|Screen name: AdrynNeighborhood: Santa Monica|
Traveling BugsGroup Leader www.myspace.com/adrynmiller
Adryn Miller grew up on an island in Alaska. At an early age, Adryn began traveling with her parents because of the family’s remote location. When she was 7, they spent several months in Mexico. The trip left her with a thirst to learn more about the world. A precocious musical talent, Adryn went on her first piano concert tour at age 11. She earned degrees in broadcast journalism and Spanish from the University of Missouri, where she also swam for the varsity team. Based in Santa Monica, Adryn performs at concerts, gives private piano lessons — and travels extensively.
Q: Why is traveling important for you?
A: It gives you knowledge you can’t get any other way. When old-school European gentry completed their education, they did “The Grand Tour.” That was how they cemented what they learned. When I graduated from college, I backpacked across Europe for about four months. For my Spanish degree, I studied Don Quixote. When I got to Spain, I saw the statue of Cervantes and visited the places he had talked about. It brought together everything I had learned.
Q: Where have you been that you would love to return to, and where would you still like to go?
A: There are so many places I love! As a history geek, I am a huge fan of Scotland — I’ve been there many times. It’s such a magical place, romantic and rugged. Another favorite place is Novgorod in Russia, a medieval walled city. Places I haven’t been? I hear amazing things about Iceland — or Namibia! I will be visiting Italy’s Amalfi Coast this winter.
Q: Many single people, in particular women, worry about traveling alone. What would you say to them?
A: Go to places where you speak the language. For areas that have had problems, check with local authorities — they’re often helpful with advice for solo travelers. When you are there, you’ll likely meet other travelers and end up partnering with them for a certain part of your trip. For women, I recommend Gordon’s Guide. If single people want to travel on group trips, like safaris, they frequently have to pay an outrageous “single supplement.” Sites like adventurouswench.com offer great alternatives.
Q: Now let’s talk about the other important part of your life — music. How does it relate to your travels?
A: I began my journey in music at age 4, drawn to the piano at home. I was very lucky; I was able to study at institutions like Interlochen Arts Academy with Dadi Mehta, Zubin Mehta’s cousin — this guy was hardcore! I was this 11-year-old kid and he had me bawling, but my music really expanded under him. I’m a very outgoing person, but music is the way I can express myself. To me, the most important part of my music is — I share my soul. I share what I am thinking and feeling. It’s very personal.
I also swam competitively since I was 7. So my summers weren’t exactly relaxing. I was sent off to music academies and swim programs. I really wanted to do it, though. I felt it was important to be well-rounded. Through music and through competition in sports, you learn discipline and steadfastness.
Q: Such luminaries as Woody Allen have visited and signed your MySpace page. How did that happen?
Q: How do you approach your music?
A: I love the stories of the composers. I look at their lives and compositions, the way an actor does. My acting comes out through sounds — I know that’s an unusual way to put it — I go inside where that composer was. What was he thinking? What was going on in his life? Then I create a story around it. I’ll talk about the composer before I play, tell the story — about Gershwin or Chopin and his many loves, mostly unrequited. Right now I’m working on my second CD, a broad variety of Chopin. And I have another planned, of very soft, quiet and melodic music for relieving stress. I’ve also written some TV travel series treatments, on Alaska and on castles of the world, which I would like to produce and host.