Back for 2016!

We’ve had a lot of emails asking about when the next Big Blog Exchange will be taking place. Our celebrated competition is taking a break this year but will be back in 2016 with more excitement and surprises than before.

In the meantime we hope you’ve been out trying new things, meeting new people and creating memories. Why not take some travel inspiration from our past winners and find out what they’ve been up to since their exchange?

Stay tuned and happy travels

#bigblogX Team

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The epilogues are in!

We can hardly believe it’s been almost 3 weeks since our bloggers returned home from their cultural exchange adventures. This years competition was an incredible journey not just for the bloggers who took part – but for us here at HI and the followers too. We threw our winners a surprise country to explore, and sent them on their way to learn as much as they could about the culture – all the while recording their experiences so that we could learn alongside them.

We had lost luggage, delayed flights, new friends, new families, minds opened, perceptions changed – and some unforgettable experiences providing insights into an unfamiliar culture. We followed our winners from the packing of their bags to the moment they landed back home, documenting every experience and thought in between.

Now that our bloggers have settled back into every day life, we asked them to take a look back on their Big Blog Exchange experiences. What did they learn in their exchange countries, what did it mean to them? Their reflections, memories and musings were translated into wonderful video epilogues – and here they are on our HI Youtube channel for you to see. Just follow the link to find out what our bloggers thought about their time with TBBE.

If you would like a chance to be in our 16 winners shoes next year, you can register yourself on the BBE site to recieve notifications about BBE 2015! It’s been an amazing journey – and we will see you next year for another Big Blog Exchange adventure – welcoming 16 brand new bloggers.

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Didn’t win this year? Here’s why you should try again in 2015..

Last year when the Big Blog Exchange first kicked off, hundreds of excited bloggers from countries scattered all over the world jumped at the opportunity and signed themselves up. Only 16 winners could be chosen, and 2014 saw the turn of 16 new bloggers – jumping out of their comfort zones and into the 2013 winners shoes.

If we could – we would have sent every single blogger who entered over the last two years off on an adventure as they have all been so unique and deserving.

We just wanted to take the time to address the hundreds of wonderful bloggers who have not made it to the top 16 in the competition over the last few years, and to put the message across that it does not mean you can’t be packing your bags and heading off on an adventure in 2015!

Vincent, one of our 2014 winners, packed his bags and left his coffee shop in Malaysia a few weeks ago to make his way to Argentina, swapping places with his exchange partner Belen.

Vincent’s story is one that we find particularly inspiring, and we wanted to share it with those of you who are perhaps feeling slightly dis-heartened after not being selected – as you could be in his shoes next year!

Vincent first heard about the Big Blog Exchange around it’s launch in 2013. He signed himself up, pushed for votes, blogged his heart out and sadly was not selected as one of our winners.
He did not let this defeat him however, instead he went away and put a lot of thought into his blog. He worked on himself, his blogging techniques and came back to the competition stronger than ever this year. It all paid off when the news reached him that he was a BBE 2014 finalist – and would be heading off to explore Argentina!

We asked Vincent to put together a little article on his journey, addressing those of you who were not selected as winners directly – and here is what he has to say:

Two months ago, I wrote a post about my winning the Big Blog Exchange (BBE) 2014 organised by Hostelling International.  In it, I described how I felt (and reacted) when I learnt that, together with 15 other bloggers from around the world, I’d won the competition.

Having now returned from my most eye-opening exchange to Argentina, I thought it apt that I should share with everyone why winning the BBE meant so much to me.  It is also my hope that this post will serve as humble motivation for those who didn’t succeed in either this or last year’s competition to try (and try) again and not give up.

Here’s why winning the Big Blog Exchange 2014 exposed wide open the emotional side of me.

1.  I PERSEVERED.  For a brief period after BBE 2013 and after failing to even make the finals last year, I was left exasperated – disheartened even – from the battle and indeed was apprehensive about joining this year’s competition (in fact, I’d told a fellow Malaysian blogger that I probably wouldn’t).  Deep down, however, I always knew throwing in the towel was never going to be an option.  A 10-day overseas cultural exchange was too massive and meaningful a prize to forgo without putting up a good fight, however you look at it.  So, soon after my elimination from last year’s BBE (I didn’t even wait for the exchanges to start), I prepped myself (and my blog of course) for another go at this year’s competition.  I was determined to win the BBE at some stage.

2.  I WORKED HARD.
  For more than a year, I worked really hard to improve my blog in preparation for BBE 2014.  I open-mindedly thought over my site vis-a-vis those of last year’s winners – even those of some of world’s most popular bloggers.  I revamped my blog’s layout where I felt there were flaws, revisited my writing style, rethought the things I’d write about (without losing my own identity of course), dedicated considerably more time to the activity and, through social media, worked hard to widen the reach of my blog.  I also punctiliously made sure my posts were as interesting and, more importantly, as engaging as possible.  In short, I reinvented myself as a blogger in the hope of going one – or even two – better in this year’s competition.  Time is of the essence in any contest, and when BBE 2014 kicked off in July, I duly joined on its second day – my confidence and optimism significantly higher than they were last year.

3. I REALLY WANTED THIS.  If, like me, you have an earnest desire to learn about and experience unfamiliar cultures, then giving the Big Blog Exchange a shot (or anothershot) really is a no-brainer.  Indeed off the top of my head, I struggle to name another blogging competition that offers a prize as generous as an all-expenses paid trip to a foreign destination complete with itineraries that promise maximum exposure to the country, her people and her culture.  Being the curious guy that I am, I couldn’t let such a grand opportunity pass me by without giving it another shot.  After all, all I had to do was share my daily experiences with the rest of the world through my photographs and, of course, my writing.  I wanted this;I wanted this real bad.

My recent exchange to Argentina was so culturally- and intellectually-enriching that I feel I must share my journey in the Big Blog Exchange with all of you.  The road for me has been a long and occasionally arduous one.  But as with most things in life, hard work and perseverance usually pay.  I mean, just imagine… Argentina.  In fact, winners can look forward to exchanges anywhere in the world; Iceland, New Zealand, Switzerland, Peru or even Japan.

I’m nearly 50; I work 14 hours a day, six days a week and have only 250 blog followers to my name – pittance compared to many of you.  Hence, if I can win the Big Blog Exchange, so can you.  At the end of the day, it all comes down to how much time and effort you’re willing to put into your blog and into the competition.  It’s also about how you project yourself to the judges through your work.  Above all, it’s about how much you genuinely want to be part of the BBE project and how much heart you’re willing to put in to achieve this end.

The wonderful thing about the Big Blog Exchange is that it’s open to all bloggers regardless of age, blogging experience or following.  So do keep an eye out for next year’s competition by regularly visiting either Hostelling International’s official website or the BBE website for the latest news and announcements.   Remember, if this ol’ fella – a mere hobbyist blogger – can do it, SO CAN YOU!

Good luck.

To read Vincents blog and catch yourself up on the journey he recently embarked on, visit his blog.

You can also catch yourself up on what our 16 winners experienced on their cultural exchange adventures this year by going back to our day 1 daily summary, and making your way to day 10.

If you are still craving an extra dose of the BBE, head over to the site and read through our winners individual blogs to see what they got up to.

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Blogger epilogues!

Our bloggers exchanges may have now come to an end – but the Big Blog Exchange journey isn’t quite over yet.

