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.

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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 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

Challenge 2 – Best landscape photo

As you all know we’ve been keeping our bloggers very busy not just in the build up to their exchanges, but during as well. Not only with their exciting and busy itineraries, but by setting them a whole host of different challenges to complete while they are away.

Now it’s time for challenge number 2!

We have 16 very different countries being represented by our bloggers in the project this year, no one country is in any way comparable to the next. Each has it’s own rich history, it’s own unique culture, and it’s own vibe. One of the beautiful things about the Big Blog Exchange project is giving 16 people the chance to get to know everything there is to know about a country drastically different to their own, and being able to see it through their eyes. We asked our bloggers to take a landscape photo within their host country, so that we could see the diverse beauty of each destination from their individual perspectives, and this is what they came up with..

Kitty in the UK – View of Bath, Somerset

KITTY BATH UK

Ainoha in Ireland – Wicklow Mountains National Park

Ainoha wicklow mountains np

Logan in India – The beauty of Amber Fort in Jaipur

Logan Amber Fort in Jaipur

Lucie in the USA – San Diego sunset

Lucie - USA

Manuel in South Africa- The beauty of South African mountains 

Manuel south africa

 

Nina in Australia – Blue Mountains

Nina Blue Mountains Australia

Ruth in Hong Kong – The beautiful contrast of nature, history and modernisation in Hong Kong

Ruth Hong Kong

Stephanie in Brazil – Rio sunset

Stephanie - rio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vincent – Patagonia 

Vincent - Puente del Inca

Jono in Slovenia – Bohinj Lake

jono

Taralynn in France – Lyon

Taralynn - Lyon

Tessa in Italy – San Gimignano, Tuscan region

Tessa - San Gimignano, Tuscan region

Purujeet in Canada – Canadian photosphere

Purujeet

Roy in Spain – Burgos

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It has been incredibly difficult for the team to pick a winner for this particular challenge, every single photograph is unique and shows the beauty of the country our bloggers are currently experiencing. After a lot of debate, we have finally chosen our deserving winner.

Aaaaannndddd the winner is… JONO! We loved this shot of Bohinj Lake in Slovenia, well done! Here is is again.

Jono - Bohinj Lake.

Day 6 – BBE daily summary

What an amazing journey the Big Blog Exchange 2014 has been so far. We’re officially over the halfway point, and our fantastic bloggers have all successfully immersed themselves into the culture of their host countries, with open minds and cameras to hand. Taking the challenges along the way head on, and of course, keeping us all on the edge of our seats throughout. We’ve had a wealth of incredibly eye opening photography, some amazing videos and beautifully written stories – showing us 16 diverse countries from the perspective of the individual bloggers. The journey is far from over, with several challenges and experiences to come. For now, here is an overview of what every one of them got up to on the  6th day of the cultural exchange adventures..

Remember, you can follow their journeys live on Twitter by clicking here. You can also take a look at all of the photos on Instagram surrounding their trips by searching the #bigblogx tag and following their individual accounts and blogs.

Lucie, France to USA! Lucie headed out to explore yesterday, she had no car, but she did have a day pass! She was off to San Diego, an iconic and beautiful city in California. The journey would take an hour and a half, plus two transfers, but if you have the time and the sun is shining like it was yesterday – why not? Summer was well and truly back on for Lucie yesterday as she enjoyed the beautiful Californian sunshine on her route, and although her bus decided it wasn’t going to turn up on time, this meant she had more time to soak up the rays. She saw the Cabrillo national monument, had a fantastic lunch and a pumpkin spice frappucino (yum!) and ended her day by visiting the beach and watching the stunning San Diego sunset. Today she says goodbye to the beaches and heads inland, and we’ll see what she gets up to on tomorrows summary!
Follow Lucies journey on Taralynns blog.

beach san diego beach bus cabrillo national monument, pacific Day pass lunch in san diego Sun Sunset SD sunset

Taralynn, USA to France! Taralynn said goodbye to Lyon and made her way over to the beautiful Marseille, after Paris, the second largest city in France! She spent the night there getting a feel for the city, and woke up yesterday ready to spend the entire day exploring! She sat in the same spot her parents sat in at her age, and has been nailing her French lingo! She’s a bit worried she might be turning into a human baguette, and has made contact with some football fans in the USA who want to take her exchange partner Lucie to a Tailgate, one of Taralynns dares for Lucie! Taralynn has written a post on Lucies blog about her time in Marseille. Today she is leaving Marseille and flying over to Rennes, and we can’t wait to see what she thinks of it there.
Follow Taralynns journey on Lucies blog.

