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A year of silence comes to an end

On July 9, 2013, Greg Hindy ’13 celebrated his 22nd birthday by seting up a video camera in his backyard and explaining how he would spend his following year. “I guess this project is maybe at its core really just me trying to figure out what it means to be an artist,” he explained. “Maybe someday, hopefully it’ll come to me and I’ll understand what I need to do. But for right now, I just have to go with my gut, go for this walk, see how it goes, and I don’t know . . . spend a year thinking about it. At the end, I’ll just take the time to reflect on it. I just want to learn about myself and the artist I want to become. So I’m going to begin the vow of silence right . . . now.”

These were Hindy’s last words before he spent a year walking—in silence—more than 8,000 miles up, down, and across the United States, starting from his home in Nashua, New Hampshire. That journey came to an end on Wednesday, as Hindy turned 23 in Los Angeles.

In that introductory 12-minute video (the last seven minutes of which are the first seven of his silence), he explained that while he had many artistic and philosophical motivations, his journey was ultimately one of personal discovery. As he traveled, he took photographs on a 4x5 view camera of the places he went and the people he met. Hindy carried all his possessions in a jogging stroller (he went through six sets of wheels during the trip) and used only pen and paper to explain himself and express basic needs.

Hindy swore off more than speech; he also abstained from reading, technology, and all but the most essential communication. As such, he’s been a difficult man to reach. His father, Carl Hindy, followed his progress over the past year by tracking his debit card purchases. Carl Hindy also maintains a Facebook group that provided updates, including photos provided by the people Greg met during his walk.

At Yale, Hindy majored in cognitive science, but took several art and photography classes, and calls himself an “honorary art major.” A deep interest in performance art inspired his silent year, which has been funded by Kickstarter donors and the Chase Coggins Memorial Fund. The project has garnered prominent attention from artists like Marina Abramovic, not to mention plenty of news outlets and countless individuals across the country.

Indeed, Hindy’s journey would have been impossible without the kindness of strangers, who provided him with warm clothing, food, and shelter every step of the way. At one point in Utah, a suspicious chicken sandwich from a gas station put him in the hospital. Communicating with medical staff only through written notes, Hindy endured a brief bout with food poisoning and dehydration. A week later, he was enjoying Easter dinner with a family he met in Zion National Park.

Some of Hindy’s friends from Yale flew out to LA to meet Hindy at the end of his journey. They greeted him with congratulations and a beer. The artist/trekker has a massive collection of film gathered during his journey, and has now filmed a follow-up video to the one he made in Nashua a year ago. He plans to post it in the coming days. As of yet, however, we don’t know if Hindy found what he was looking for, or even what his first words were after a year with nothing but his thoughts.

And the latest news, according to his father? “Yes, he plans to walk back.

Update: Greg Hindy has posted his followup video from this journey's conclusion. Watch it on his Vimeo account here.


The Yale Alumni Magazine is published by Yale Alumni Publications Inc., an alumni-based nonprofit that is not run by Yale University. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration.

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1 comment

  • Mingxing Ouyang
    Mingxing Ouyang, 1:26pm July 11 2014 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    Respectful! Some young men already have an old heart, but some young men prepare for a strong heart for a great future.

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