On the week of the 24 November we will be bringing you our winning bloggers video epilogues. These epilogues will see our 16 winners look back on their Big Blog Exchange adventures – what it meant to them and what they have learnt.

The epilogues will also see the bloggers talk about their exchange countries, and will provide an insight into what they learnt about the culture and the people during their time there.

Whether you’re thinking of joining the competition next year or you have been following their journeys since the beginning – make sure you tune into the site at the end of November to catch up with the winners post-BBE!

The conversation is still going! #bigblogx 

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The Big Blog Exchange journey 2014.

When the Big Blog Exchange project first ran last year, it had never been done before, and Hostelling International was overwhelmed by the positive response it received. HI sent 16 excited bloggers from all corners of the globe on an adventure, swapping countries, cultures and blogs with each other for 10 days, all the while sharing their experiences with the rest of the blogging community following their journey digitally.

2014 saw the turn of 16 brand new bloggers, and over the last few weeks we’ve watched our winners jump out of their comfort zones – growing, learning and experiencing new things every single day in a country culturally different to their own.

When we first opened the competition back in July, hundreds of passionate, committed and talented bloggers signed themselves up to the chance of winning a once in a lifetime adventure. The voting phase saw the birth and growth of an inspiring, strong and supportive blogging community – helping each other out along the way and making friendships as the competition progressed. We had our wonderful 100 finalists, and in September our 16 fantastic winners and their exchange countries were announced to the world.

We’ve come a long way since the announcement, and their individual adventures have had readers all over the world on the edge of their seats over the last few weeks. It’s been an incredible experience not just for the bloggers – but for us at HI and for all of those following their journeys too.

One of our 2014 winners, Vincent, said “My sincere thanks to HI for the opportunity. It’s been an experience of a lifetime and a true eye-opener.”

If you’ve missed the Big Blog Exchange journey – it’s still not too late to join us for a 10 day digital trip around the world! You can catch yourself up by going back to our day 1 daily summary , and making your way through each day of our bloggers exciting trips.

This year we had 16 culturally diverse countries represented in the project: Australia, Slovenia, Malaysia, Argentina, India, Canada, South Africa, Spain, Hong Kong, England, France, United States of America, Brazil, Ireland, Philippines and Italy. It was wonderful to see the beauty of these countries through the eyes of the bloggers, and to follow them every step of the way as they explored their new surroundings and immersed themselves in the cultures.

We have our blogger epilogues coming to you at the end of November. These will see our winners reflect on their Big Blog Exchange journeys and we’ll be posting all of these on the blog for you, so make sure you tune in!

We thought we’d take some time to have a little look back over what has happened over the last few weeks, the ups, the downs, and everything in-between…

Before they took off, we had our bloggers put together bucket lists to tick off while in their exchange destinations – and many of them have successfully ticked off their entire lists!

Next – we had the slightly mean ‘Dare your exchange partner challenge’, in which we asked each blogger to dare their exchange partner to do just one thing whilst in their country. We’ve had quite a few dares completed, from Durian fruits to Elephant rides and Oreo’s with Peanut butter! Here’s a few examples of our bloggers taking on their dares head on..

Taralynns dare for Lucie, to try Oreos and peanut butter in the States!

Ruths dare for Kitty, to visit Harrods food court in London!

Kitty completing ruths dare HARRODS

Purujeets dare for Logan, to ride a camel in India! (He couldn’t find one, but he could find an Elephant – we’ll count that!)

Elephant

Vincents dare for Belen, to try the Durian in Malaysia!

Logans dare for Purujeet, to take a photo with a Canadian by the Pacific, and one by the Atlantic in Canada!

Purujeet logans dare 1 Purujeet logans dare 2

Before they took off we had our first video challenge – the Local Lingo Challenge! Our bloggers put together short video survival guides for their exchange partners, to help them get by for 10 days in their country! Take a look at all of our bloggers survival guides by clicking the link above.

Challenge number 1 from the exchanges was the best hostel breakfast photo challenge, we saw some fantastic breakfasts from HI hostels in several diverse countries – and after a lot of deliberation our winner was announced as Kitty, travelling to the UK from Hong Kong! This was the winning picture of her British hostel breakfast –

kitty

Next came the best landscape photo challenge! We asked our bloggers to send us over a photo of the landscape within their host country, viewing its beauty from their perspective – and the results were stunning. Every photo was unique and diverse, but our winner was Jono, travelling from Australia to Slovenia – for his wonderful photo of Bohinj Lake!

Jono - Bohinj Lake.

Next came the best activity video challenge, where we asked our bloggers to put together a short video of their favourite activity they had taken part in since arriving in their exchange countries. We had trails in Hong Kong, Rickshaw journeys in India and vibrant shows in Argentina. In the end however, our deserving winner was Jono for his crossing the River Mura in Slovenia video! (This also ticked off his dare from exchange partner Nina!)

Our next challenge was the best hostel photo. We asked our winners to send us a photo of their favourite hostel from those they had stayed in on their exchanges. They were all beautiful, but our winner was Manuel, travelling from Spain to South Africa, for his shot of Coffee Shack hostel at Coffee Bay!

Manuel, Coffee Shark at Coffee Bay, SA

Our last challenge from the exchanges was our best video interview challenge! We had our bloggers interview local people and hostel staff, and they all put their own unique spin on the interviews. They were all insightful, but our winner was Lucie for her wonderful interview with HI Austin front desk manager – Perry!

As well as completing our challenges, our winning bloggers had a wealth of incredible experiences while they were away. Here’s a short re-cap of each day of the 10 day exchanges. You can of course read all about which each individual blogger got up to on each day of their exchange by going back and reading our 10 day daily summaries! For now however, here’s a brief overview and a mishmash of photos from each day…

We had broken luggage wheels, delayed flights and lost luggage – but our 16 bloggers all touched down safe and sound in their exchange countries ready to begin their adventures!

Day 1 – Halloween!

Halloween was the day our bloggers kicked off their cultural exchange adventures! We had Tango lessons in Argentina, fancy dress in the USA and surfing in Australia. See what each individual blogger got up to by clicking here.

Breakfast with Zaz and the team in Ireland 10731742_795516647161753_624268254_n tweet arrival in slovenia HI logo 10729257_668611626579225_590846913_n LUCIE HALLOWEEN IN DC IMAGE south africa Surfing in Sydney Pumpkin carving contest MADRID View of Hong Kong Christo Redentor bucket list Day in paris Capture Met in Argentina by Mercedes Frenso

 Day 2 – 1st November!

Day 2 saw beautiful locks in Paris, taxi journeys involving cows and Justin Bieber in India, boat rides in Malaysia and crazy Brazillian Halloween parties. See what each individual blogger got up to by clicking here. 

irish name and breakfast boat ride in putrajaya LAKE BLED kitty LOGAN INDIA TRAFFIC lucieee Capture FOOD Sydney shot  ROY BURGOS CATHEDRAL Ruth - day 2 in hong kong photo mash halloween rio steps OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Day 3 – 2nd November!