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Logan, Canada to India! Yesterday, alongside the Monkey temple, Logan visited India‘s most famous and historic city defense fort. He also made his way over to the floating fort in the middle of a beautiful lake, and watched how hand block printing is done. After a few disagreements with his taxi driver about where he would take him (at least there were no Justin Bieber songs this time) Logan eventually made his way back to his accommodation to escape the beautiful, but tiring 38 degree heat and went out in search of dinner after the sun had set.
Follow Logans journey on Purujeets blog.

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Purujeet, India to Canada! Purujeet spent yesterday in the fantastic Canadian city of Toronto, he was armed with a map and a camera and set out to explore! He got a dose of Canadian sunshine, and visited Chinatown market in Kensington, where there were only English signs and no French signs! Check out his incredible Canadian itinerary on the HI site.

Follow Purujeets journey on Logans blog.

Market toronto Toronto map Toronto sunshine

Vincent, Malaysia to Argentina! Vincent had quite a remarkable day yesterday in Argentina, and went trekking in Patagonia! He said it wasn’t easy, and he twisted his ankle slightly (ouch!) but the scenery both along the way and at the end of the trek was undeniably worth it all – just look at these beautiful shots he managed to snap! What a day!
Follow Vincents journey on Belens blog.

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Belen, Argentina to Malaysia! Belen spent yesterday in Melaka, saw the stunning floating mosque, had a beautiful dinner, and today – she’s flying over to Penang! We can’ wait to see what she experiences there.
Follow Belens journey on Vincents blog.

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Ainoha, Brazil to Ireland! Ainoha has adored Ireland so far, and has had the absolute pleasure of seeing it both cold and hot weather – seeing two completely different sides to the cities she has been exploring. She’s currently in Glendalough!
Follow Ainohas journey on Stephanies blog.

AINOHA GLENDALOUGH COUNTY WICKLOW ainoha glendalough walks WICKLOW MOUNTAINS NP, GLENDALOUGH, AINOHAStephanie, Ireland to Brazil! Stephanie touched down in the vibrant federal capital of Brazil, Brasilia – and fell in love with it almost instantly. The city really is an architectural masterpiece filled with unique innovative buildings and with a clever, urban layout. She spent the entire day exploring every nook of the city, almost got hit in the head by an un-anticipated falling Mango, has been making a lot of friends in our hostel, tried to get a miserable looking guy to be as happy as she is – and retired to our fantastic Hostel 7 again last night. 
Follow Stephanies journey on Ainohas blog.

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Jono, Australia to Slovenia! Jono spent yesterday in Velenje! He had some morning travel inspiration, ordered a coffee from a tablet and explored the city. Last night, he very bravely wore his Chelsea FC gear to watch them play Slovenian football team, NK Maribor! (He wore this under his clothes of course, he needed to get home safely and couldn’t risk being outed as  a Chelsea fan!)
Follow Jonos journey on Ninas blog.

chelsea Japanese robotics Morning inspiration road tripping

Nina, Slovenia to Australia! Nina has been in Port Stephens, and hiked Tomaree mountain! She took an incredible shot from the heights of the mountain, said Australia was beginning to feel like a home to her, and of course – tucked into a hefty (but amazing) burger to top off her day! Next – she’s off to Melbourne!
Follow Ninas journey on Jonos blog.

Aus beach feast PS

Ruth, UK to Hong Kong! On her 6th day in Hong Kong, Ruth experienced laid back island life on Lamma, a beautiful island just off the coast of Hong Kong. Paradise!
Follow Ruths journey on Kittys blog.

Day 6 in Hong Kong Ruth

Kitty, Hong Kong to the UK! Kitty said goodbye to Bristol, hopped on her next train and spent yesterday exploring the famous city of Bath, Somerset in the UK. She went on the Mayor of Baths honorary guided tour and saw the iconic Bath Abbey. She took some beautiful shots of her exploring the city during the day! She stayed in our Bath hostel – and today she’s off to Cambridge for some punting!
Follow Kittys journey on Ruths blog.

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Manuel, Spain to South Africa! Yesterday in Cape Town, Manuel took on an evening surf! We have no confirmation if he succeeded or fell off the board, but we’re sure just like Nina did in Sydney, he gave it his best shot and did amazingly well! He had a ‘Braii’ (traditional South African Barbeque) and visited the townships and settlements.
Follow Manuels journey on Roys blog.

surf

Roy, South Africa to Spain! Roy said yesterday that Spain is really blowing his mind with it’s diverse beauty, yesterday he was travelling through the mountains between San Sebastian and Pamplona – the home of his exchange partner Manuel. He’s been taking some incredibly beautiful photographs so far, and we can’t wait to see the rest of the cities on his itinerary from his perspective.
Follow Roys journey on Manuels blog.

