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 DanEldon.com. 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.