Day 3 saw belated Halloween celebrations in Baltimore, visits to the Taj Mahal in India, swimming with Whale Sharks in the Philippines and Sherlock Museums in the UK. See what each individual blogger got up to by clicking here.

ainoha in cork Cfdrxer k 10729196_730548230353143_1530079303_n 2 lucie in baltimore coffee bay underwater NINA BLUE MOUNTAINS 10729287_654373364659900_2031739256_n ruth day 3 summary 928059_523482364454861_1301611438_n 10735171_1501597946771735_1631428639_n Tessa hostel on her way to veince Vincent - Malaysia 2

Day 4 – 3rd November

Day 4 saw open top bus tours in Lyon, wineries in Mendoza, street art in Malaysia and meetings with the BBE team in London.

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Day 5 – 4th November

The 5th day of our bloggers adventures saw river cruises in Melaka, beautiful walks in Ireland, quad biking in Brazil and press conferences in Slovenia! See what the individual bloggers got up to by clicking here.

JONO NEWS CONFERENCE1 TBBE (1133) AINOHA AT CASHEL ROCK cork city art 925365_1487471448172920_886735157_n 1380316_703524283070959_8867749053536341876_n View from SD hostel cape town day 5 4th nov, ferry to bohol Capture 10735063_598133660291653_51549060_n 10755943_370272443151069_2239764_n 10748287_615992661846250_492080685_n Tessa ourside building in Burana Italy

Day 6 – 5th November!

Day 6 saw Californian sunshine, hikes in Patagonia, un-anticipated falling Mango’s attacking bloggers in Brazil and stunning views in Port Stephens. See what each individual blogger got up to by clicking here.

DSC_3342 DSC_0254 DSC_0258 Sunset SD PS Toronto map 1739446_587456001383598_1168895900_n Brasilia Taralynn Venice orange buildings Vincent trek 11

Day 7 – 6th November!

Day 7 saw our bloggers visit some truly iconic landmarks in Canada, cakes and punting in Cambridge, cathedrals in Spain and beach days in the Philippines.

10735212_1537510353132286_1926944776_n 10787715_589342884503390_2066365246_n Capture Cambridge cakes Punting in Cambs Melbourne beach hutz Melbourne beaches Ready for Melbourne adventures Street art in Melbourne 10311132_736572899750731_597566139_n NF Staff selfie Castle Pamplona with text Church inside a castle, Pamplona Streets of Pamplona Andre, Hostel 7 Brasilia staff Say HI to the world signBye Marseille  Goodbye, Marseille Marseille, France 14 San Gimignano IMG_8060 Bariloche

Day 8 – 7th November!

Day 8 saw music festivals in Austin, more strange taxi journeys in India, pub crawls in Montreal, bank robberies in Slovenia and love for Cape Town.

galway city 10546530_339940182857369_1500213080_n Capture Letter to London Lucie at fff CT 1739782_1590895304464163_1456009458_n street art pub Kingdom of Navarre, Pamplona original shot Capture 10787793_1492051094410826_1468568296_n 10803000_308958305973417_48636345_n beachhhh Rennes 11 Naples by the Water IMG_8292  Gelatos plane ticket

Day 9 – 8th November!

Day 9 saw bloggers lunching with the secretary general of Hostelling International in France, Hockey matches in Canada, Challenge attempts in Malaysia, streets oozing with character in France, Space Centres in Hong Kong and Vatican city explorations in Italy.

10735523_548915311908287_73743796_n 10747927_837344799619681_1641010639_n capital by night York Capture Capture Table Mountain Secretos de Madrid Great ocean road Hockey match Barcelona Streets The basilica Hostel sign Rio Praiadocabo 10785021_1582558328642037_1793991597_n Amiens, France 05 St. Peter's IMG_8456 07 Dome Ceiling IMG_8438 Guard at the Vatican

Day 10 – 9th November!

The last day of our bloggers adventures saw a lot of flight tickets, DIY meals in the USA, bloggers meeting their exchange partners families in Argentina and Malaysia and a lot of heavy hearted goodbyes.

Last stop Belen with Vincents wife and sister TBBE (1203)  With YHA India full team 10808522_794629573913572_1737385618_n texas state capitol Manuel Cape Town Goodbye aus photo - HI and YHA AUS Logos included Last sunset in Spain 1796687_766985430040423_5574615421716008580_n Stephanie at sugar loaf sugar loaf mountain travelling Pope HS Florida hostel staff blossom in buenos aires

What an adventure it’s been!

On the 24 November we’ll be receiving our bloggers video epilogues. These will see the bloggers reflect on their Big Blog Exchange experiences, and we’ll find out what it changed for them.

Challenge 5 – Best video interview

If you’ve been following the Big Blog Exchange you’ll know that we have been setting our bloggers challenges to complete both before and during their exchanges. Before they set off we had the dare your exchange partner challenge. Next came the blogger bucket lists. Lastly came the Local Lingo video challenge – where our winners put together short video survival guides to help their exchange partners get by in their countries for 10 days.

Whilst they were away on their adventures we set them a few more challenges to keep them extra busy. Firstly we had the best hostel breakfast challenge, next came the the best landscape photo challenge, followed by the best activity video challenge and the favourite hostel photo challenge.

Now it’s time for our 5th and final challenge – Best video interview!

We left it entirely up to the individual bloggers who they interviewed. Some spoke to hostel staff and some spoke to locals. Every video is interesting in it’s own right, and here are their submissions..

Jono, Australia to Slovenia – Interview with locals on the Slovenian alternative music scene

Roy, South Africa to Spain – Interview with the people of Catalonia on the independence vote

Nina, Slovenia to Australia – Interview with Aussie residents on Australia as a destination

Ruth, UK to Hong Kong – Interview with Stephanie on the history of Mei Ho House hostel

Lucie, France to USA – Interview with Perry, front desk manager at HI Austin

Ainoha, Brazil to Ireland – Sustainability interview with Patrick from the Ireland Cashel hostel

Belen, Malaysia to Argentina – Taste Exchange, local food sampling with her exchange partner Vincents family

Logan, Canada to India – Interview with YHAI staff

Kitty, Hong Kong to the UK – Interview with a local man

Vincent, Malaysia to Argentina – Interview with a Brazilian on holiday in Buenos Aires

Manuel, Spain to South Africa – Interview with a Spanish man living in South Africa

English translation:

– What is your name and age? My name is José Carlos Ruiz Almansa and have 29 years.
– The first thing I want to know is how long have you been in South Africa? For two years
– For what reason did you come to this country? Coincidences of life
– What surprised you most when you first came to South Africa? Public transport … basically it doesn´t exist!
– What is the biggest difference you find between South Africa and Spain?
– I would say that there are not many differences, there are quite similarities between the countries.
– How do you define South Africa? A country of opportunity.
– In closing, was there any time you return to Spain? For now, it is not planned.

We had members of HI watch all of the videos and cast their vote. It was an incredibly hard decision as every video is fantastic! However, there can only be one winner.

Aaand the winner is.. LUCIE! Well done Lucie! Great interview with HI Austin staff.

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Challenge 4 – Favourite hostel photo

The exchanges may have come to an end, but the Big Blog Exchange journey isn’t quite over yet!

If you’ve been following the Big Blog Exchange from the beginning you’ll know that we have been setting our bloggers a string of challenges to complete both before and during their cultural exchanges. Before they took off we had the dare your exchange partner challenge – in which we asked our bloggers to be a bit mean and dare their exchange partners to do just one thing whilst in their country. Next came the blogger bucket lists, which saw our winners put together a wish list of once in a lifetime experiences and attractions to tick off while they were away. Last, but by no means least, came the Local Lingo video challenge – where our winners put together short video survival guides to help their exchange partners get by in their countries for 10 days.

