World traveler and filmmaker Jacob Laukaitis, recently spent five days living deep in the slums of Mumbai and documented the experience in an eye-opening film. (Check out my Q&A with Jacob to learn more about him here.)
"This experience opened my eyes in ways I couldn’t have imagined because I got to spend so much time with the local people, who completely transformed my outlook on what their lives were like," explained Jacob, "I visited their homes, schools, apartment buildings, sewers, marketplaces, and a lot more places."
Check out the film, and my interview with Jacob about his experience, below.
What made you want to have this experience?
The movie Slumdog Millionaire and the book Shantaram.
Also the fact that some years back I spent two days exploring the slums, but didn't have the chance to live inside them and thus left with more questions than answers!
What surprised you the most?
The fact that most of the people in the slums were really positive and seemed to be quite happy with their lives. Also the fact that a lot of them had profitable businesses or worked in high-end financial institutions or technology companies and simply lived in the slums to save money on rent.
What was the most memorable moment?
I don't there was one most memorable moment, because I would have dozens of really memorable moments every single day.
Taking a shower in the morning would be memorable, having breakfast would be memorable, walking around the slums and mingling with the people would be memorable — all of it!
What is the one thing you want outsiders to know about life in the slums?
They shouldn't judge or have pre-conceived notions about the people of the slums. They are exactly like the rest of us — they have their own dreams, goals, thoughts, emotions, career paths, friendships, obstacles, and everything in between. Some of them are incredibly smart, others are good with sports, or running a business or raising kids or riding motorbikes — just like the rest of us.
Are you planning on going back?
Initially, I thought spending five days in Dharavi would be an obstacle, but I liked it so much that I spent two extra days just hanging out even after Praveen had to start working again and couldn't take me around anymore.
Wish I had even more time!
Where is your next adventure going to take you?
I'm currently traveling full-time, so there are quite a few new adventures in the pipeline — motorbiking around Mongolia, venturing into Northern Africa, doing the Trans-Siberia railway, traveling all around South America, and more.
When it comes to my future videos, I'm currently working on a video about how I motorbiked the second highest motorable pass in the world (Khardung-la in the Ladakh region of India), which was the craziest motorbike trip of my life.
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