One of my favourite words in the English language is ‘liminal’ – a liminal space is like a place between places, one that’s outside of normal life where you can feel free to discover or experiment or maybe tell a complete stranger things you’ve never told anyone in your life. Hitchhiking is a liminal space, and sometimes a simple conversation with a driver opens a door into a baffling, invigorating, disturbing or ecstatic corner of the human condition. As a hitchhiker you never know if there’s a powerful story waiting inside the next car.
“Behind the Signs” is a collection of twelve stories from liminal moments with people I’ve met on the road – some are drivers, some offered a place to stay, others were fellow travellers. All the audio recordings are taken from the unguarded conversations where a piece of their mindset, emotions or worldview reveals itself. Some are amusing, some are bleak. Many are political. All are very, very human.
Photos were taken in Ukraine, Bosnia, the US, China, Germany, Russia, Canada, Romania, Colombia or Belgium. Recordings were made either with the original storytellers (when possible) or by amateur voice actors.
ABOUT JOSH NADEAU:
I’m a Canadian hitchhiker who’s spent most of the last five years travelling to different parts of the world with a big focus on the former Soviet Union. What I love about hitchhiking is how you meet people from every demographic, which is something you don’t always have when you stay in one place (especially in a city).
Hitchhiking’s forced me to grow because I constantly have to talk to people who believe things I don’t, or who have opinions of the world that are the exact opposite of mine. In a world where social media lets us stay in comfortable zones where we can ignore the stuff that makes us uncomfortable or confused, hitchhiking confronts us with the world as it is – that’s how my passion for collecting stories really took off.