Whilst they were away on their adventures we set them a few more challenges to complete, firstly we had the best hostel breakfast challenge, next came the the best landscape photo challenge, and our third challenge was the first part of our best activity video challenge.

Now it’s time to bring you the results of challenge number 4!

We asked our winning bloggers to send us a photo of their favourite hostel they had stayed in in the exchange countries, and here is what they came up with…

Ainoha, Brazil to Ireland – Knockree hostel

Ainoha, Knockree hostel Ireland

Belen, Argentina to Malaysia – Wira Kuala Lumpur hostel

Belen Wira Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

Jono, Australia to Slovenia – Hostel Tresor (It used to be a bank, so he thought he’d rob it and escape on a long board!)

Jono, Slovenia, Hostel Tresor

Kitty, Hong Kong to the UK – Bath hostel

Kitty, UK - YHA Bath

Logan, Canada to India – Delhi hostel

Logan, Delhi hostel

Lucie, France to the USA – Baltimore hostel

Lucie - USA, Baltimore hostel

Manuel, Spain to South Africa – Coffee Shack hostel at Coffee Bay

Manuel, Coffee Shark at Coffee Bay, SA

Marcela, Italy to Philippines – Mayflower inn Hostel, Cebu City

Marcela - Mayflower Inn Cebu City

Nina, Slovenia to Australia – Sydney Harbor Bridge hostel

Nina, Australia - Sydney Harbour hostel view

Purujeet, India to Canada – Whistler hostel

Purujeet, Canada - HI Whistler

Roy, South Africa to Spain – The Hat hostel, Madrid

Roy - The Hat, Madrid and Alfonso winner

Ruth, UK to Hong Kong – Mei Ho House hostel

Ruth - Mei Ho House HK

Stephanie, Ireland to Brazil – F Design Hostel, Salvador

Stephanie, Brazil, hostel F design salvador

Taralynn, USA to France – Yves Robert hostel, Paris

Taralynn, France, Paris Yves Robert

Tessa, Philippines to Italy – Ostello Villa Camerata hostel

Tessa - Ostello Villa Camerata Italy

Vincent, Malaysia to Argentina – Marcopolo Inn hostel, Buenos Aires

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We had every member of the HI office cast their vote, tallied them up and we have our winning hostel photo.

(Queue drum roll) aaand the winner is…. MANUEL! For his beautiful shot of the Coffee Shack hostel at Coffee Bay, South Africa. Here it is again for you..

Manuel, Coffee Shark at Coffee Bay, SA

Well done to all of our bloggers for these great shots. We’ll be bringing you the second part of our best activity video challenge very soon, alongside our best video interview challenge!

The conversation is still going #bigblogx

Day 10 – BBE daily summary

As sad as it makes us to say it – the exchanges have now come to an end!

Yesterday our bloggers enjoyed their last day in their exchange countries, took in their last doses of the beautiful cities they were residing in, and reflected on the wealth of amazing experiences they have all had over the last 10 days. It’s been an incredible journey not just for the bloggers – but for the readers and all of us here at HI too.

Our bloggers may be making their way back home today, but the Big Blog Exchange journey is far from over!

Over the coming days we’ll be bringing you the results of some more challenges we set the bloggers during their exchanges – such as the second edition of our best activity video challenge and the results from our best video interview challenge! We’ll also be posting some interviews with the bloggers and of course, our video epilogues that will see them all reflect on their Big Blog Exchange journeys – keep an eye out for these videos at the end of November.

If you’re only just tuning into the Big Blog Exchange journey – it’s still not too late! You can still join us for a 10 day digital trip around the world by going back to our day 1 daily summary and making your way back to here – the final day.

You can follow their adventures and catch up with what they will be doing when they return home as they report live on Twitter, as well as by searching the #bigblogx tag on Instagram. You can also catch up with our 16 winning bloggers by taking a look at their individual blogs, as they post more stories, reflections and photographs from their journeys.

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For now, here is what our bloggers got up to on the 10th and final day of their exchanges..

Lucie, France to USA! Lucie spent the last day of her USA exchange in the wonderful city of Austin, Texas. A city she has grown to love over the last few days, and will take away nothing but fond memories of. It was a beautiful, sunny day in Austin yesterday – and Lucie made the most of the weather by kicking off her Sunday with a long walk along boardwalk. She grabbed some lunch at a DIY restaurant, and admired the beauty of the natural spring pool right in the centre of the city. She ended her day in Austin by visiting the crazy cathedral of junk and made her way back to our Austin hostel to start work on customising her Big Blog Exchange T-Shirt! 
Follow Lucies journey on Taralynns blog.

Builf uout oen lunch Lucie in austin Lucie Lunch Museum of junk natural spring pool in city centre, austin Sunday morning broadwalk texas

 

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Taralynn, USA to France! Yesterday Taralynn explored Amiens a little before a long day of travelling back to the iconic capital of Paris – the city she kicked off her Big Blog Exchange adventure in 10 days ago. Taralynn has written a post on Lucies blog about her lunch with the secretary general of Hostelling International in Amiens yesterday.
Follow Taralynns journey on Lucies blog.

10755876_794657913906861_784530866_n Street performers in Amiens travelling

Logan, Canada to India! Yesterday Logan set off in a Jeep in search of wild tigers, it was on his India bucket list to see them in their natural habitat, and he was determined to tick it off. We’ll have some photos for you soon from his day, for now however, here’s a reminder of what he did the day before. He set out to complete his exchange partner Purujeets dare – to ride a camel. He couldn’t find any camels however – so he improvised! He rode an Elephant through the jungle and saw a whole host of other wildlife – we’ll count that as a dare completed! Logan has also spent some time with the fantastic YHA India team in the offices in Delhi!
Follow Logans journey on Purujeets blog.

Elephant

Logan meeting with YHA India team Logan with YHA India CEO With YHA India full team

Purujeet, India to Canada! Yesterday Purujeet made his way over to Halifax in Nova Scotia. He explored the markets for the day and made his way back to our Halifax hostel for some home cooking and a farewell!
Follow Purujeets journey on Logans blog.

Bridge in Halifax, Peggyscove Canada Capture lobster at niagara Toronto street art

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Vincent, Malaysia to Argentina! Vincent spent his final day in Argentina in Buenos Aires – and what a beautiful day it was! He got his caffeine fix at Cafe Tortoni with his exchange partner Belens dad and his friend, before heading out to explore the city a little more before saying goodbye to Argentina, for now!
Follow Vincents journey on Belens blog

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Belen, Argentina to Malaysia! Belens last day in Malaysia was spent in the state of Penang, the place she has seen a wealth of unique and beautiful street art in over the last few days. Vincent has spent time with both of Belens parents in Buenos Aires since arriving in Argentina, and Belen has also met some of Vincents loved ones while in Malaysia! While in Kuala Lumpur Belen had a meal with Vincents wife and sister! 
Follow Belens journey on Vincents blog.

