Thankful For You And 16 Years Of DansDeals!

59
DDMS IconNever Miss Another Deal - Follow DansDeals on Facebook

What a year it has been.

For me, 2020 started in shock and mourning for my friend Yossi Bialo.

In January we visited my in-laws in Kansas City, where we surprised my mother-in-law with a birthday visit. My in-laws come to visit us several times a year, but who could have known that they wouldn’t be able to do that this year?

We also visited the Bahamas. I won’t forget the hushed voices on the plane as word spread about the death of Kobe Bryant. I’ve taken my kids on hundreds of flights, with usually a couple dozen each year. Who could have known that this would be their last for the year?

In February I scrubbed my plans to fly on Cathay Pacific’s final flights to Vancouver due to COVID-19 and went with a friend to NYC for a day to the Kosher Food and Wine Festival. But man plans and G-d laughs, because as we shmoozed with visitors from Italy, we were infected with some of the first US cases of COVID-19.

It’s been a tough year for everyone.

But even with everything we are all going through this year, I have to be thankful for the good.

In April, my brother JJ and his wife Basha welcomed triplets into the world.

In May, my wife Mimi gave birth to a beautiful son, our 4th child, as we caught up to JJ and Basha.

And in June, we had an intimate but amazing wedding for my brother Akiva.

I was grounded for a record 155 days before I took back to the skies in August. But while staying on the ground for that long felt unnatural to me, it was also time well spent with the family.

I had to cancel my plans to go to South Africa earlier this month, but I was able to take an RV trip out west and visit some of our nation’s majestic national parks.

Majestic Arches National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park left me in awe.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by DansDeals (@dansdeals)

 

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by DansDeals (@dansdeals)

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by DansDeals (@dansdeals)

 

 

One of the last times I saw Yossi was last November at an emotional Siyum Sefer Torah that he had organized around this time last year. It was dedicated in honor of Yossi’s brother in law and my friend Shua Polonsky, who went from being in perfect health to passing away within weeks of becoming sick.  I always admired his upbeat and positive outlook on life and contagious smile.

And last year our longtime Maui photographer, Jonelle Littleton, lost a battle with depression.

Photo: Jonelle Littleton

 

It seems like every day this year comes with more crazy news.

My heart breaks and goes out to everyone who lost a loved one this year, words cannot describe what 2020 has meant to far too many of us.

I guess the lesson I take is that life is far too short and fragile. Be sure to take a minute to count your blessings, thank the people you love, and do what you’re passionate about.

For me, having Shabbos in my life is the ultimate treat, a day I can count on every week when I can spend 24 hours with my family uninterrupted by digital noise.

With most travel interrupted, I’ve been able to take a step back and appreciate my family more than ever.

Photo: Ellie B Photography

 

DansDeals.com is now old enough to get a drivers license in Ohio. I’m pretty sure our new little one will be driving any day now if I just blink a little too long.

 

 

I for one am looking forward to a time when I can travel freely with my family again. I haven’t seen any one of my grandparents at all in 2020! So I’m certainly thankful for the news that a highly effective vaccine is just around the corner. Hopefully the world will return to the old normal in 2021, because I sure am tired of the new normal.

I can’t help but think back to the fateful Black Friday when I started blogging, 16 years ago in Sao Paulo. Was it luck that the school I had volunteered to teach at for a year was broke and couldn’t afford toilet paper? It only made sense when I found a deal for free toilet paper that I’d share it with my friends and family, and what better way than via a public blog?

But the very fact that I was in Brazil for the year was only thanks to divine providence. But that’s a story that has to be told in person.

I suppose it was always in the cards for me. I turned 20 on that Black Friday in Brazil when I started this site. I was born on November 26th, 1984, which was the Monday after Thanksgiving. It may not have been back then, but nowadays the Monday after Thanksgiving is better known as Cyber Monday, the holiday of internet deals.

I’d certainly have laughed at you if you told me in 2004 that I’d still be blogging daily at the same site. I’d think you were even crazier if you told me that it would be my living and calling.

But I guess the signs were always there. 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 flip items 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 points 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 rack up and burn through each year. There are worse hobbies to have, no?

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 15 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.

The fact that my hobby and job enabled me to travel to places I could have never have dreamed of traveling to and do things I could have never dreamed I’d be able to do is something I never take for granted.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by DansDeals (@dansdeals)

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by DansDeals (@dansdeals)

 

And so I’m thankful to G-d for allowing me to support my amazing wife and 4 adorable children in the most unique of ways. And for being able to take them on hundreds of flights to see the world thanks to miles.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by DansDeals (@dansdeals)

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 helping me run this website for the past 7 years.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by DansDeals (@dansdeals)

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. Aside from being impossibly cute, their wide-eyed wonder at seeing the world, 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.

