thinking by enabling them to travel to distant places. May Hashem bless you and your family and all that you do. Yasher Koach!

    ReplyReply
  60. eliraps Says:
    60

    Thank you Dan for everything you do. very entertaining writing too!
    gut shabbes

    ReplyReply
  61. mother of 45 Says:
    61

    The link doesn’t work on my phone and the promo code isn’t being recognized… I’ve been on the phone to: BA, AA, Chase and Amex all day!

    Thanks for everything Dan, keep up the great work

    ReplyReply
  62. HeavenlyJane Says:
    62

    Happy birthday, Dan. You’ve been an important role model to frummies who yearn to be adventurous. I often send your Palau post to family members who claim there’s a short list of places that frum people can travel.

    ReplyReply
  63. Sir Says:
    63

    And I am thankful that because of your work and site my family and I (and so many others) have been able to visit Israel when I probably wouldn’t have been able to. Keep up the great work. Thanks again.

    ReplyReply
  64. Dan Says:
    64

    @YitzyS:
    Lol, not sure how many more sleepless nights my body will handle.

    @D I:
    Very true.

    @HeavenlyJane:
    Awesome. Palau really was a dream come true. I sure hope to make it back there one day and spend more time there.

    99% of frum people are happy just going to Miami for every vacation. There’s no reason to be that complacent and require kosher restaurants to be in every vacation spot.

    Have a good shabbos all, time to catch up on some sleep!

    ReplyReply
  65. Kristine Says:
    65

    Happy, Happy Birthday!!

    ReplyReply
  66. Koenig Georgia Says:
    66

    Dan. You are my hero. Amazing blog enjoyed it for two years. Have a serious question. Have you ever considered giving some editorial content away and allow someone to post during the 24 hours you are offline from fri night to sat night? Like tonight for example lots going on and having someone u trust take he rains could be helpful. Sat after Black Friday and quiet on the blog? This is painful ;). Thoughts?

    ReplyReply
  67. D93 Says:
    67

    Happy birthday Dan!

    ReplyReply
  68. Eli Says:
    68

    Happy Birthday Dan!

    “I do what I love and I love what I do”

    P.S. Tell us the truth! Don’t you EVER get board and wish you haven’t ever got yourself into this whole thing???

    ReplyReply
  69. YGX Says:
    69

    LIKE.

    ReplyReply
  70. Fellow smicha bochur LA Says:
    70

    It was wonderful getting to spend that year with you and learning so much from you great upbeat attitude

    ReplyReply
  71. just goes to show Says:
    71

    Nice post Dan, what about the fact that you’re a yid and are able to learn and do mitzvos?

    ReplyReply
  72. Donor Says:
    72

    Happy Birthday Dan the MAN!!!!!

    ReplyReply
  73. savta Says:
    73

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!! thanks soooo very much for all you do

    ReplyReply
  74. Eli Says:
    74

    @just goes to show:
    Nice comment, How about the fact that YOU’RE a yid etc.

    Most people talk about important things IN THE RIGHT TIME!

    ReplyReply
  75. YS Says:
    75

    @dan @heavenlyjane
    Link please for Palau post.
    Thanks!

    ReplyReply

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