R.I.P. Alistair Farland, long live adventure!

By | October 20, 2014

I’m a 24 year old finding my way in the world. I get a kick out of technology, understanding different points of views and playing devils advocate. I love motorbikes, inappropriate jokes and asking awkward questions. I believe that pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is one of the keys to life. I am not  a good dancer (doesn’t stop me), suave or politically correct (It’s a work in progress).

This trip is forcing me to believe that people are inherently good and each border merely separates families who want better for their children than for themselves. 

I’ve slept in ditches, 5 star accommodation, woken up next to bears, escaped forest fires and survived the traffic in LA. All with a miniscule budget. I generally don’t know where I will be sleeping tonight, or tomorrow night for that matter. But then that’s all part of the fun.

“He’s probably going to die” – most of my friends 

Last week, Alistair Farland, a young motorcycle explorer from Australia, passed away in a crash. Al’s plan was to do a Pan American ride, from Alaska all the way down to South America. He had been on the road for just 2 months, when tragedy struck somewhere near North Carolina. Details are sketchy, and more or less pointless, but it appears he was involved in an accident with another vehicle.

Take a look at Alistair’s website called Whilst I Was Out. Beautiful pictures, childish humor, complete honesty and hope is what you’ll find there. Some will say he was stupid, others will say he died doing what he loved, everyone tries to explain the loss in their own way, to make sense out of what appears to be a senseless event originating out of sheer bad luck. Even though the motorcycle explorers community isn’t huge, everyone there is shocked and have shared their condolences.

I saw the news first on Facebook, then saw his website, and then his Instagram feed. Alistair was nothing but a 2 year younger version of me. We think alike, talk alike, share the love for photography, writing and biking, and look slightly similar too! The only difference between Akhil and Alistiar is that Al had the balls to go and do exactly what he really wanted.

It is surprisingly difficult to break the shackles of “conformity”, and go out there and do something that your heart desires, but is considered stupidly insane by the world. Read any book, watch any movie, see any serial, everyone seems to be pushing you towards doing what you love. But as soon as you try to do that in REAL life, you find everyone pulling you away from a life of self-pleasuring nirvana.

I have thought of it, on numerous occasions. What if I just pick up my bike and ride till I can? But what will happen to my family? What about my girlfriend and her family? Will I get a job when I get back? How will I manage the expense of such a trip? What if something goes terribly wrong? What if sponsorship comes with strings attached that ruin the fun of such a trip? WHAT?

It is surprisingly difficult to do the simple things in life, and Alistair went out and did it. I’m sure it wasn’t a cake walk, I’m sure he slayed some dragons in the process, but he did it. He was living the dream, doing what he wanted to, and that’s all that matters! Why did such an uplifting story end in such an idiotic way? Because that’s how it is. After all I’ve seen, including this incident, I have no doubt left in my mind about the fact that there is no God.

I would strongly suggest you go through Alistair’s website, take a step back, look at your own life on the scale of the universe, remember you aren’t here to work from 9 to 6. It’s OK if you can’t be like him, it’s alright if you can’t just leave it all and go live for yourself. Just remember how it feels, and do something for yourself.

I’d leave you with a line from Alistair’s website:

Death is temporary.

Regret is forever.

  • Jin Salamack

    To Akhil the Farland Family,

    Hi my name is Jin Salamack, while I was on a journey to skateboard the state of California I passed a young traveller who I got to know very well for the afternoon we spent sharing our travels. Your son Alistair shared these kind words to me as I was thinking of quitting my journey, he said to me “you can never forget that this is your journey, no one else’s you can’t forget that.” His words spoke to my heart and it pushed me at every moment I thought of giving up his wisedom pushed me until I could not push any further. I was able to skateboard from the Mexican border to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco thanks to your son. I just found out about your lost this evening whilst I was trying to find him on Facebook and stumbled across his tribute page. I am 21 years old today, and I just wanted to thank you for raising such a fine son. He was full of adventure and life most people cannot find in a lifetime! I wish I could have spoke with him one last time but this will do for me. Thank you again and sorry for your loss.
    He is a legend to a lot of us! I will keep spreading his story and his life until my breath has passed.
    Aloha, Jin Salamack

    • Thanks a lot for such a beautiful comment!

  • Chida

    RIP Al, thanks for sharing such story Akhil…

    • Definitely man, these are the people who matter 🙂

  • Jayesh

    RIP Alistair

    Thanks Akhil for sharing Al’s story. His website is very nice and seems he has discovered a lot in less time.

    Anyways, ride safe!!! …and just in case if ur thinking to take a break at Pune in next Mumbai-B’lore trip, give me call…

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  • ishan

    Don’t worry we all are gonna make it. Thanks for sharing this,very interesting and motivating. And yeah there is no god,realised it long back but not sure about ghosts tho lol. ##rip.

  • Geoff Farland

    Dear Akhil,
    I have read your article in an airport hotel where we are resting after arranging transportation of my son’s body to Australia.

    I needed to reply.

    I would welcome the opportunity to communicate with you offline, simply to tell you that my son’s death is no basis for the conclusion God does not exist. I do not expect you to agree. God is in control, not me ( or anyone else). If I was in control ( and even more so, my wife!) Ali would not have gone on his trip – he would have accepted my offer of a car instead.

    However that did not happen. As many now know, our darling boy went on an adventure. He travelled with a great attitude to all that he did.

    I cannot begin to describe the sadness we feel.

    That sadness, however, does not make me blame God. It just makes me realise we need to cling to Him all the more.

    He carried what is known as the Traveller’s Psalm in his pocket – Psalm 121. I know that, as we found it in his belongings as we packed up today.

    Let me know if you want to chat offline.

    • Hi Geoff, so sorry for your loss! I sincerely hope my words didn’t hurt you in any way whatsoever.

      I saw a good friend’s entire family being wiped away in a car crash 3 weeks ago. One of those who passed away was a 2 month old baby boy. I was there from the start, and saw it all as one after another of his family members passed on.

      Then I saw Alistair’s story, and all I could think of was WHY? How could things like this happen if God was really watching?

      I can’t even begin to imagine the situation you are facing, and I hope God gives you the power to keep pushing forward.

  • Steve

    A wonderful and heartfelt tribute Akhil.

    • Thanks Steve, Alistair deserves this and much more!

  • kudos to the dream chaser !!!!!!!