Photo: Jonelle Littleton

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 just shmooze. It’s always awesome to have a DDF DO and put a face to a name that you talk to online.

And I’m thankful to you. For reading. For following on TwitterInstagram, Telegram, SMS, and Facebook.  For sharing your deals, experiences, and trip reports on DDF and the DDFB group. For telling your friends and family. For commenting and adding insight. For patronizing our advertisers and shopping or applying for credit cards through our links. For sending me countless heartwarming emails letting me know how DansDeals made a difference in your life, whether it was being able to take a special trip that otherwise would have been out of reach or even finding your soul mate through DDF! You make it all possible and worthwhile!

It’s hard to believe 16 years are in the books.

I feel like I live and breath DansDeals every moment of the day. But I also feel like I haven’t worked a day in my life. I suppose that’s what happens when you have a job that you’re passionate about.

I still haven’t wrapped my head around turning 36 today, I feel like I blinked and aged 16 years. But I won’t stop as long as I’m having fun. And I hope you won’t either.

With heartfelt prayers of thanks for all I have and hope for a better year to come.

-Dan

Leave a Reply

59 Comments On "Thankful For You And 16 Years Of DansDeals!"

All opinions expressed below are user generated and the opinions aren’t provided, reviewed or endorsed by any advertiser or DansDeals.

Sort by:   newest | oldest
zow

Thankful for you, Dan. YHS and AMvE, and all brachos to you and your loved ones.

Fred

Very nice!
You should be Zoche to post a ‘HOT deal’ of Mashiach, speedily in our days!!!!!!!!!!

YMY

Happy Birthday!!!

Thanks for all the deals!

May Hashem Bless you and your family with Gezunt Nachas and wealth Ad Meia Viesrim!!

Mk

Mazal Tov

Winnie

What a beautiful blessing of a career.

Win Win all around.

Go Dan

Steve

Happy Birthday Dan and thanks for a fantastic site.

P D

Thankful for all the deals! Happy Birthday to Dan’s deals. Many more years to come.

Lee

Happy birthday to you! Ad meah v’esrim doing what you love and loving what you do! Thank you for all you do.

t g

thanks DAN for everything. no mention of trump losing?!!
i guess he didn’t yet

Kachnik

Tizku l’mitzvot!

Rob

Mazal Tov Dan!!
Ad 120 Ka 20

Mo Mo

What a heartwarming article. Happy birthday and thanks for the work and passion you put into this!!

When describing this year’s travel, I think you missed out my hometown of Chicago. Weren’t you at Shallots and hoverboarding at Lake Michigan?

Charles Kuttner

Happy Birthday, Dan. I somehow think of you and this group as family, and now I read that you and I both have family in Kansas City. We’re no doubt related, at least through Abraham Avinu!

Yosef mi Chicago

Dan 2024!

Thanks dan! We appreciate you

Chaim

Happy birthday! Many more!

Leibel

Thanks for all you’ve done. Keep up the great work. I just would like to ask for one thing. When Moshiach comes b’korov, see if you can get me a window seat. I’ll even pay full fare.

Shawn Karp

Hakaras Hatov to you, Dan, for all you do!
You make us NYers so jealous of living in Cleveland and being able to churn the VGCs & MCGCs to rack up the points.
Can’t wait to hear you talk of the hashgacha of that day is Sao Paolo in person!

Hatzlacha Rabba b’chol ma’aseh yadecha!!!

S

Nice article, and happy birthday!

I was skiing down Whiteface Mountain when my friend got a notification about Kobe. We didn’t believe him since it was only on TMZ at that time, but by the time we made it to the bottom of the mountain, it was reported further, and was the talk of the lift.

Dante

Happy Birthday from Brazil!

Waterlili

Happy birthday, Dan!!! Thank you for all the fantastic deals and tips!

Eli

Happy tzvei mohl chai! Biz hundred uhn tzvontzek gezundeheit!
Thanks for all that you have helped me over the years. I look forward to meeting you one day to thank you personally.
I also enjoy reading these types of posts to get appreciation of the real mentsch behind everything. Keep it up!

AH

Happy birthday Dan!!!

Ten Bucks a Week

You are my top website I visit. Keep up the great work.

Norm

Happy Birthday

Canadian

Happy Birtdan!
2020 was also the year I almost lost my DD notification on twitter SMS…
P.S. I’m waiting for the stickered roundup post for BF. Is it on the way?

Ricster

Thank you Dan. I discovered you back 8 yrs ago. I have traveled more with points than i would ever dream of . I have taught my wife and 2 adult kids to follow you and enjoy the benefits of you work.. Thank you again

yonah

Dan – I hope you had (will have) a socially distant farbrengen for your hebrew birthday. May you be blessed with many more years of health, happiness and nachas (and deals)

username

Thank you. Happy Birthday.

gitter

tell us honestly theres no way your still banking those millions of miles earned from cahtay pacific ebay anything points and delta miles earned from booking your yeshiva from lax to jfk your for sure have to be selling some of them ? no ?

ari3

Mazal tov! Many more happy and healthy years!