Belen with Vincents wife and sister Penang

Ainoha, Brazil to Ireland! The last stop on Ainohas Irish adventure is the city of Dublin! She explored the city, and is preparing to say goodbye to the wonderful HI Ireland staff and the country she has fallen in love with over the last 10 days.
Follow Ainohas journey on Stephanies blog.

Last stop

Stephanie, Ireland to Brazil! Stephanie spent the last day of her Brazillian adventure in Rio de Janeiro, in the same city and hostel in which she began her Big Blog Exchange adventure 10 days ago. She met a fellow traveller from Scotland and they decided to head into Rio exploring for the day together. They visisted the Panema Hippie Fair, stumbled across a traditional Irish bar – and headed for the top of the iconic Sugar Loaf Mountain! 
Follow Stephanies journey on Ainohas blog.

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Jono, Australia to Slovenia! After a big farewell celebration (with a lot of wine) the night before in our hostel, it was time for Jono to say goodbye to Slovenia. He spoke of the country with such a warmth, and was incredibly saddened to have to say goodbye. He headed for Venice to catch his flight back home, and it’s beauty somewhat softened the blow of leaving Slovenia (briefly anyway.) He was told to get a taxi to the airport, and spent a few minutes slightly confused as to how until he realised that the taxis would of course be by water! Here are some additional photographs from Jonos 10 day Slovenian adventure.
Follow Jonos journey on Ninas blog.

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Nina, Slovenia to Australia! Nina arrived at our Melbourne hostel yesterday, and sadly today she is saying goodbye to Australia and the Big Blog Exchange journey. She said she has had the experience of a lifetime, and when we spoke to her earlier she was in Malaysia on her way back home – already missing it down under!
Follow Ninas journey on Jonos blog.

Melbourne central YHA Goodbye Australia tweet with text and photo Capture

Ruth, UK to Hong Kong! Yesterday was Ruths final call for shopping in Hong Kong – so she visited all of the local markets! Today with a heavy heart she says goodbye to Hong Kong and flies back to the UK. Here are some snaps of her with the staff from our YHA Mei Ho House hostel. 
Follow Ruths journey on Kittys blog.

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Kitty, Hong Kong to the UK! Kitty wrote a letter to Bristol and Bath describing the differences between the cities, and how much she loved them. Today she is in Liverpool and will be returning to London to catch her flight back to Hong Kong and say goodbye to England – for now at least.
Follow Kittys journey on Ruths blog.

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Manuel, Spain to South Africa! Yesterday Manuel enjoyed his last day in beautiful Cape Town and took this incredible shot for us. Today he’s headed for Johannesburg before catching his flight home to Spain!
Follow Manuels journey on Roys blog.

Manuel Cape Town

Roy, South Africa to Spain! Roy spent yesterday in the last stop on his Spanish itinerary – the iconic city of Barcelona. He enjoyed his last Spanish sunset before heading back to Madrid to catch his flight home to South Africa this afternoon. 
Follow Roys journey on Manuels blog.

Last sunset in Spain

Marcela, Italy to Philippines! Marcela said goodbye to Baguio and made her way back to the city of Manila, today she catches her flight home and says goodbye to the Philippines – but she’s already started planning her return in 2016!
Follow Marcelas journey on Tessas blog.

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Tessa, Philippines to Italy! Tessa spent yesterday hanging out with the Pope, well, not literally, but she did see him! She went on a tour of the Vatican and managed to capture a shot of the Pope as he appeared on the balcony at midday. She’s decided to stay in Europe for a few extra days to see France and Iceland, and we wish her a safe remainder of her trip! She spoke of how proud she was that she had faced her fears and travelled solo for the past ten days in Italy on the Big Blog Exchange – and we’re so pleased about that!
Follow Tessas journey on Marcelas blog.

Instagram snip - survived travellign on my own Pope

Our bloggers may be making their way back home from their 10 day exchanges today, but the Big Blog Exchange journey isn’t quite over yet!

Follow the conversation #bigblogx

 

Day 9 – BBE daily summary

Day 8 was yet another incredible day for our winning bloggers on their cultural exchanges! We had music and BMX festivals in Austin, un-explainable Wi-Fi and strange Bryan Adams related taxi journeys in India, pub crawls involving people from 7 different nationalities in Canada, cat street art in Malaysia, traditional Irish music at pubs in Galway City, beautiful beach days and snorkeling in Arraial do Cabo, bank robberies and quick, clever getaways in Slovenia and Kangaroo burgers in Australia. Day 9 was nothing short of incredible too, here is an overview of some of the things our winning bloggers experienced yesterday…

If you’re only just tuning into the Big Blog Exchange journey, do not fear, it’s not too late! Just go back to our day 1 daily summary and make your way back to here, day 9! You can catch yourself up on all of the unique and inspiring experiences our bloggers have been diving into over the last 8 days in 16 culturally diverse countries scattered across the globe.

You can follow their adventures as they report live on Twitter, as well as by searching the #bigblogx tag on Instagram, and of course by taking a look at their individual blogs.

We’ll be filling you in tomorrow on what our bloggers are getting up to today – the last day of their BBE journeys!

Lucie, France to USA! Lucie is spending the last two days of her USA adventure in the capital of Texas – Austin. After a crazy time at Fun Fun Fun Fest the day before, yesterday she woke up and set out to explore every nook and wonder of the city. She sipped ice coffee by the farmers market and found a beautiful spot to sit and take in the beauty of her surroundings, whilst listening to the music blasting from Fun Fun Fun Fest! 
Follow Lucies journey on Taralynns blog.

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Taralynn, USA to France! Taralynn spent yesterday exploring the beautiful city of Amiens. She enjoyed lunch at Les Bouchees Doubles with the secretary general of Hostelling International, Madame Edith Arnoult-Brill! Taralynn said ‘Have you ever met someone so inspiring that they make you stop and wish god had put more hours in a day so that you could carry on talking to them?’. After lunch she explored the city further, and spoke of the wonderful character she had noticed in every french street she had been to so far. 
Follow Taralynns journey on Lucies blog.

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Logan, Canada to India! Yesterday Logan set out to complete his exchange partner Purujeets dare, but he couldn’t find any Camels – so rode an Elephant instead! (Improvisation) He stroked his beard in concentration as he caught up on some blogging – and today he’s off in a Jeep in search of some wild tigers!
Follow Logans journey on Purujeets blog.

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Purujeet, India to Canada! Purujeet spent yesterday in Montreal and had some time to tour around every nook of this incredible city. In the evening, just to stick with general stereotypes – Purujeet went to see a real Canadian Hockey game between the Montreal Canadians and the Minnesota Wild! 
Follow Purujeets journey on Logans blog.

Hockey match

 

Vincent, Malaysia to Argentina! Vincent is back in Buenos Aires, the city in which he kicked off his Argentinian adventure 9 days ago. He spent yesterday on a walking tour of the cities CBD and got so carried away that he ended up a little bit lost – and without a map to hand! Luckily, he found a comfy stall in the street to rest himself and his poorly ankle from his hike a few days back. Vincent tells us that he got pestered by a lot of ‘Arbolitis’ (Illegal money exchange touts) on the tour – not ideal! He still had a wonderful day however,which we’re happy to hear. We’ll catch up with Vincent tomorrow and find out what adventures today brought him.
Follow Vincents journey on Belens blog.

