Talking With A World Traveler
Hannah Miller is 16, a musician, world traveler, and one of my best friends. So I decided to interview her for a class assignment on international experiences. She has three younger brothers - ages ten and twelve and fourteen - and also has amazing musical talents. And without further ado, I give you the interview with Hannah Miller!
If you could choose between staying home and traveling, which one would you chose?
At this point in my life, I think I would always choose travel. Being on the road, having every day be a new adventure - that's something you just can't replace with life at home. That said, living in one place for more than a few months definitely has its benefits, and there are a few places I've been that I would not mind staying forever. Home is relative.
Do you like traveling with your brothers?
Yes, of course! Being on the road all the time keeps us in constant contact, which helps us to bond. Besides, I can't think of any fellow travelers I'd rather have than my family! The boys are always there to try something new, laugh, and most importantly, haul instruments!
Do you prefer to travel alone, or with your family?
That's a hard one. I've only taken a few solo trips thus far, and they were a blast! Traveling alone definitely has its ups. But it also has its downs, and by the end of each of those trips I was more than ready to be back with my family. I think a good mix of both kinds of travel is the best way to go.
Do you think travel has made a difference in your life? If so, how?
Of course travel has made a difference in my life. There's no question about it! I think I would have become a very different person, had my parents stayed home and raised me in the conventional way. Travel has opened my eyes to the world around me, allowed me to see that there is more to human culture than the park and the Walmart down the street. It's changed how I view foreigners when in the States. I know what it's like to be the odd one in the group. Travel has allowed me to make friends I wouldn't otherwise make, have experiences I never even thought were possible, and realize my dreams of future travel.
Don't you miss out on having regular friends as you would staying home? Why or why not?
I have to admit, this is something I was quite worried about when we first left home. But as it turns out, my fears were groundless. When on the road, you find ways to communicate with family and friends back home. I have many friends who I communicate with on a daily basis. True friends will stay your friends, despite the years and miles that can sometimes separate you. Anyone who travels extensively will tell you the same.
How do you cope with jet lag?
I force myself to stay awake for the local hours, and then knock myself out with sleeping pills at night. Usually this method works pretty well, and after a few days I'm over the jet lag. Also, I drink copious amounts of soda when I'm supposed to be awake.
What is your favorite mode of travel?
I love riding in a big van with the music blaring, Dad at the wheel, Mom writing, and the boys generally goofing off. My dream vehicle is a Volkswagon camper van... green, with a roof rack for my tent and instruments!
What is your favorite country or place?
That is a ridiculously hard question to answer. Every place has it's own unique attractions. I can never pick just one favorite place, but three of my favorites are as follows: 1: Italy; the food is fantastic, the people friendly, and the countryside beautiful. Also, they have cheese, which is a big attraction for me! 2: Lago de Atitlan, Guatemala. This lake (the deepest in Guatemala) is like a second home to me. It is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been, and the people I met there were incredible. 3: Last, but most certainly not least, Hill, New Hampshire, the United States. Although I was not born there (Indiana is technically home) I spent most of my early childhood in a small woodland cabin there, and those forests will always have a special place in my heart.
How has playing as a musician in different places been?
Music has always been something I've enjoyed. Having three brothers helps with carrying around my three instruments, not including the little drum! One of the many upsides to traveling with my instruments is that it opens doors I would not have otherwise even thought of! For example, my friend Myra (a guitarist) heard me fiddling one day, and suggested I play at one of the restaurants in town. A few days later, there I was, making new friends, having fun with other musicians, and making a bit of money on top of it all! Music is a universal language that I can use to reach people I couldn't otherwise engage. Even if you can only trade a few words in a various language, chords and notes are understood all around the world!
Do you have to play different music for each place you go?
Nope, luckily, or I would never learn fast enough! Of course, different cultures play different kinds of music, but people are always excited to hear something new!
Katie Wellman is a member of the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program
Photo courtesy and copyright Hannah Miller