Deadly Destiny: Remembering Photojournalist Dan Eldon

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But to Eldon's mother, they were more than examples of a young man's breathtaking artistry.

"I felt, from an early point right after he was killed that there was much more to [his tragic death] than met the eye. Dan's life had a purpose."

"The way he galloped through his life, the message of humanity to humanity he left behind was really important, especially to young people, and if I could find a way to get people to respond to it—it's just that there was a message in those journals I had to get out," said Mrs. Eldon, who now lives in L.A.

Her instincts proved correct.

A few years after her son was killed, Mrs. Eldon published his extraordinary journals in a book called The Journey is the Destination. Since then, thousands of people around the world have flooded her and Dan's sister, Amy, with emails, letters and artwork, all with the same resounding message: Dan Eldon's spirit had changed their lives.

Under the Journals' Spell

I have to admit, I was one of those who fell under the journals' spell. I picked up the book as a gift, but it never left my side.

The experience is not so much opening a book as cracking open a universe; the journal is alive and bubbling with Eldon's cheeky sense of humor, energy, and boldness. The beauty and power of the pages rise like a vapor.

But for me, and maybe for the others, it wasn't just the striking imagery that drew me in. It was the knowledge that this was not a coffee table art book. This was a testament to a life lived. It was here in these pages that a young man chronicled his heartaches, moments of despair, and vigorous investigation into the "Big Questions of Life"—the nature of Good versus Evil, for example.

I realized for all his charm, Dan Eldon wasn't a saint. His father, Mike Eldon, reveals that "Dan wasn't always an easy person, he was obstinate and he could be unreasonable. But generally, the normal Dan was a chap that brought out the best in other people."

This is the very core of what moves me about this young man. He knew from an early age, almost instinctively, that we don't have a long time here. And it's taken me forever…to figure that out. I couldn't waste any more time. I had to tell this story.

In a mission statement titled "Safari as a Way of Life," Dan Eldon wrote:

"The most important part of vehicle maintenance is clean windows, so if you are broken down, you will enjoy the beauty of the view."

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