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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

One year, 8,700 miles, 1,700 pictures, and no words: Nashua grad finishes his silent walk across country

NASHUA – More than 8,700 miles, nearly 2 million steps and close to 12 months later, Greg Hindy is ahead of schedule.

Hindy, 22, is in Los Angeles just shy of a year since he took a vow of silence and set off on foot from New Hampshire to travel up, down and around the country before finishing his silent trek at a friend’s house in L.A. on July 9, his 23rd birthday. ...

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NASHUA – More than 8,700 miles, nearly 2 million steps and close to 12 months later, Greg Hindy is ahead of schedule.

Hindy, 22, is in Los Angeles just shy of a year since he took a vow of silence and set off on foot from New Hampshire to travel up, down and around the country before finishing his silent trek at a friend’s house in L.A. on July 9, his 23rd birthday.

“He’s back in the city, so I think it’s a done deal,” his father, Dr. Carl Hindy, said this week. “There’s a lot of film to develop.”

Greg Hindy’s walk is intended to be a piece of performance art. He has abstained from talking and just about any form of entertainment. He said before he left that he believes the best art is intense art: when the artist fully dedicates himself to the project, essentially living the art.

The Nashua High School North and University of Yale graduate is toting a huge field camera that he mounts on a tripod a few times a day to document his journey. He’s mailed home about 1,700 pieces of 4x5 film. The next year will likely be taken up developing those and trying to arrange art gallery shows, Carl Hindy said.

Carl Hindy has documented his son’s journey via a Facebook page that recently topped 4,000 followers. He created a map that tracked Greg Hindy’s path based on where he used his debit card over the last year.

It shows a winding route that plunged down the Eastern Seaboard into Florida before turning west, and snaking across the South through Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. Greg Hindy turned north near the New Mexico-Arizona border and made his way through Utah and Idaho, bent westward again through Washington’s southern reaches and then down the West Coast through Oregon and nearly the entire length of California.

The Facebook page is plastered with pictures and stories from people who Greg Hindy has met along the way, many of whom reported back to Carl Hindy after spending a few minutes, a meal or a whole evening with his son.

“I’m just so excited for him to see the following he has because he has no idea,” Carl Hindy said.

Carl Hindy has been able to orchestrate a few reunions for Greg Hindy along the way by letting people – including a college professor and a former babysitter – know roughly where he was based on his supply purchases.

“All of this is behind the scenes because Greg doesn’t text, doesn’t email,” Carl Hindy said. “All I know is where he bought his bottle of water.”

Greg Hindy initially planned to not communicate at all but quickly realized he needed to at least jot quick notes to people along the way, including a police officer who stopped him when he took a wrong turn and ended up on a no-pedestrians allowed highway.

Before he left, and before he took the vow of silence, he said he wasn’t quite sure what he was trying to say but that, perhaps, a year of thinking about that is what he needed.

“I’m not really sure why I feel that I need to do it,” Greg Hindy said on a video posted on his website, greghindy.com.

What his first words in a year will be are a mystery for now. Carl Hindy said the plan is for Greg Hindy to retreat to a room alone, continue the video he made before his departure and only then reunite with his family. Carl Hindy will be there.

“We have no idea what the first words are going to be,” he said. “He doesn’t want anyone to be there, not even me.”

Joseph G. Cote can be reached at 594-6415 or jcote@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Cote on Twitter (@Telegraph_JoeC).