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Marcela, Italy to Philippines! Marcela is in the stunning area of Bohol in the Philippines, home to the famous Chocolate Hills, and some outstanding beaches. After a rocky start in Manila at the beginning of her journey, Marcela has fallen more and more in love with the country since arriving, and that love has reached it’s height in Bohol. She spent yesterday on the Bohol beaches!
Follow Marcelas journey on Tessas blog.

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Tessa, Philippines to Italy! Tessa has written her first post on Marcelas blog about her time in Italy so far, complete with thoughts, opinions and photographs, you can read it by clicking on the link below! She spent yesterday in Sienna, had a beautiful view walking up to her hostel and today she is off to Naples!
Follow Tessas journey on Marcelas blog.

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You can see all 16 of our winners blogs together by clicking here. They will be posting on their exchange partners blogs for the duration of the 10 day cultural exchanges, sharing every step of their adventures with you all along the way. You can also follow their journeys by following their personal Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts. It’s currently day 7 of our 10 day digital trip around the world, but there is still so much to come! Remember to check back to the blog tomorrow to see what our fantastic bloggers experienced in their host countries today.

Join the conversation #bigblogx

Winners Landed

 

Day 5 – BBE daily summary

Yesterday marked the half way point of our bloggers 10 day adventures. We’ve had tango lessons and hiccups at wine tasting tours in Argentina, strange taxi journeys involving cows and Justin Bieber in India, lost luggage and broken luggage wheels in Paris, crazy cat street art in Malaysia, Harry Potter tours in London and beautiful colorful buildings in Italy. If you’ve just tuned into the Big Blog Exchange adventure, click on the following link to go back to our day 1 summary on the blog, and make your way through to where we are now, the half way point!

Remember, you can follow the bloggers adventures live on Twitter by clicking here. You can also see all of the photography from their trips by searching #bigblogx on Instagram, and by following their individual blogs! Remember, they are switching blogs with their exchange partners for the duration of the 10 day exchanges!

Lucie, France to USA! Lucie struggled to leave those comfy pillows yesterday, and took off on an exciting road trip with an old friend!
Follow Lucies journey on Taralynns blog.

Capfsfz lucie

Taralynn, USA to France! Taralynn spent yesterday exploring the beautiful city of Lyon. She visited the Roman Amphitheatre, and today she’s off to Marseille! She’s having an amazing time there, and we’ll catch you up with what she’s been up to there tomorrow.

Follow Taralynns journey on Lucies blog.

breakfast in Lyon Lyon roman amphitheatre

Logan, Canada to India! After a bumpy night involving an uneasy stomach, Logan recovered miraculously overnight and woke up fully prepared for a day of sightseeing. Logan spent his morning in the older part of Jaipur, the pink city. He described the city as ‘a beautiful patchwork of temples, monuments and other buildings all made out of pink sandstone’. He travelled through the Hawa Mahal, City Palace, and walked up and down the streets filled with authentic Indian shops. He paid a visit to the Albert Hall museum to learn a little about the depth of Jaipurs history and culture, before heading over to the huge shopping centre of Pink Square (and got some bargain buys while he was there!) Since arriving in India, Logan has taken on Indian cuisine head on. However, after a slightly unsettling stomach the night before, Logan sensibly went for something a little closer to home for dinner last night and grabbed a Dominos pizza. One thing Logan has noticed since arriving India is the abundant and drastic differences between each city he has visited, each is hugely diverse and incomparable to the last, but incredible in it’s own way. We can’t wait to hear Logans take on the other cities he has yet to visit, and too see how they contrast to those he has already experienced.
Follow Logans journey on Purujeets blog.

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Purujeet, India to Canada! Purujeet has written an article on Logans blog about Halloween in Canada! Yesterday he rode the underground on his own, which we imagine to be quite a strange experience in a busy city! Today he is in Toronto, and he has a huge day ahead of him! We’ll report on his Toronto adventures right here on the blog for you tomorrow.
Follow Purujeets journey on Logans blog.

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Vincent, Malaysia to Argentina! On the summary yesterday we told you that Vincent had spent his day hiccuping at a winery in Mendoza, and was packing his bags up ready for an overnight 16 hour bus journey to Bariloche! He had a fantastic ‘bus breakfast’ and although tiring, he enjoyed the stunning views of Argentina on his bus journey, and slept off the wine from the winery in Mendoza! He also sent us a stunning photo of the foothills of the Andes, and we just had to share it with you.
Follow Vincents journey on Belens blog.

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Belen, Argentina to Malaysia! Yesterday Belen woke up to a mouthwatering breakfast, took on some of her exchange partner vincents lingo from our Local Lingo Challenge by using the Malay expression ‘Lah’, and spent the day on a River Cruise on Melaka River!
Follow Belens journey on Vincents blog.

