Jack Harries is a documentary photographer and filmmaker based in London. As a teenager, he began making videos through Jacksgap – and that made his name progressively famous among Youtube viewers. Successively, a couple of world-renowned companies such as Skype, Google, WFF, The School Fund etc., established cooperation with Jacksgap – and the result was worth it. The content of the videos dealt with social issues and drove attention to problems that matter. Currently, Jack focuses on raising awareness of issues about migration, and most importantly, climate change – just as we can see in Our Changing Climate.
Headed East introduces, however, a different topic. It is a film which documents a trip of two young men, Jack and Frasier, driving on motorcycles all the way from London to Budapest and back. This journey takes two months, crosses 10 countries and covers a distance of 10,000 km. What is its purpose?
I think I was very depressed. I mean, I was definitely suffering from a depression. I think I felt very lost. I did not have a sense of identity and I also think I was struggling with sense of purpose. I’ve spent a couple of years focusing on finding success through social media on building followers and subscribers, and I think I was under the illusion that those things would make me feel good, and make me feel happy.
Social media are tools which make communication way easier and give us the opportunity to connect with the whole world, wherever, whenever. But at the very same time, we don’t realise that we often aren’t the ones who rule them. Social media rule over us, over our emotions, over our happiness. We feel socially fulfilled, but only for a moment. We long for excitement and adventure, but only for a picture. Sometimes to really be someplace is about being offline. To experience real human interaction, we need to disconnect.
Jack and Frasier did not know each other very well before setting out on the trip but shared love over motorcycles brought them together. The journey was special, it had its rules. Both of them would cook their own food if possible, they would camp wild where possible and leave technology at home.
We definitely wanted to challenge ourselves, both physically, but also mentally, as well.
As they were moving from rural areas to the urban ones they discovered a very important fact. A city is a place with a high population density and therefore, in theory, people should feel socially stimulated and connected. However, in actual fact, people feel rather alone and isolated. Especially in a world in which we connect virtually. And that’s just not how it’s supposed to be.
You can be left feeling quite unnourished. And I think we were probably searching for, or at least I was searching for, a physical relationship and I was probably looking for it in Fraisier as a partner on a trip. But also physically searching and looking for that in people we’ve met along the way. I think that conclusion to that is that real life, human interactions, are much more meaningful than virtual interactions. And I think that going on the trip, getting on the motorcycles, and physically riding around Europe felt deeply nourishing.
We, as well, sometimes need to leave behind what’s holding onto the emptiness and rather encourage ourselves to try out the wilderness. Let’s experience mental freedom in the intimacy of people who are strangers but at the same time much closer than the ones we encircle us with, in our daily lives. Let’s seek more human interaction.
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