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Belen, Argentina to Malaysia! Yesterday Belen set out ready to take on her exchange partner Vincent’s Malaysian dare, to go up to the iconic and beautiful Kek Lok Si Temple in Penang, and grab a Durian on the way! There were a few barriers standing in her way – firstly, a storm started brewing. Next, her bus driver decided to completely skip her stop. It seemed as though the world didn’t want Belen to complete this dare! She persevered through the barriers and the rain however, and the view she had when she reached the temple was absolutely stunning. Oh – and she bravely tried the Durian too!
Follow Belens journey on Vincents blog.

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Ainoha, Brazil to Ireland! The cliffs of Moher were on Ainohas Ireland itinerary yesterday! Along her way she saw Galway Bay, and maybe some Leprechauns. We’ll have some photo’s for you all soon!
Follow Ainohas journey on Stephanies blog.

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Stephanie, Ireland to Brazil! Stephanie said goodbye to the beautiful beaches yesterday and made her way back to our Cabanacopa Hostel in Rio. She got a little bit lost, but our hostel street signs helped her out!
Follow Stephanies journey on Ainohas blog.

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Jono, Australia to Slovenia! It was with a heavy heart that Jono said goodbye to Ljubljana yesterday, he took with him a mind full of warm memories and was headed for Postonja. Despite the flooding caused by the heavy rain over the last few days, Jono set off with a positive mindset and went to the caves to hang out with the Slovenian Batman, yes, that’s right – Slovenian Batman! Our hostel put on a celebration for Jono to make his last night in Slovenia one to remember, and what better way to celebrate than with wine!
Follow Jonos journey on Ninas blog.

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Nina, Slovenia to Australia! We have a little update from a few days ago for you all from Nina, she met up with Katherine – our BBE winner from last years exchange in Melbourne for cocktails! She’s been hiking in Grampians National Park and visited Great Ocean Road too!
Follow Ninas journey on Jonos blog.

DAY 7 NINA AND LAST YEARS WINNER Capture Capture4454 Great ocean road

Ruth, UK to Hong Kong! Ruth visited the Hong Kong Space centre yesterday, Heritage 1881, and of course had more amazing cuisine!
Follow Ruths journey on Kittys blog.

DAY 9 SUMMARY

Kitty, Hong Kong to the UK! Kittys itinerary changed yesterday, meaning she gets to spend two whole days exploring the wonderful British city of York – and of course, turning her breakfast into fantastically creative little faces.
Follow Kittys journey on Ruths blog.

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Manuel, Spain to South Africa! Manuel is currently in beautiful Cape Town, and yesterday his blog made it onto one of the 7 wonders of the world – the iconic Table Mountain.
Follow Manuels journey on Roys blog.

Table Mountain Secretos de Madrid

Roy, South Africa to Spain! Roy has officially touched down in the beautiful Spanish city of Barcelona. He checked into our hostel, grabbed his camera and set off to explore, and of course took some some outstandingly beautiful shots along his way.
Follow Roys journey on Manuels blog.

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Marcela, Italy to Philippines! Marcela spent yesterday taking in her last dose of Baguio, a beautiful city a few hours north of Manila. She took this stunning shot, and today she’s getting on a bus back to Manila.
Follow Marcelas journey on Tessas blog.

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Tessa, Philippines to Italy! Tessa spent yesterday touring the world famous Vatican! She’s there again today, hoping to snap some photo’s of the Pope as he appears on the balcony!
Follow Tessas journey on Marcelas blog.

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Follow their journeys on Twitter and Instagram #bigblogx

Winners Landed

Day 8 – BBE daily summary

What an amazing journey the Big Blog Exchange 2014 has been so far, every single day we’ve seen our winning bloggers leap out of their comfort zones and experience new things in a new country, staying in our hostels, gaining an understanding of the countries culture and sharing every thought and moment with us all. If you’re only just tuning in, you can catch up on what’s been happening over the last 7 days by going back to our day 1 daily summary, and making your way back to right here – day 8! Here is an overview of what our winners got up to yesterday in 16 countries across the world.

To follow their journeys you can read their individual blogs, but remember they will be posting on their exchange partners blog for the duration of the exchange. You can also follow the individual adventures as they report live on Twitter, as well as by searching the #bigblogx tag on Instagram.

Lucie, France to USA! Yesterday Lucie said goodbye to the beautiful city of San Diego and headed over to Austin, Texas! She had the fantastic opportunity to attend Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin and said it is by far one of the best festivals she has ever been to in her life. She saw some giant Jenga, some BMX shows, had a grab & go traditional festival lunch and discovered some new favourite bands. She stayed in our HI Austin hostel last night. 
Follow Lucies journey on Taralynns blog.

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Taralynn, USA to France! Taralynn landed in Rennes yesterday. As soon as she arrived she became obsessed with the city and declared to her readers that she absolutely adored it. She spent the day exploring and last night she made her way to the next stop on her french itinerary – Amiens. She’s exploring there today, and we’ll catch up with what she got up to on tomorrows summary.
Follow Taralynns journey on Lucies blog.

Lunch Rennes collage Rennes

Logan, Canada to India! Logan took a train up north and got into Ramnagar, where his next accommodation was located. He had a bit of trouble acquiring Wi-Fi so unfortunately we don’t have any photos for you from his day, we do however, have a strange little story. Despite his frustration borne from the lack of Wi-Fi that day, Logan managed to find connection for a brief period of time. He was sat outside his accommodation by the entrance, and suddenly realised his phone had picked up a signal from somewhere. He looked to his right and saw a deep, ominous Indian jungle. He looked to his left and saw 5 homeless men cooking their dinner over a fire, whilst listening to Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’. He was slightly confused about where this connection had come from, given his odd location – but he didn’t question it, and instead decided to use the surprise glimpse of connection to inform us of this strange occurrence. You may  remember Logan’s odd Justin Bieber themed taxi ride at the beginning of his trip in Delhi, he thought this would be the last time he would hear this, but he was wrong. His driver in the middle of the Indian jungle played it again yesterday, shortly followed by Celine Dion and Bryan Adams, the perfect trio of terrible Canadian music (his words, not ours.) He laughed as an entire street of Indian residents turned to watch as his taxi pass through, with Bryan Adams ‘This Is Me’ on full blast. What an odd day. We assume he will be compiling all of these songs into a ‘BBE India 2014’ soundtrack when he returns to Canada. Today he’s off to see some Tigers and Elephants!
Follow Logans journey on Purujeets blog.

Purujeet, India to Canada! Yesterday Purujeet said goodbye to Niagara, the falls and the fantastic team of staff he had formed such a warm opinion of (and had become a part of for a while) and made his way to Montreal. He explored the area for a while and headed out for Tacos at a fantastic little Mexican place. Last night he attended a pub crawl, and partied with fellow travellers from 7 different nationalities, swapping stories and making friends, staying in line with what this project is all about – cultural understanding. 
Follow Purujeets journey on Logans blog.

M Montreal meal pub

Vincent, Malaysia to Argentina! Yesterday Vincent left HI Bariloche and made his way to the airport. His next stop was Buenos Aires, a city he has already formed fond memories off from earlier on in his BBE adventure.
Follow Vincents journey on Belens blog.

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Belen, Argentina to Malaysia! Belen has been exploring Penang further, saw even more of Malaysias unique and beautiful street art (that involves a lot of cats!) and visited the fantastic camera museum – a great place to visit for any blogger!
Follow Belens journey on Vincents blog.