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Ainoha, Brazil to Ireland! Yesterday, Ainoha gave us a photo overload of her amazing time in Ireland so far. She’s been to Dublin, Cork City, Cashel, Glendalough and now Enniskerry! Here are some snaps of her time so far, she even got to visit the iconic Rock of Cashel! (we’re not jealous we swear..) She’s had the cold weather and the sun, seeing Ireland from both sides – each as beautiful as the other. She even carved her name and our #bigblogx tag into some woodwork, so the Big Blog Exchange is now forever in Ireland!
Follow Ainohas journey on Stephanies blog.

AINHA MEAL IN GLENDALOUGH AINIHA MAP AINIHA ST PATRICS ROCK AINOHA AT CASHEL ROCK Ainoha camera AINOHA CASHEL AINOHA CORK CITY AINOHA ENGLISH MARKET CORK AINOHA ENGLISH MARKET IN CORK AINOHA GLENDALOUGH COUNTY WICKLOW ainoha glendalough walks AINOHA GLENDALOUGH, COUNTY WICKLOW - POULANASS WATERFALL AINOHA IN CASHEL, COUNTY TIPPERARY AINOHA IN CASHEL AINOHA IN CORK ainoha national park wicklow Ainoha, welcome to ireland! AIUNOHA FOOD IN WORK AT CASHEL ROCK, AINOHA carving into wood, ainoha #bigblogx CASHEL HOSTEL AINIHA CASHEL ROCK IN CASHEL AINOHA CASHEL YOUTH HOSTEL IRELAND AINOHA cork city art DOWNTOWN CASHEL, COUNTY TIPPERARY AINOHA ENGLISH MARKET CORK AINOHA enniskerry, county wicklow, sustainable hostel recycling sign FAMOUS CASHEL ROCK, AINOHA Fitzgerald park cork city Lee river, cork city, ainoha MEAL IN CORK CITY AINOHA np wicklow ainoha OIG YOUTH HOSTEL, IRELAND, AINOHA. ENNISKERRY, COUNTY WICKLOW POULANASS WALKS, WICKLOW MOUNTAINSNP Powerscourt house, italian garden, enniskerry, county wicklow, ainoha SHANDON STEEPLE AINOHA WICKLOW M NP AINOHA WICKLOW MOUNTAINS NP, GLENDALOUGH, AINOHA WMNP IRELAND AINOHA

Stephanie, Ireland to Brazil! Stephanie spent her morning taking in her last dose of the beautiful Salvador, she went quad biking with her new Brazillian friends in Praia do Forte then made her way over to the federal capital of BrazilBrasilia!
Follow Stephanies journey on Ainohas blog.

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Jono, Australia to Slovenia! It was a huge day for Jono yesterday in Slovenia. He woke up and had a fantastic breakfast, got himself suitably dressed up in the Big Blog Exchange shirt we sent him, and headed off to a press conference! He was interviewed by some national press in Slovenia about his exchange, his exchange partner Nina who is currently in Australia, the BBE project and his blog! We’ll have more on this amazing event for you soon. Yesterday he also went wine tasting in the place with the oldest wine tree in the world at 450 years, before visiting downtown Maribor and of course taking on a huge pot of Almond ice cream to top off his long day. He headed back to our MCC Hostel Celije, who offer fantastic themed rooms, and realised he was in the Ninja room – complete with num chucks and a ninja costume. We imagine he spent a good few hours pretending to be in some form of combat in his room last night, trying to look threatening with his num chucks, but we have no official confirmation of this.
Follow Jonos journey on Ninas blog.

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Nina, Slovenia to Australia! Yesterday Nina declared that the beaches in Australia are so amazing, that she wanted to move there permanently – and who can blame her! She said goodbye to Sydney, the city she has fallen so deeply in love with since arriving down under, and headed over to Port Stephens, saw some Kangaroos, watched the Melbourne cup and spent the night in our amazing Port Stephens hostel!
Follow Ninas journey on Jonos blog.

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Ruth, UK to Hong Kong! Ruth made it to Mei Ho hostel yesterday, visited the famous science museum and enjoyed some cocktails on Knutsford terrace!
Follow Ruths journey on Kittys blog.

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Kitty, Hong Kong to the UK!  Yesterday Kitty headed through London and said goodbye, before hopping on a train over to her next UK stop – Bristol! Home of world famous street artist Banksy. TBBE assistant had told Kitty to keep an eye out for his pop up street art while walking around the streets of Bristol, and she did just that! She’s set herself a personal mission of being able to use British currency, and is now in Bath! We’ll see what she gets up to there on the blog tomorrow.
Follow Kittys journey on Ruths blog.

