Thursday, January 27, 2011

The journey is the destination... being inspired by Dan Eldon

Of all the collections that TOMS has made, none have resonated deeper in my soul than the upcoming spring line inspired by Dan Eldon.

Dan was an artist, adventurer and activist who lived every day as though he was creating a work of art. In 1992, amid reports of widespread violence and famine, Dan drove from his home in Kenya to Somalia to witness the devastation with his own eyes. What he discovered was a country in chaos - villages turned into war zones and kids left in the street to beg for food. The photos that Dan took were picked up by news agencies around the world, and at age 22, Dan became one of the youngest photojournalists in the history of Reuters.

Dan's photos helped to trigger a global response to the unfolding tragedy in Somalia, and he stayed on to cover the story when the U.N. began sending food and peacekeepers to the ravaged country. But in 1993, disaster struck. After a botched military raid that left hundreds wounded and dead, angry Somalis attacked journalists who had arrived on the scene to cover the story. Tragically, Dan Eldon and three of his colleagues were beaten and stoned to death on July 12th, 1993.

In the aftermath of Dan's death, his mother, Kathy Eldon, published an incredible book, The Journey is the Destination, which compiled the photography, artwork and poetry of Dan's journals. I happened to see this book at a bookstore a few years before starting TOMS and read it cover-to-cover, completely mesmerized by Dan's life. Then, in 2008, I attended an Invisible Children rally and heard Kathy speak. It wasn't until after the event, however, that I put two-and-two together and connected Kathy with Dan and the stunning book that I'd discovered several years prior. I asked the IC guys to connect us... and Kathy and I spent a wonderful day together at her house in Malibu.

Finally, about a year ago, I was packing for a surf trip to Costa Rica and once again stumbled upon Dan's book. As I pored over the book on the plane, it struck me that the TOMS community should know Dan's story and that his life and journals would be a great inspiration for a future collection.

Today, I'm proud to announce that this vision has finally become a reality. Our new collection will officially be launching in February, and I really hope it inspires you to follow your creative dreams and use your talents to become a creative activist like Dan - transforming your bold ideas into positive action. May we all live with such boundless curiosity, optimism, and wild spirit...

PS - To learn more about Dan Eldon, go to You should also check out the Creative Visions Foundation - an organization created by Kathy Eldon and Amy Eldon Turteltaub to inform, inspire and empower the next generation of creative activists.


Cecily said...

What a fabulous partnership amongst you four (you, Kathy, Amy, and Dan). I'm so happy to see this happening! People will be walking in Dan's inspiring, purpose-led, creative shoes! Well done! Cecily

Joylyn said...

I want to thank you for sharing stories like these, through the information you share I have grown new awareness and my path is forever influenced by you and now also by Dan Eldon. Thank you with all my heart!

One Love - Joylyn

Kelly Sims said...

we'll soon be walking in the foot steps of Dan Eldon, a man who had such an amazing soul.

Unknown said...

it appears the blog is actually


SILVIA said...

great style!!
of course follow u

Ludie Mae said...

You're right - very inspiring to read about Dan and what he accomplished in his short life.

LOVE the quote 'the journey is the destination'. So many people get so focused on the 'ifs' (if I could just...then I could do this or be happy), that they forget that the whole point is to live in the NOW.

"We are always getting ready to live but never living" - Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Going to go continue my own journey and practice living NOW. :-)

Arlington, TX

melissa said...

thank you for sharing this! so cool!

Unknown said...


I am a college freshman at Indiana University. I love what you are doing and am truly inspired. I am taking a business presentations course, and my group has decided to research Toms shoes to find out more about your company and give a presentation about what you have created. I was wondering if we could do some sort of over the phone interview with you or one of your employees to find out more information. My email is I'm sorry I am contacting you through your blog, however I wasn't sure of another way to go about it. Thank you!

Kelly Kazmierczak