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These Photos From Years Of US Train-Hopping Will Make You Abandon Normal Life

Mike Brodie caught five years of adventure on camera... And the results will leave you stunned

Photo: Mike Brodie Photography

Some people dream of leaving home for an endless adventure. Some dream of leaving their life behind them and discovering a whole new world. Some people, but not many, actually follow through on it too.

Mike Brodie is one of those guys. When he was just 18-years-old he left everything and set out on a journey that would see him spend the next five years illegally train-hopping across America.

Photo: Mike Brodie Photography

He did bring one thing though, a Polaroid camera. Working under the name ‘The Polaroid Kidd’, Mike amassed an amazingly distinctive collection of photographs during his time on the road.

Those pictures have since been compiled into his book ‘A Period of Juvenile Prosperity‘, and more recently into ‘Tones of Dirt and Bone‘, available from last month.

Photo: Mike Brodie Photography

As you would expect from such an adventurer, Mike remains unsure about the place of his photographs in art galleries and albums. He told The Guardian: “I have mixed feelings about the photographs being in an art book and on the walls of art galleries, and so do some of the kids I photographed when they come to the openings.

Photo: Mike Brodie Photography
Photo: Mike Brodie Photography

“You have a lot of worlds colliding right there. But most of them are cool with it and happy that the photographs are being shown.

“A lot of the kids I knew have since gone back to their old lives. It was something they did for whatever reason before they settled.

Photo: Mike Brodie Photography

“Some were running away, some were out for adventure. It’s like being homeless by choice, I guess, but, living like that you learn a lot of American values like self-reliance, independence.”

Photo: Mike Brodie Photography

His travels in those four years took Mike over 50,000 miles across 46 states, but despite an outstanding response to his work, Brodie decided to leave the world of photography behind. He now works as a mobile diesel mechanic in his silver ’93 dodge-ram.

“I just can’t seem to stay put, but I’m trying. I’m still drawn to that old, free lifestyle. I still miss the trains, but I’m not a kid any more. I have to move on, settle down.”

Photo: Mike Brodie Photography
Photo: Mike Brodie Photography

Whatever Brodie decides to do next though, his time on the road will always be immortalized through images that to this day leave all who see them stunned.

Photo: Mike Brodie Photography

For more photographs or info on Mike and his work, head to his website. You can also purchase his collection ‘Mike Brodie – A Period of Juvenile Prosperity’ here, and ‘Tones of Dirt and Bone’ here.

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