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Manuel, Spain to South Africa! Manuel has had a crazy time in South Africa so far. He spent the first leg of his trip in East London, where Mandela was born and visited the village he was born in. He did some horseback riding on the beach, visited the stunningly scenic Coffee Bay, took on some hikes and engaged in some village and community activities! We’ll have some more snaps for you soon. Now, he’s in Cape Town!
Follow Manuels journey on Roys blog.

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Roy, South Africa to Spain! Roy said goodbye to beautiful Bilbao on his 5th day and headed over to San Sebastian, Donostia – a beautiful Spanish coastal city. Covered with beautiful mountains, beaches and rivers, and some cool black and white staircases! He spent the day exploring and taking these incredible photos, and fell in love with the place – he said he could easily spend weeks wandering around taking photos – and we can see why!
Follow Roys journey on Manuels blog.

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Marcela, Italy to Philippines! Yesterday Marcela said goodbye to Cebu City and caught the ferry over to Tagbilaran, Bohol. Home of the iconic chocolate hills and Tasier sanctury! She did as many of the activities we suggested to her as she could, and tomorrow – she will spend the entire day on the stunning beaches of Bohol!
Follow Marcelas journey on Tessas blog.

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Tessa, Philippines to Italy! Tessa fell in love with Milan, and every other Italian city she has seen so far on her Italian 10 day itinerary. She spent the entirety of her 5th day in Italy in the beautiful city of Florence. 
Follow Tessas journey on Marcelas blog.

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What a great way to hit the half way point!

You can see all of the bloggers together by clicking here. They will be posting on their exchange partners blogs for the duration of the 10 day cultural exchanges, sharing everything with you all along the way both on there and on their social media accounts. It’s currently day 6 of our 10 day digital trip around the world – but there is so much left to come!

Join the conversation #bigblogx

Winners Landed

Day 3 – BBE daily summary

Sunday 2nd November was the third full day of our bloggers 10 day cultural exchanges. It’s been an incredible adventure so far, and they have all had so many unique experiences already. We’ve been giving you updates daily on what they have all been up to in their 16 exchange countries – and what a day their second day was! We had journeys to Baltimore, visits to the Notre Dame in Paris, crazy taxi journeys in New Delhi, boat rides in Malaysia, and lively Halloween parties in Brazil. Their third day was just as amazing – here’s the low-down on what our bloggers got up to yesterday…

Remember, you can follow each of their adventures live on Twitter by clicking here. You can also see more photos from their adventures by searching #bigblogx on Instagram, and by following their individual blogs!

Lucie, France to USA! Lucie went out to celebrate Halloween for a second time in Baltimore (wearing the shirt we sent her of course!) She saw Edgar Allan Poes grave, had an amazing breakfast, got a bit chilly and wrapper herself up. She went on a street tour of Baltimore with our HI Baltimore hostel and saw some stunning sights along the way, then made her way over to San Diego. We’ll see how she got on there tomorrow!
Follow Lucies journey on Taralynns blog.

baltimore street tour Capture DAY 3 Breakfast in the hostel in baltimore day 3 lucie lucie in baltimore

Taralynn, USA to France! Taralynn has written the third edition of her day in Paris on Lucies blog. Yesterday, she spent the entire day exploring Strasbourg!
Follow Taralynns journey on Lucies blog.

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Logan, Canada to India! Logan left Agra and went to see the iconic Taj Mahal yesterday! He’s off to Jaipur today!
Follow Logans journey on Purujeets blog.

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Purujeet, India to Canada! Purujeet spent yesterday in the wonderful Whistler. He saw Whistler Creek and Squamish, next stop – Toronto!
Follow Purujeets journey on Logans blog.

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Vincent, Malaysia to Argentina! We have just another update for Vincent’s day 2! He met Belen, his exchange partners family in Buenos Aires! They extended some extremely kind hospitality and generosity towards him, and he had a great time.  We have some extra photo’s from his second day to share with you, he explored Buenos Aires a little further and enjoyed every minute of it, before heading over to Mendoza. On his third day yesterday, Vincent took off to the Andes! He reached a phenomenal 2950m above sea level, and he has made some South American friends at HI Mendoza!
Follow Vincents journey on Belens blog.

andes belens mum Capture Capture2 tweet tweet2 VINCENT HIGH MOUNTAINS VINCENT HS MENDOZA

Belen, Argentina to Malaysia! Belen has tried out some local transport in Malaysia and visited Chinatown!
Follow Belens journey on Vincents blog.

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Ainoha, Brazil to Ireland! Ainoha explored the wonderful city of Cork, and made her way over to Cashel to see the iconic Rock of Cashel!
Follow Ainohas journey on Stephanies blog.

ainoha in cork Ainoha is off to cashel

Stephanie, Ireland to Brazil! Stephanie spent yesterday in Salvador and stayed at our F Design hostel, she explored the city and took a drive over to the truly stunning area of Praia Do Forte! We’ll see how she got on there tomorrow.
Follow Stephanies journey on Ainohas blog.

