"ONE of the strangest places I've ever been was Miami," says Emma, who joined her famous rock star dad, Pete, on tour with The Who in 1989. "All the families flew out but it was August, baking hot, and deserted," she recalls. "There were rows of posh hotels, lined up along this fake white-sand beach. We all had bad jet lag and I would wake at six in the morning when it was still dark and take a walk. But the streets were empty - quite eerie. Then at dawn the sky would go a dark purple and the rain came down in torrents. All day, on and off, the rain would suddenly pour down, then minutes afterwards there was the tropical heat back again."

Another stamp from Emma's passport testifies that the trip didn't put her off the US altogether. "My boyfriend Dillon and I went to San Francisco in 1993. We hired this incredibly sporty car, a Ford Probe, and drove through the redwood forests of Northern California - there were some really strange-looking houses there, completely isolated and self-sufficient."

Emma's travels then took her to Idaho, in an attempt to trace the Oregon Trail. "There were valleys where you could still see the wagon ruts made by the original settlers who'd come over the Rockies - these huge tracks in the ground where the earth has never been ploughed since. There were little houses that had been built just for one winter, and plenty of real cowboys hanging around," she says.

"I never realised how addictive driving could be until I went to America. We covered 4,500 miles. The landscape is so extraordinary, you just need to keep driving to see what's over the next horizon. One minute you've got the volcanoes along the Pacific sea border, next it's lush valleys and national parks."

But Emma's real holiday romance is with a place much closer to home, where she doesn't need to pass through customs. "I usually go to Cornwall for holidays. My mum's got a house there, on the Lizard. I love leaving London on that elevated section of the motorway. It's usuallyaround sunset and I get a great feeling of being some sort of pioneer - leaving behind this great, buzzing city for the countryside beyond."

Emma Townshend's first album, 'Winterland', is out now on East West Records.