What is “The Place, The Person, The Plate”?
Travel blogs tend to focus on the traveller; what they did, where they ate. I figured there are enough of those out there, so this one aims to be a little different. Who really cares what I think? Instead of providing another Brit’s opinion on the world around them, why not get the perspectives of the people that live in some of the places I visit?
Much like meerkats, travellers tend to group together to protect each other from the big, scary outside world. Likeminded people are drawn to each other, and there’s nothing wrong with socialising with a fellow countryman when you’re abroad. Sometimes, though, this risks putting a barrier between you and the world around you and creating your own “Little England” – or America, Spain, Brazil, etc. – wherever you go. Taking a second to break that barrier and learn a little about the people in other countries and their views is important if you want to understand the world properly. So, I’m interviewing people in the places I visit to understand life according to locals around the world. I’m exploring perceptions, values, culture, politics and delicacies as I travel throughout Eurasia and further afield, using a specially tailored interview format that will demonstrate how these shift as I move from region to region.
I’m aiming to provide inside takes on everything from important local issues, to national cuisine; all in a quick and easy-to-read manner. Food is a huge part of culture, so at the end of each interview I ask for a recommendation of a specific regional or national dish and, whatever that may be, providing it doesn’t kill me, I will search out, try and review.
What is the Arctic to Asia Cycle Tour?
Going travelling and only visiting cities is a little like going on a food holiday and only tasting cakes. Sure, they vary, but they share a lot of basic components. So what’s the best way to visit some of those harder-to-reach places in rural Ukraine, say? It seemed to me that cycling forces you to stop in some of the more obscure parts of the countryside whilst keeping off the beaten track and allowing you to see a side of some countries that not many travellers get to appreciate. So with no cycle touring experience, I embarked on a cycling trip from Tromsø in Northern Norway to Baku, Azerbaijan, all whilst running “The Place, The Person, The Plate.” We’ve been documenting our experiences – the good and the bad – and hope to make it home in one piece.
Editor: Tieran Freedman
In 2018, I decided to pursue a dream of mine and embark on an attempt to cycle from Tromsø in Northern Norway to Baku, Azerbaijan (A.K.A. the ‘Arctic to Asia Cycle Tour’) while interviewing local people along the way. I left my hometown, a small and often mispronounced town called ‘Steyning’ just outside of Brighton in the UK, and began my journey with little-to-no cycling experience. Despite a chequered history with bikes which resulted in me living without front teeth from the ages of 10-18, I believe that cycling is one of the most effective ways of getting off the beaten track when travelling. So here’s to me returning home with an intact facial structure and at least as many body parts as I left with.
I come from a suburb of Chicago, Illinois, called Buffalo Grove where there sadly haven’t been any actual buffalo since the 19th century. I’m in the process of completing my undergraduate degree in social work before getting my masters to become a clinical therapist. In the meantime, I spend my time running, writing, and now traveling!
Miriam has written several articles for the website, on topics ranging from travelling as an American in the Trump era to surviving life on the road during a cycle tour.
The Place, The Person, The Plate in the Media
Since beginning this journey, ‘The Place, The Person, The Plate” has featured in several media outlets, including Polish news site ‘Naszemiasto‘, the September 2019 addition of Sussex life, The Argus in Brighton, in the Steyning, Shoreham and Worthing Heralds, and most recently on BBC Sussex Radio (starting at 43.20). Follow the links to check out the articles!
Yes! Aside from the above, I’ll be releasing different types of content as the journey progresses, including videos documenting life on the road that feature original soundtracks, since I’ve managed to balance a guitar, albeit precariously, on the back of my bike. Enjoy!
Check out the latest places, people, and plates here. Be sure to like and follow The Place, The Person, The Plate on Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with the blog. If you want to see more of the cycle touring side of our adventure, you can also have a gander at my YouTube channel!