After a 9,000-mile walk across America in complete silence, Greg Hindy ’13 has finally finished his year-long journey.
Hindy began the journey last year on his birthday on July 9, releasing a YouTube video in which he declared he would take a strict vow of silence as part of a twelve-month performance art project. He vowed to abstain from digital technology as well, staying away from cell phones, the Internet and television.
“Essentially I must entertain myself purely with my thoughts,” he said in 2013, adding that he did not exactly know why he was undertaking such a project.
Throughout the journey, which he undertook almost exclusively by foot, Hindy took photographs on a field camera and mailed the film to his parents in New Hampshire. Hindy’s father, Carl Hindy, tracked his son’s progress through purchases made on Hindy’s debit card and updated friends, family and other spectators through a Facebook page made for the performance art project. By the end of the project, the online page boasted more than 5,400 members.
His journey also made national news, drawing attention from media outlets like NBC Connecticut and the New York Daily News.
A cognitive science major who lived in Silliman College, Hindy had planned on entering medical school before he took a photography class his senior year that convinced him to switch out the stethoscope for the camera.
Carl Hindy said his son viewed photography as a means of capturing the pride and character of ordinary people.
Hindy began his journey in his hometown of Nashua, New Hampshire and moved southward into Florida before eventually moving westward. After traversing another five states, Hindy reached California where he was greeted by friends and family last week — exactly one year to the day when he began the expedition.
Like his last words at the start of the project, Hindy’s first words after a year of silence were recorded on video.
“I think of being so thirsty that the desert seemed to be still and everything silent,” he said in the video. “It’s about being pardoned by pavement…it’s about seeking by wandering and it’s about speaking through silence, unspoken thoughts like vapors.”
Throughout the journey, when absolutely necessary, Hindy would communicate through written notes. Even when he was hospitalized in Utah during a bout of food poisoning, Hindy only communicated with the medical team through letters. He also nearly got lost in Utah’s Zion Natural Park during an intense snow-storm.
Still, the journey is not over for the now-23 year old. Hindy will spend about a week with friends in Los Angeles before making the return trip to New Hampshire. According to the art website Immaterial, he hopes to acquire a master of fine arts degree and become a university professor.