A Little More About Ryan Miller
Guest No. 1

A little about you.

I'm Ryan and I'm the owner and designer at 08 Left so I don't really have an aviation job per se but I do love this community and meeting all of the amazing people in it. And I thought it would be cool if we could all get to know each other a little better so that's why we're going to try and feature someone new every week for 2022 (our 8 year anniversary) with the 8 questions below.

And it wouldn't be fair if I didn't try the questions first...

The Past

1. We certainly don’t want to dwell in the past, but sometimes it’s helps the drive forward to look in the rear view mirror. If you could go back and change one thing about the way you were raised, what would it be? If it’s nothing, tell us why? 

This was a tough one! It’s not that there aren’t some things I wish I could change - a) I feel like I moved around more than I wanted and I had to start over with making friends way too much b) I feel like I was raised in a religion I’m not too stoked about c) I feel like I didn’t have the confidence I wanted to have… but honestly… here I am and I really like where I am. With every time travel story, going back is scary - the old go back to ‘fix” something and end up taking away something you really like? All that to say, I really like what I have. Those moves made me realize the world was big, that religion made me think - a lot - even about things I wasn’t supposed to think about - and that confidence, well, yeah, that was a bummer… but it eventually arrived and carried me into some cool stuff, even if High School wasn’t the hi-light of my life. (Which is better than being Uncle Rico.) So, yeah, I like so many good things now that I would never risk them to axe out some of the not so good things from the past.

2. If you could go back and tell your 10 year-old self, or tell an authority figure, one thing, which person would you choose and what would you say? 

I would go back and tell my little 10 year-old self with thick glasses to be even more wary of all that religion stuff than he already was, and to not be scared of leaving the main road to the mountain to find a better trail up.  Oh, and I'd also tell him he's about to start a lot of moves and eat alone in some cafeterias but don’t sweat it, he'll get a lot of juice out of those stories, and what they do to him, when he's older. Oh, I'd also tell that little guy to not rush into being an adult. There's plenty of adult waiting for you when you're ready, have fun being young. 

The present.

3. When’s the last time you felt afraid and/or lonely? We’re not trying to be sad here but a little “me too” always feels good. 

Oh man… I feel like the past 2 years have had a general high cloud of fear and loneliness over so much of life. But, more specifically, we live in a pretty conservative part of our town - with some absolute amazing people, including some family members (don’t hear me wrong) - and, if it’s not obvious, I’m not very conservative. At all. So, there are times... walking through a grocery store and reading sweatshirts, driving down the street and reading bumper stickers, running by the local coffee shop and reading its sign, that I feel pretty lonely or at least out of place, or at least like I’m not with “my people”. But it’s probably healthy too because it reminds me that it’s better to just see people as people instead of “my” people.  

4. We all know magic is way more than a card trick. So, when was the last time you experienced magic? Or the only way to describe the experience was “magical”?

The big moments that jump out are having fika in Sweden on a cold December night in an amazing cozy and warm little coffee house or swimming in the Mediterranean Sea at sunset off the Cinque Terre, or creating a "blind dinner" for our daughter who was supposed to be in London (having a blind dinner at the famous restaurant where food is served in pitch black) during the early days of COVID but was instead quarantined with the family at home for her 21st birthday… but they all have the same emotion… Is anyone else seeing this? Is this real? With a big smile. Just like a magic trick does. So, the last time I felt that magic was in Banff for a wedding. Holy crap. Unreal. All I kept saying to anyone who would listen was… can you believe this? (Side note: most magic is travel related - why I love it sooo much! Also, if you haven't been to Banff - highly recommended!) 

5. When is the last time you felt the most free? Any tips for how we can replicate it? 

It’s hard to explain but there’s this thing that comes over me from time to time - sometimes from a good song, sometimes from a documentary, sometimes from a movie, an interview, whatever… but it’s this feeling of… damn all the critics and the pessimists and the ones with all the answers, there is sooooo much life right there, just waiting, and I’m going to go and grab it. That sense of let’s do this… I call freedom… and it usually involves ignoring all the garbage out there and finding the people that (usually aren’t talking about it) but are actually living. You can sense it in them and most of them have also ignored all the garbage. Find people that are free (you know them when you see them) and follow them. I'm telling myself this again. 

6. Is there a way that aviation taps into the sacred/holy/spiritual/universe to you? If not - no, wait, there has to be right? 

The idea that I put my life in the hands of a machine that sails through the air at 40,000 feet and 500 mph that has been designed and built by some humans I will never meet, is being flown by humans I probably won’t meet, has been maintained by humans I will never meet, directed along the ground and through the sky by a series of more humans, that some other humans will serve me a meal and drinks while on board with other humans going to a place with more humans never ceases to amaze me. How has this become ordinary? (Also I have no idea the political affiliation, religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, or anything else about any of those humans.) It's all such a microcosm of life that’s it’s somewhat mind blowing to think about. Science and training and care and details and straight up beauty... We’re all so much more connected to each other, and dependent on each other much more than we realize. 

The Future.

7. If you could guarantee 1 thing for yourself 10 years from now, what would it be? Or maybe it’s nothing because messing with the future is tricky? 

Messing with the future seems less tricky than messing with the past (see above) but it’s still a little risky... so I’d go with health. We’ve had some good friends have some pretty serious diagnoses recently and, wow, it’s hard not to be grateful for health and to wish (and adapt lifestyles that offer the best chance) for more of it. (And to try to find ways to continue to help people who are struggling with it.) 

8. What gives you hope that tomorrow will be better than today? And thus, gives us all a little hope? 

My youngest daughter. She has (after years) convinced the entire family to go on a plant based diet in large part to help the planet (and our bodies). Lewis Hamilton. (I love Formula 1) He sold his private jet and flies commercial to lower his carbon footprint. I just read that Ed Sheran is buying up land all over England and planting trees and may never tour again after his next tour because of the ecological impact. My other daughter who is a pediatric oncology nurse in Seattle. My son who is a High School Math teacher. Lots of people (some more famous than others) are making big decisions (some more impactful than others) to make the world better (aka help others that they will never meet) in real and tangible ways that follow their convictions. Those decisions come consequences that make their life less “luxurious” as they could be. There's usually a cost to give something to others and there are so many people who couldn’t be happier paying that cost.

That gives me all kinds of hope. 
For more about Ryan you can visit his personal site

1 Response



January 04, 2022

Normally, I don’t click on links when companies send me “spam” emails but I’m very glad I clicked on this one. This was a very refreshing read and honest in a way that felt like Ryan was talking just to me over a cup of coffee.

Thanks for starting this blog series and I hope the rest of the stories continue to be as intriguing and sincere as this one.

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