People are always asking me, if I know Dan Fredinburg. And pretty quickly I learned that the correct answer to that question is “Can anyone truly know Dan?”
I met Dan once at a dinner I was hosting at SXSW 2013. He was a last minute addition to the rsvp as the plus one of the girl he was dating at the time. I remember trying to figure out who he was before he arrived. I remember trying to figure out who he was after he arrived. And for the past two years, from one conversation to the next with countless people who actually knew who he was, I was left with the visceral understand that Dan was not someone that could be “known” but that he was an ever evolving legend in his own time. All I could claim from my one interaction with him was that I knew when Dan’s name popped up in conversation in the future, I would listening.
But through all of those conversations that followed, I felt like I got to know Dan through the lens of others who had spent years as his friend. I felt like I got to know Dan’s spirit of adventure that bubbled up in every conversation when others bragged about his latest trek. I felt like I got to know Dan’s point of view on the world through conversations with others that conveyed his unwillingness to only see things as they are but fight for how things could and should be. I felt like I got to know Dan’s selflessness in story after story of “and then Dan showed up and made it happen when no one else could.”
So yesterday, when I heard the news of Dan’s death on Mount Everest, I was incredibly sadden, more so than I can remember being for someone I’d only met once. And I also got to know better the breadth of Dan’s legend in the incredible words and tributes by so many of my friends on Facebook and Twitter. I knew that I knew some people that knew Dan, I didn’t know I knew that many or that that many had been impacted by him.
So, did I know Dan Fredinburg? I can’t say that I did. But of all of my single serving friends, he made the biggest impact.
If you'd like to read more about Dan and be a part of the celebration of his life, you can go here and donate to the causes that he was so passionate about: CELEBRATING DAN