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Jono, Australia to Slovenia! Yesterday, Jono climbed the mountain he had been taking pictures of the day before – Bohinj Mountain! When he reached the top, he had a beer and a perfect view awaiting him. He saw Austria, and supported some locals in a football match! Oh and a few days ago, he met the Slovenian Katniss!
Follow Jonos journey on Ninas blog.

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Nina, Slovenia to Australia! Yesterday Nina said goodbye to Sydney and headed over to the stunning Blue Mountains!
Follow Ninas journey on Jonos blog.

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Kitty, Hong Kong to the UK! Yesterday Kitty explored the incredible capital city of London a bit more, and it’s fair to say she Sherlocked herself out.
Follow Kittys journey on Ruths blog.

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Ruth, UK to Hong Kong! Ruth had an amazing third day, and visited Cheung Chau retreat!
Follow Ruths journey on Kittys blog.

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Manuel, Spain to South Africa! Manuel visited the truly stunning Coffee Bay, just look at this scenery! (We’re not jealous, we promise!)
Follow Manuels journey on Roys blog.

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Roy, South Africa to Spain! Roy spent a majority of his third day exploring Burgos further, then headed over to Bilbao. He fell in love with it – understandably. We’ll see what he got up to in Bilbao tomorrow!

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Marcela, Italy to Philippines! Yesterday Marcela swam with Whale Sharks, and visisted the stunning beaches of Mactan Island! (Oh – and she got a bit burnt, oops!)
Follow Marcelas journey on Tessas blog.

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Tessa, Philippines to Italy! Tessa spent her third day exploring the city on the water – Venice. Known for it’s unique transport system and vibe!
Follow Tessas journey on Marcelas blog.

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Remember to check back to the blog tomorrow, we’ll be giving you an overview of what are bloggers are getting up to today on the fourth day of their exchanges!

Join the conversation #bigblogx

You can see all of the bloggers together by clicking here. They will be posting on their exchange partners blogs for the duration of the 10 day cultural exchanges, sharing everything with you all along the way. It’s day 4 of our 10 day digital trip around the world!

Winners Landed

Day 2 – BBE daily summary

A few days ago our winning bloggers jumped out of their comfort zones and took off on the adventure of a life time, armed with a backpack of blogging equipment and an open mind. Yesterday on the blog we gave you the low-down on what our bloggers got up to on Halloween, their first full day in their exchange country, and what an amazing day it was! We had Tango lessons in Argentina, Panda costumes in DC, Pumpkin carving contests at HI Vancouver, scary movies in Paris, bucket list wishes ticked off in Brazil and some surfing lessons in Australia. If you missed yesterdays action, click here to catch yourself up!

Remember Twitter is buzzing with live updates on the whereabouts and insights of the 16 winners, to follow live updates of the exchanges – click here!

Yesterday, the 1st November, was the second full day of their exchanges – here is a summary of what our bloggers have been getting up to!

Lucie, France to USA! Lucie has said that the culture shock really hit her when landing in America, but as she put it beautifully ‘It is a different country, there is no need to compare, I needed to just be there and enjoy’. Lucie had an amazing time on her first day in Washington DC, celebrated Halloween in our DC hostel, she saw the Washington monument and the Abraham Lincoln Memorial. Lucie grabbed some lunch in Washington DC yesterday, and made her way over to the next city on her itinerary, Baltimore, Maryland, exploring and staying in our Baltimore hostel!
Follow Lucies journey on Taralynns blog.

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Taralynn, USA to France! Yesterday Taralynn woke up and grabbed some breakfast in Paris at Bobs Bake Shop. After breakfast, she set off to catch her train to Strasbourg – and got a bit lost along the way! The metro system in a new city can be difficult to grasp for somebody who is new to the whole thing, and even after this and a broken luggage wheel (not ideal!) she made it to the hostel in Strasbourg safe and sound. She’s written a blog on Lucies page, the second edition of her day in Paris. Visiting the iconic Notre Dame and seeing the beautiful locks by the river. She may have walked into a pole, as she was embaressed to admit (we’ve all done it!) but she loved Paris, and is now settling in Strasbourg for the next leg of her French adventure. We can’t wait to see what she gets up to in Strasbourg!
Follow Taralynns journey on Lucies blog.

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Logan, Canada to India! Logan spent some time in Dehli, and commented on the traffic! “Traffic in India is unlike anything I have ever experienced in my life. It is tremendously scary and confusing, but provides a unique look into the lives of the locals!.” He had a strange taxi experience involving a Cow and Justin Beiber… but he had a fantastic time exploring Dehli, and has written a post on Purujeets blog about his first impressions of India. Yesterday, he headed over to Agra!
Follow Logans journey on Purujeets blog.