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Ainoha, Brazil to Ireland! Yesterday Ainoha made her way back through Dublin and over to Galway City! She explored the area, saw the Spanish Arch and ended her night with some traditional Irish music at a local pub, before retiring to our Sleepzone hostel.
Follow Ainohas journey on Stephanies blog.

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Stephanie, Ireland to Brazil! Stephanie spent her 8th day in Brazil in the naturally beautiful area of Arraial do Cabo! She was originally supposed to get on a bus back to the city, but she just couldn’t say goodbye to the beautiful beaches just yet. She extended her stay slightly and did some snorkeling, and after seeing her photos – we understand why!
Follow Stephanies journey on Ainohas blog.

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Jono, Australia to Slovenia! Jono has described the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana as a ‘fairytale town’. Yesterday, despite the rain, he woke up ready to make the most of his last day and night in Ljubljana. He said goodbye to hostel Tresor, a former bank, but not before robbing it and escaping on a long board.
Follow Jonos journey on Ninas blog.

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Nina, Slovenia to Australia! Nina has put together a video of her time canyoning and abseiling in the beautiful Blue Mountains that we just had to share with you! Yesterday Nina was in Melbourne exploring, she saw some street art, had some Kangaroo burgers and stayed at our Melbourne hostel.
Follow Ninas journey on Jonos blog.

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Ruth, UK to Hong Kong! Ruth met Stephanie from YHA Hong Kong yesterday, and had a fantastic tour around a local museum.
Follow Ruths journey on Kittys blog.

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Kitty, Hong Kong to the UK! Kitty wrote a letter to London, thanking it for the incredible few days she spent there at the beginning of her adventure in England. Yesterday she hopped on her next train over to York!
Follow Kittys journey on Ruths blog.

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Manuel, Spain to South Africa! Manuel spent yesterday in beautiful Cape Town, and took some amazing shots for us.
Follow Manuels journey on Roys blog.

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Roy, South Africa to Spain! Roy took some beautiful shots in Pamplona, said goodbye and made his way over to Zaragoza yesterday. Today he’s touched down in Barcelona, and we’re already excited to see his shots from the incredible city. 
Follow Roys journey on Manuels blog.

Kingdom of Navarre, Pamplona original shot The Basilica, cathedral of our lady pillar zaragoza

Marcela, Italy to Philippines! Marcela has now reached the last city on her agenda, Baguio! She checked into our hostel and enjoyed the stunning views.
Follow Marcelas journey on Tessas blog.

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Tessa, Philippines to Italy! Tessa explored Italy‘s third largest city yesterday, Naples.
Follow Tessas journey on Marcelas blog.

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It’s currently day 9 of our 10 day digital trip around the world, and we’ll be giving you the full low-down from today on the blog tomorrow!

#bigblogx

Winners Landed

 

Challenge 3 – Best activity video

As you will know if you’ve been following the Big Blog Exchange journey, we’ve been keeping our bloggers very busy by setting them a whole host of different challenges to complete both before their adventures began and since they kicked off. Before the exchanges started we had the Local Lingo Challenge, where we asked our bloggers to create a video survival guide for their exchange partner coming to their country. We had blogger bucket lists, and we asked them all to be a bit mean and dare their exchange partners to do one thing whilst they were in their country. While they were away on their adventures we had the breakfast photo challenge, the landscape photo challenge and the best hostel photo challenge.

Now it’s time for for the results of our best activity video challenge!

We asked our winning bloggers to capture a short video of an activity they’ve taken part in since they landed in their exchange partners country – and this is what they came up with…

Nina, Slovenia to Australia – Surfing at Bondi Beach, Sydney

Roy, South Africa to Spain – Walking the streets of Madrid

Jono, Australia to Slovenia – Crossing the River Mura in Slovenia using an ancient barge

Ruth, UK to Hong Kong – Hong Kong trail

Manuel, Spain to South Africa – community work 

Manuel – “This is a visit to a school in the village of Ghini where I could see the facilities they have these young students aged between 3 and 6 years. I have also been able to observe their teaching methods, very different from those used in Spain, as well as the school supplies.

Families who can afford pay a monthly fee of 80 rand, just under 6 euros for their children to go to school, receive lessons in Xhosa and English plus two meals a day. I found it an unforgettable experience being with these children during school hours, watching how they proudly showed to me their drawings watching those pretty smiles and greeting me with enthusiasm. A unique visit that ended with a nice moment in which many of them were encouraged to play me some songs, one of them the national anthem, a moment that I want to share with you.

From what I have known many people that South Africa makes every effort to move forward with this country, one is the woman that launched this school two years ago in a humble cottage with a capacity for 12 students and a short time later has about 55 and the facilities have greatly improved. This is also South Africa, a country where everyone gives you their greetings and best smile at every moment.”

Tessa, Philippines to Italy – In transit

Ainoha, Brazil to Ireland – Arrival in Ireland and Cork City

Logan, Canada to India – Rickshaw journey through the streets of Agra

Vincent, Malaysia to Argentina – A fantastic show in Buenos Aires

Lucie, France to the USA – A walk in Rock Creek Park, Washington DC

Kitty, Hong Kong to the UK – Harry Potter Studio Tour

Purujeet, India to Canada – Hiking the Sea2Sky trail

We sent the videos around the HI office and after a lot of deliberation and thought, we have our winner.

(Drumroll please) Aaaaaand the winner is… JONO! Everyone at HI loved your video, generic travel documentary voice – and the activity itself. Well done!

The exchanges may be over, but the journey is not. We will still be bringing you the results of our best interview challenge in the next few days! As well as our blogger video epilogues at the end of November, which will see our winners reflect on their Big Blog Exchange experiences.

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Day 7 – BBE daily summary

If you’ve been following the Big Blog Exchange journey, you’ll know that every day since our bloggers kicked off their cultural exchange adventures on 31 October we’ve been giving you a daily summary right here on the blog. If you’ve just tuned in, you can catch yourself up on what they have been experiencing in their host countries over the last week by going back to our day 1 daily summary and making you’re way back to right here – day 7! Yesterday we caught you up on what our winners got up to on day 6 of their adventures, and what a day it was! We had Californian sunshine, bloggers in France voicing their concerns over turning into a human baguette, Patagonia treks and twisted ankles in Argentina, floating mosques in Malaysia, bloggers attacked by un-anticipated falling Mango’s in Brazil, surf lessons in Cape Town, beach days in Bohol, Philippines and so much more.

If you would like to follow their 16 diverse adventures live on Twitter, you can do so by clicking here. You can also keep yourself in the loop by searching the #bigblogx tag on Instagram to see all of our winners beautiful photography from their host countries. Remember, they’ve swapped blogs for the duration, so you can follow them by clicking on their blog links found below.

It’s now day 7 of our digital 10 day trip around the world, let’s see what our winning bloggers got up to..

Lucie, France to USA! Lucie spent her 7th day in the United States in San Diego, she got to experience the stunning San Diego sunset on the beaches, before saying goodbye to beach life and heading inland. She’s off to Austin, Texas for the last two days of her exchange – and we’ll catch up with her there tomorrow. You may also remember we asked our bloggers to dare their exchange partners to do one thing whist in their home country, and prior to the trip Taralynn had dared Lucie to try an American favourite, Oreo’s and peanut butter. She took this challenge head on and completed it, and we have photographic and video proof! Well done, Lucie! 
Follow Lucies journey on Taralynns blog.

