“I dare you to find another individual in their life who was able to jump first and fear later. Who else could roll into an African village, have everyone fall deeply in love with him, dance, play, laugh, and take compelling photographs, then be off on the next safari while somehow leaving a part of himself behind? In everything I create, I think of Dan. His influence runs throughout all the stories I tell.” – Jason Russell, cofounder of Invisible Children

The Art of Life: Dan Eldon in Africa from Charles Tsai on Vimeo.

“After finishing a sociology exam more quickly than the rest of the class, Dan asked to leave the room and was denied permission. He argued with his teacher that, except for the desire to exert control, there was no reason to keep him sitting there. When the teacher still wouldn’t nudge, Dan bellowed, ‘You’re wasting my youth!’ The teacher let him go.” – Safari as a Way of Life

Dan’s youth was far from wasted. He raced through the heart of East Africa on safari with his friends, photographed the horrors of famine and war for Reuters News Agency, and explored more than 40 countries in his 22 years of life.

Whether he was guiding blindfolded friends through New York City subways or driving his Land Rover down rocky dirt roads in Kenya, Dan had a unique gift for conjuring strange new adventures from the monotony of daily life.

He lived each day like it was his last and didn’t seem to waste too much time pondering the future. Life was the here and now. He viewed a safari as a way of life and coined the phrase, “The journey is the destination.”

The world was his classroom and his six-inch thick black journals were his textbooks. Traveling and exploring excited him. He didn’t see borders, foreign languages, or skin colors as obstacles, but rather as opportunities to learn and make friends. He was fearless.

Adventurous might just be the only word that accurately describes Dan Eldon.