LOGAN INDIA TRAFFIC logan, india after 24 hours on purujeets blog

Purujeet, India to Canada! Purujeet spent yesterday, his second day in Canada in Vancouver! He spent the day exploring, visiting local museums and galleries and spent some time in our Vancouver Downtown hostel. He’s off to Whistler in the morning, and we can’t wait to see what he gets up to.
Follow Purujeets journey on Logans blog.

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Vincent, Malaysia to Argentina! Yesterday Vincent spent some time in Buenos Aires, and headed off to catch a flight from HS Palermo, Buenos Aires to Mendoza. Vincent arrived at HS Mendoza at middnight, caught up on some sleep and is off to the Andes on his third day!
Follow Vincents journey on Belens blog.

ARRIVAL AT HS MENDOZA best exchange dinner

Belen, Argentina to Malaysia! Belen attended a Malaysian wedding on her first day! She spent some time in Putrajaya –  visited the Convention Centre and went off on a boat ride! She even came across the Durian fruit, a somewhat scary food suggested by her exchange partner “No wonder nobody wants to try it! It smells horrible!” All part of the cultural experience, Belen! 
Follow Belens journey on Vincents blog.

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Ainoha, Brazil to Ireland! Ainoha was allocated her traditional Irish name yesterday over breakfast, and made her way over to the incredible city of Cork to do some exploring and meet the Cork City hostel staff!
Follow Ainohas journey on Stephanies blog.

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Stephanie, Ireland to Brazil!
Stephanie met our Brazillian BBE 2013 winner yesterday! She spent the day taking in her last dose of Rio, before packing her bags and heading over to the vibrant city of Salvador! She checked into our quirky F Design hostel, pretended to be a monkey for a few selfies and then got out the face paint (and an Irish hat, of course) ready to party Brazillian style for Halloween.
Follow Stephanies journey on Ainohas blog.

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Jono, Australia to Slovenia! Jono visited Bled in Slovenia yesterday, took on some hefty food challenges, rowed a boat on the stunning lake, took some cheesey head shots at Bled castle and enjoyed the stunning view of Bled from our Bled hostel.
Follow Jonos journey on Ninas blog.

LAKE BLED

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Nina, Slovenia to Australia! Nina spent her second day in Sydney, recovering from her surf lessons and had some Kangaroo pizza! Jono, her exchange partner thinks she’s nailing the Aussie lifestyle so far! She made her way over to the Blue Mountains – we’ll see how she got on there tomorrow!
Follow Ninas journey on Jonos blog.

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Kitty, Hong Kong to the UK! Kitty has spent her first few days in the UK in the currently chilly capital of London! She’s seen Portabello Market, M&M world in Leicester square, Notting Hill, the Natural History Museum and yesterday – she let her nerd flag flight high and proud and visited Harry Potter Studios. Being a creative breakfast blogger, she’s had a fair few traditional English Breakfasts too!
Follow Kittys journey on Ruths blog.

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Ruth, UK to Hong Kong!
Ruth is enjoying the stunning views of Hong Kong, she’s been exploring the streets of the city and the beautiful beaches.
Follow Ruths journey on Kittys blog.

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Manuel, Spain to South Africa!
Manuel went on a horse back beach ride, and took some incredibly stunning photo’s of his views along the way. Follow Manuels journey on Roys blog.

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Roy, South Africa to Spain! Roy spent his second day in Spain in Burgos, with beautiful clear skies – and visited Burgos Cathedral!
Follow Roys journey on Manuels blog.

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Marcela, Italy to Philippines! Marcela left Manila and headed over to Cebu City. She explored the city and she’s having an incredible time, and getting a taste for the local cuisine! She’s currently in Cebu City preparing for Mactan Island!
Follow Marcelas journey on Tessas blog.

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Tessa, Philippines to Italy! Tessa spent the day exploring and headed over to Vicenza! Today she is heading over to Venice, and we’ll see what she got up to there tomorrow!
Follow Tessas journey on Marcelas blog.

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Remember to check back to the blog tomorrow, we’ll be giving you an overview of what are bloggers are getting up to today on the third day of their exchanges!

Join the conversation #bigblogx

You can see all of the bloggers together by clicking here. They will be posting on their exchange partners blogs for the duration of the 10 day cultural exchanges, sharing everything with you all along the way. It’s day 3 of our 10 day digital trip around the world, and we can’t wait to see what else they get up to. We have an incredible team this year spreading the word of the project in 16 culturally diverse countries, and the adventure is only just beginning!

www.bigblogexchange.org

#bigblogx

Winners Landed

 

 

Day 1 – BBE daily summary

After months of anticipation, prepping and planning – the Big Blog Exchange 2014 has now officially kicked off!