Taking on Tarlynn's dare, video saved.

Taralynn, USA to France! On the 7th day of her french adventure, Taralynn grabbed some breakfast and said goodbye to Marseille. She grabbed her passport, hopped on a flight and arrived in the stunning city of Rennes. She said the city was beautiful and full of character, look at these incredible photo’s she took both when leaving Marseille, and arriving in Rennes. She also grabbed a baguette despite her worries of turning into one, perhaps they’re just unavoidable in France!
Follow Taralynns journey on Lucies blog.

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Logan, Canada to India! Yesterday Logan endured a bus journey from Jaipur back to the first stop on his itinerary, Delhi. He’s only met one fellow traveller along the way so far, and they were from Germany! They went out for drinks and dinner together to swap travel stories. He used the journey to catch up on some blogging, and saw some beautiful sights along the way. He arrived back at our hostel in Delhi and was overjoyed to be reunited with the staff he had formed such a warm impression of upon arrival. He had dinner at the hostel and today, he’s off to Corbett Park! Tomorrow he heads to Ramnagar, and he’s hoping to see some Tigers!
Follow Logans journey on Purujeets blog.

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drive to hostel

Purujeet, India to Canada! Purujeet has visited the globally recognised landmark in Toronto, the CN Tower! Yesterday was a very exciting day for Purujeet, he left Toronto and headed over to one of the most iconic attractions in Canada – Niagara Falls! He checked into our Niagara Falls hostel, met the staff, and even became a member for a short period of time! He made his way over to the iconic falls, enjoyed the sights, and was treated to a slap-up meal in our hostel in the evening. 
Follow Purujeets journey on Logans blog.

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Vincent, Malaysia to Argentina! After an unfortunate accident hiking the day before, Vincent spent the day in Bariloche resting his poorly ankle, and managed to take some really stunning shots for us (that make us in no way jealous, we swear!). Don’t worry, he’s recovered now and ready to carry on with his BBE adventure!
Follow Vincents journey on Belens blog.

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Belen, Argentina to Malaysia! Belen spent her 7th day in Penang, a historical city declared by UNESCO. She umm’ed and ahh’ed over the many options of street food available, visited some beautiful antique shops and saw more of Malaysia’s unique street art on the streets of Penang.
Follow Belens journey on Vincents blog.

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Ainoha, Brazil to Ireland! Yesterday Ainoha and the HI Ireland staff arrived together in Newgrange, dumped their bags at the hostel and took on an adrenaline pumping activity – rafting! Ainoha tells us that it started to rain, so they escaped the activity as soon as they could, retired to the warmth of the hostel and had an Irish coffee!
Follow Ainohas journey on Stephanies blog.

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Stephanie, Ireland to Brazil! Stephanie said goodbye to the staff she had made such good friends with in Hostel 7 in Brasilia, got on her 6th flight in 8 days, and headed back to where her Big Blog Exchange journey all began – Rio! She met with her contact in Brazil, Stephan, and hopped on a bus ready to head straight to the beautiful Arraial do Cabo. She arrived safe and sound at our Marina dis Anjos Hostel!
Follow Stephanies journey on Ainohas blog.

6th flight in 8 days  10808407_560504590747675_13539324_n Andre, Hostel 7 Brasilia staff with text   arraial do cabo hostel lounge Art exhibition in Brazil Bus to Arraial do cabo Common room, hostel 7 Brasilia DAY 7 STEPHANIE  flight back to rio Friends in hostel 7 Brasilia Goodbye Brazilia! Hostel 7 common room brasilia with text  Marina dis anjos hostel in arraial do cabo rio  Mexican buffet New friends in hostels Packed for Rio Say HI to the world sign shrimp rolls Stephan CEO Brazil with text

Jono, Australia to Slovenia! Yesterday Jono made his way to the capital that he has been trying to learn to pronounce since before he even arrived – Ljubljana! Years ago Jono visited Ljubljana briefly, as a struggling traveller, and was extended a wonderful act of kindness by a local lady who gave him some apples for free. Yesterday, he returned and finally paid her (well he’s fairly sure it was her!) for those apples. He wandered around the rainy streets, and after a brief trip to Rio de Janeiro (maybe he bumped into Stephanie there) he was off to a local pub for a wind down, before a busy few days!
Follow Jonos journey on Ninas blog.

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Ljubljana street Ljubljana sign Apple story, Ljubljana

Nina, Slovenia to Australia! Nina arrived in Melbourne yesterday, saw some incredible street art, had some Souvlaki at celebrity chef Jimmy Grants in Fitzroy, and today she’s visited Melbourne‘s beautiful beaches, we’re sure we’ll see some beautiful shots from these tomorrow!
Follow Ninas journey on Jonos blog.

Ready for Melbourne adventures Street art in Melbourne Trying souvlaki at Jimmy Grants

Ruth, UK to Hong Kong! Ruth had a day of Hong Kong culture yesterday, and on the itinerary was Dialogue in the Dark, Street Food at Dundas Street, Mongkok Yau Ma Tei Theatre and the famous Red Brick Building before dinner at the street market!
Follow Ruths journey on Kittys blog.

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Kitty, Hong Kong to the UK! Kitty spent yesterday in the beautiful city of Cambridge, known for it’s famous university, beautiful architecture and stunning scenery. One activity that everybody visiting Cambridge for the first time should try is punting on the river – and she did just that!
Follow Kittys journey on Ruths blog.

cakes in cambs Cambridge cakes Kitty in cambridge Lunch Punting in Cambs shop in cambs

Manuel, Spain to South Africa! Manuel spent yesterday in Cape Town! On the agenda was the impressive Table Mountain, a tour of the city, Castle of Good Hope and the Grand Parade. Manuel had the opportunity to learn about life under apartheid South Africa at the Parliment Buildings and of course, the District Six Museum. Photos of this amazing day to come soon!
Follow Manuels journey on Roys blog.

Cape Town

Roy, South Africa to Spain! Roy spent the entire day in Pamplona yesterday, home of his exchange partner Manuel. He took some beautiful shots of the streets, castles and churches and took on Manuel’s dare, to take a photo of the iconic statue in Pamplona.
Follow Roys journey on Manuels blog.

Church inside a castle, Pamplona Iconic statue in Pamplona Lonely streets of Pamplona Manuels dare Streets of Pamplona Castle Pamplona original photo

 

Streets of Pamplona

Marcela, Italy to Philippines! Yesterday Marcela spent the day exploring beautiful Bohol, a place she has well and truly fallen in love with. She explored the area and beaches a bit further, and today – she’s off to Baguio! She took a flight to Manila, the city that marked the beginning of her Philippines adventure, and hopped on a bus up to Baguio to check into her next hostel. We’ll see what she gets up to there on tomorrows summary.
Follow Marcelas journey on Tessas blog.

Bohol beaches

Tessa, Philippines to Italy! Tessa said goodbye to Florence yesterday, and made her way to the beautiful city of Naples. We feel as though if we held a post-BBE award ceremony and there was an award for taking the most photos of leaves and plants – she’d absolutely have to win it!
Follow Tessas journey on Marcelas blog.

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