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Greg Hindy talks

Last week, we told you about Greg Hindy ’13 and his remarkable year-long silent walk across the United States. After completing his journey two weeks ago, ending his vow of silence, and making a short video of his first words, Hindy agreed to answer a few questions for us by e-mail.

Y: When did you begin to develop this project? Were you still at Yale when you first had the idea?

H: While at Yale, I decided that I wanted to be an artist. This happened after I fell in love with photography, and the freedom of expression at the School of Art. I decided to do the project in January of my senior year, about a minute or two after I had the idea.

Y: Were there any particular classes or professors that inspired your walk?

H: I think the reason I had so much energy and excitement for the project was because of my experience in the photography classes at Yale. My professors, Dru Donovan, Lisa Kereszi, and Ben Donaldson are to thank. It was taking that first photography class that changed my life. It was like having one epiphany after another, every week, about what I am supposed to do with my life. I felt that I had truly ended up at Yale for a reason.

Y: How did you prepare for this trip? Did you train? And on a related note, can you tell me about the physical experience of the trip? What was the most challenging part?

H: For the trip, all of my training was philosophical. It involved intense debates of the meaning of the act (i.e. the project) and the meaning of art in general. It was where the project truly began. Physically, I did no conditioning. In fact, I allowed myself to gain 30 lbs in the months leading up to my walk. The first few weeks were very painful because of this, but I do not regret it. I learned a lot in those weeks. I was forced to be patient and wait for my body to catch up with my mind. Eventually, I was in good shape and able to move with much greater ease. I always walked just about as far as I could, or “until my feet hurt.” Making photographs along the way slowed me down, but it was incredibly important to me. First and foremost, I love photography. In the end, all this is really just a process of making photographs, as much of what I carried was my camera gear. Maybe the truth is that this whole thing is like some kind of intense expression of how much I love photography,that I'd give up everything if I could just make pictures of the world as I see it.

Y: How do you feel about the wider community on social media that followed you during your journey? Did you anticipate it?

H: I did not anticipate such a following on social media because I did not anticipate the creation of a Facebook group. My Dad found a lot of solace in using the Facebook group, almost as a surrogate for me in my absence. I am really happy that it worked out that way, though I admit I have little personal interest in social media. I do hope to stay in contact with people and send [them] photographs.

Y: And now you’ve decided to walk back. Why?

H: I decided that while I was in Washington. It was a period of being very inside myself, so deep into my daydreams that they seemed real. And I wanted the walk to be over, I was so close, my body hurt. It was almost hard to admit to myself that walking back, instead of trains or hitchhiking, was the best path. My soul can only move 3 mph. I think I had known for a while and had just been resisting the thought. California is as far from home as I have ever been, it just is not the end. In my gut, I know I won't be finished until I am standing back on the patch of lawn in my front yard where I started, to look down at my feet and know that they'd taken me the whole way. Like waking up from a dream and being back in your bed, except your feet really hurt and you’re really dirty and you lost some weight and you can hardly remember what happened . . . reminds me of Saturday morning at Yale.


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.

Filed under photography, performance art, Hindy, walk


  • Mingxing Ouyang
    Mingxing Ouyang, 7:16pm July 25 2014 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    A valuable demonstration of the importance to some other young people to grow from a boy to a man! Good real experience is certainly the most effective teacher for growth.

  • Carl Hindy
    Carl Hindy, 6:52am September 01 2014 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    And now Greg is walking back home! This time he is communicating: talking and emailing and texting. While we've learned to have mixed feelings about emailing and texting, it's been a relief in this case!! Greg is taking a direct route back, across the middle of the US and wanting to reach New Haven by Thanksgiving.

    We continue to follow him with our Facebook Group:

    His progress still is being plotted on an interactive map:

    Greg's siblings all are pleased to see him making his way back home. Greetings from Greg's sister, Jacqueline Hindy, and brother's Nicholas and George Hindy. We hope to have Greg home to Nashua, NH for the Holidays 2014.

  • Kelly Su Lim
    Kelly Su Lim, 2:48am September 10 2014 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    I briefly met Greg yesterday in Dinosaur, Colorado but did not realize the full complexity/simplicity of his journey. Needless to say, I am intrigued with his project. I currently live in Connecticut but have been on a month-long trip myself and have returned to Colorado for a pilgrimage of sorts. No matter where you wander, wishing you a path straight and true. Safe travels homeward.

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