Yaalili (Yisroel)

Happy Birthday Dan and wishing you a wonderful year ahead! The Dan’s commentary articles are always an enjoyable and authentic read, and thank you for doing what you do and bringing us the best deals.

Judy

What a beautiful family by’h
Enjoy!!! Nachas!!!!

ross

Happy Birthday. You should make some wild predictions for when you turn 52.

You have a talent and a passion to help those who can fill a book the size of an encyclopedia with stories of being in the wrong place at the wrong time (but at least I’m consistant.) And those totally ignorant of the art of seeing a deal. (Hotels have credit cards??)

You’re racking up more miles in Heaven.

Fan

Thank you for being such a positive voice always.
Aside from all the great deals, it’s always enjoyable to come onto your site and read everything you write.
May you go m’chayil el Chayil!

Steven Saposnik

Thanks for the informative update! Happy Birthday and continued success!!!

Steven Saposnik Delray Beach, FL

daniel in cherry hill

i understand its a business, but still thank you for all the deals big and small that let me travel, keep my kids educated and entertained, house organized, shabbos and yom tov table set, etc.

Jack

Wow if you’re 36 then you started this when you were 20!! Wonder what the Rosh Yeshiva had to say and the shadchanim!

Nes

I just discovered your website a few months ago and I’m thankful for you and your hard work and dedication. May God continue to bless you and your family. Happy Thanksgiving!

Lcm

Mazel tov, a happy birthday on to many happy, healthy, and wealthy more, with much nachas and only simchos.
Thank YOU for all you do.
Thank you for being a proud Jew and shliach to the blogosphere, keeping up a real standard with your head held high, with true care sensitivity to others, as a true mensch.

On a different note, happy (hebrew) birthday to JJ!

JEANETTA R KNOPP

Happy Birthday, Dan. Somehow we found your site many years ago and we use it all the time. Thank you so much for saving us so much money. This has been a long and difficult year but we have grown so much during this pandemic. In July, my baby brother passed. I had begged him to go to the hospital a few weeks before his death but he was afraid of getting COVID-19. He was taken by ambulance to a hospital a few blocks from our home and we could not visit him and his last words to me were “Help me”. He quit breathing and they brought him back and he died two days later of a stomach bleed. They broke the rules and let my daughter and I be with him for his last four hours. He was on a ventilator until 34 minutes before his death. My daughter and I sit and held his hand and talked and prayed until he left us. Some day we will have a funeral for him. Thank you, Dan.

ckmk47

I’m so sorry for your loss. And the difficult way it happened.
May G-d comfort you and your family.

Jon

Thank you!

Shkoyach

Happy Birfday Brov!!!

JR

Happy birthday! Definitely your busiest time of year. Thank you for helping your viewers out with great deals.

Just saying

The yeshiva in SP wasn’t broke then, they were just upset at the bochurim for wasting, so the hanhala decided to have bochurim bring it..

Any how. Dan was a great shliach, and I love Dan’s deals.
יאריך ימים על ממלכתו עד ביאת גואל צדק במי”א.
Which you great hatzlacha, and lots of good deals.

Paul in Fairbanks

Happy B-day! And thanks for the website which got me upgrade to 1st class on AkAir outa Honolulu; a very discounted hotel right in the heart of Kona last year, and same discounted hotel (even more discounted this strange year) right in heart of a much less busy Kona next week…if I can get all proper with State of Hawaii’s somewhat ever changing Covid testing requirements so as to get to Hawaii and be legal to go to the beach! Sorry that should be posted to trips or somesuch but you and your website have helped me out.
So,
Thanks

dante

B”H
Thank you>>>>Hashem bless you and your family with Revealed Good>>>>May the years ahead be filled with good health and happiness, Torah and Mitzvos, learning and achievement and all the obviously good things which are necessary for them>>>>

anonymousjunkie

Happy Birthday!! You sure have changed the lives of people around you as well. I would have never built credit if it wasn’t for being convinced by your posts to chase those miles when I was in Yeshivah. Finding the right resources and advice on the forums also helped a lot when starting my business! You helped fueled my traveling addiction to making traveling half the year the new normal. (I also found along the way that it’s ok to be more than 10 miles away from a kosher restaurant!) Thank you Dan 🙂

Savta

Happy birthday Dan and thanks a lot for all your information my husband and I also have traveled the world beyond our wildest dreams if it wouldn’t of been for your website and great information

Chaim

Amen! Thx for the insperation!!!!!

wpDiscuz