I receive and publish an article written by friend and martial artists Antonio Graceffo regarding an interesting project who will help all the travelers and adventurers confronting their own actions with the ones of a real American journalist hero, Dan Eldon. Antonio Graceffo, teaming up with the band Stavros Music, is putting together a video tribute to Dan Eldon which will be available on Monkeyrockworld very soon, and will be the starting point for a few reflection articles about my life in Asia and traveling the world… read on!
Reuters photographer, Dan Eldon and three colleagues were stoned to death on 12 July 1993, in Mogadishu, Somalia. At age 19, Dan had been the youngest Reuters photographer ever, and he was only 22 when he died. In addition to covering conflicts in Africa, he personally organized aid and relief missions to help the starving people. Months after Dan’s death, his family, in USA, received a crate full of his effects from Africa. Among those possessions that survived were countless bound volumes of his writing, photos and art work which commemorated his life’s work.
“Dan made more difference in his short life than many do in a long lifetime.” BBC
Dan’s mother and sister formed a foundation called Creative Visions dedicated to the memory of Dan Eldon. Creative Visions Foundation supports “Creative Activists”, individuals who use the power of media and the arts to create positive change in the world? from creativevisions.org
I first heard about American, Dan Elden when his mother and sister appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show. His story touched me. And in some ways, it paralleled my own life, and my choice to leave my career and follow my dreams in Asia. I haven?t touched as many people or helped as many as Dan, but that is my dream and remembering Dan gives me energy and motivation to continue my work, reporting on tribal and religious
minorities across Asia.
When I was in Taiwan, adventure writing, a number of years ago, I barely had money to eat. When one of my family members offered to send me some pocket money, I asked them instead to send me Dan’s book, “The Journey is the Destination”. In this book, Dan said his mission statement was “Safari as a way of life”. All of his life was a journey of discovery. In a documentary on youtube, Dan’s mother tells a group of young people:
“To kids in the world, I think he would have said, “You may only dance a short time”, his dance has been very short indeed, but he would have said, “You choose your dance. You choose the music for your dance. You dance proudly, you dance loudly, you dance with incredible spirit and creativity and life and joy. And especially you go out and dance with love”.
I even mentioned him as my inspiration in my book, “The Desert of Death on Three Wheels“. Here is the quote from when I finally made it across the desert, ending in the small city of Kashgar, China
“No one gave me a parade or a medal when I got to Kashgar. The trip was over. But the Journey continues. I remember my hero Dan Eldon whose biography is called. “The Journey is the Destination.” It’s not about achievements or rewards. It is about having an interesting life along the way. Next spring I plan to be the first American to cross the interior of the desert from South to North, with a camel.” There is an article excerpt published on line.
Recently, I received correspondence from Sam Stavros, who is the lead singer of a band, Stavros Music, who did a song dedicated to Dan Eldon called Neverland. At first I thought the meaning of Neverland was that Dan, and others who follow their dreams, don’t live in this world. They live in some parallel, magical, universe, a Neverland. And that meaning is suggested, but the refrain which says, “I am a plane that only flies.”
Following your dreams you just fly and fly and never land.