A few days ago we shared with you some photo’s of our bloggers packing up, travelling across the world and landing in their exchange destinations – and after a bit of exploration, some chats with our hostel staff and a good nights sleep, yesterday they all woke up ready to dive into their 10 day adventures!

As we have said before, every day we will be posting a daily summary of what the bloggers got up to on the previous day, you can also keep up to date by following their adventures as they are translated live on Twitter, as well as on their individual blogs. Remember, they will be posting on their exchange partners blogs for the duration of the exchange, and you can follow their journeys as they blog LIVE on their personal Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts too!

Yesterday was of course, Halloween! Here’s a little taster of what our bloggers got up to on their first full day in their exchange countries..

Lucie, France to USA! Lucie spent her first day in the USA at our Washington DC hostel, and celebrated Halloween DC style – she even got a bunch of high 5’s for her Panda costume. 
Follow Lucies journey on Taralynn’s blog.

LUCIE HALLOWEEN IN DC IMAGE LUCIE HALLOWEEN IN DC MONUMENT TWEET ready for halloween! got her high 5s

Taralynn, USA to France! Taralynn has written her first post on Lucie’s blog about her first day in Paris. Taralynn spent yesterday exploring the city, and celebrated Halloween with a bunch of scary movies in Paris!
Follow Taralynns journey on Lucies blog.

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Logan, Canada to India! Logan woke up on his first day to a fantastic breakfast, and spent the day exploring the busy city of Dehli!
Follow Logans journey on Purujeet’s blog.

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Purujeet, India to Canada! Purujeet spent Halloween in Vancouver, and there was a pumpkin carving contest in our Vancouver Downtown hostel!
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ollow Purujeets journey on Logans blog.

Pumpkin carving contest

Vincent, Malaysia to Argentina! Vincent and Mercedes from HI Argentina went to see a tango show yesterday, had a beautiful dinner and even gave the tango classes a go themselves!
Follow Vincents journey on Belens blog.

Dancing with Mercedes tweet - Vincent Dinner with Mercedes Vincent same tweet

Belen, Argentina to Malaysia! Belen spent her first day in the beautiful Kuala Lumpur, and met some HI Malaysia staff!
Follow Belens journey on Vincents blog.

10731742_795516647161753_624268254_n Good morning, Kuala Lumpur! hi malaysia staff

Ainoha, Brazil to Ireland! Ainoha awoke on her first day in Ireland to a full breakfast with the HI Ireland team in Dublin! After a little exploration, she headed over to the fantastic city of Cork for the next leg of her trip.
Follow Ainoha’s adventure on Stephanies blog.

Breakfast with Zaz and the team in Ireland

 

Welcome to Cork City!

Stephanie, Ireland to Brazil! Yesterday Stephanie ticked something off her bucket list and visited the Cristo Redentor!
Follow Stephanies journey on Ainohas blog. 

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Jono, Australia to Slovenia! HI Slovenia were fattening Jono up for the winter in Bled yesterday. He saw Idrija and made his way to a winery in the Vipava Valleys!
Follow Jonos journey on Ninas blog.

Cake in bled idrija On the way to Slovenian winearies - twitter sniop vipava valley

 

Nina, Slovenia to Australia! Nina spent her first full day down under on Bondi Beach in Sydney learning to ride the waves with ‘Let’s go surfing’ and YHA Australia! She also bravely took on Jonos dare, and we have photographic evidence!
Follow Ninas journey on Jonos blog.

Surfing in Sydney

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Kitty, Hong Kong to the UK! Kitty spent her first full day in the UK exploring London Town, and met Sam from YHA England & Wales who showed her the ropes, and gave her the train tickets for her 10 day trip around England. She had a picnic in the park and grabbed a fresh Strawberry box from Portabello market.
Follow Kittys journey on Ruths blog.

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Ruth, UK to Hong Kong! Ruth woke up in Hong Kong on her first day to an incredible view of the cityscape, and enjoyed afternoon tea whilst looking out at a truley stunning sight.
Follow Ruths journey on Kittys blog.

Afternoon tea - original photo View of Hong Kong selfie

 

Manuel, Spain to South Africa! Manuel spent the day exploring South Africa, just look at these stunning scenes he snapped yesterday!
Follow Manuels journey on Roys blog.

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Roy, South Africa to Spain! Roy spend his first day in Spain in Madrid. He went with the REAJ HI Spain team over to Museo Thysse!
Follow Roys journey on Manuels blog.

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Marcela, Italy to Philippines! Marcela woke up on her first day in the city of Manila, explored and went to a local food market recommended by one of our fantastic BBE 2014 finalists from the Philippines. Oh, and she made a new best friend too.
Follow Marcelas journey on Tessas blog.
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