A Day With Kisty

Kisty, our winner from Singapore visited the Hostelling International offices on Monday (17th June) to meet the Big Blog Exchange team and enjoy a cupcake reception! She also met the CEO and President of HI, in addition to taking part in an interview about her overall experience!

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Kisty meeting our HI President!

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BBE team Brianda and Scarlett with the cupcakes for Kisty!

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Traditionally British Scones, Jam and Clotted Cream!

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We also spent a day in London with her too!

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Thanks for visiting us Kisty! It was great to meet you.

Stay tuned on this blog for the video interviews, we can’t wait to share them!

Your Blogging Platform!

With bloggers taking part from various different countries around the globe, inevitably, we have a large variety of blogging platforms being used. WordPress, Blogger, Blogspot, blog.com and Typepad seem to be the most popular, however…

We wanted to direct the question at you guys – and ask, which blogging platform do you use? Which one do you find the most reliable and why? Do you blog from a remote server? Is there one popular blogging platform in your country?

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We’d love to hear from you!

15 Days Left!

It’s the 1st April, and bloggers have officially got 15 days left to encourage readers, friends and families to vote. If you haven’t entered the competition yet (welcome, by the way), there is still time and you are still in with a chance, even if you don’t have the highest number of votes. The two wildcard places will be chosen regardless of votes, so no matter what you blog about, however many followers you have or wherever in the world you live – join the Big Blog Exchange!

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Are you excited for the 16 winners to be announced?

Motivations We Love #29

You’ve got 17 days left to get all your votes in. Who is excited for the final 16 to be announced? We know we are!

Here are today’s favourites:

Rodney Maller, from Loving Life Blog (Australia) says: 

I’m a first time blogger, a good friend has a blog here and i got the inspiration to just try, give it a go and see where it goes….. I love travel and believe that until you have traveled and experienced other cultures, foods, lifestyles, people and places you haven’t really opened your eyes to the reality of the world we live in. If you only know the space in where you were born, lived and died you have never known what you are capable of and your concept of society, tradition/customs, perspective is at a tremendous disadvantage. you can’t develop an appreciation or understanding of the true value through your t.v. or internet browser. GET OUT THERE AND EXPERIENCE IT YOURSELF :-). I love food, my palate is broad and through food you can open the door of conversation and understanding. Food can bring down barriers and walls in the way of effective dialogue. Food is not just about the taste of what you eat, it about the experience, the people you share it with, the places you are, it’s all of these combined to make a truly beautiful journey. Try something new today :-), I am also a man of faith, I believe that traveling through diverse nations and peoples and experiencing all they have to offer through food and culture and friendship you can really come to love and appreciate what a wonderful God we serve. though we are many and we are diverse we all possess common bonds and needs and desires. Written on the hearts of all men and women is the need to be loved, to be accepted, for friendship and peace. I pray we can have strength in diversity, rather than division.. I also really enjoy sport, and I’m happy to play any sport at least once, my favorite sport is definitely got to be Test Cricket, which may bore many of you to tears, but it really is the beautiful game 🙂

Zahrul Fuadi, from jajandimana blog (Indonesia) says: 

My motivation is I want to be a better food blogger. I really hope that BigBlogExchange can give me a BIG chance to taste more “color” on food and be a better BLOGger after meeting people that knowledgeable in this field of expertise. And finally I can exchange my experience to my community. I believe that if i win this competition, i will learn a lot and have fun thru the process.

Sonja, from Fashion, Friends and Football Blog (Finland) says: 

I want to see the whole world !!! This would also help me so much with my plans to be a journalist. I love travelling and I am so excited about languages ! I live for my friends, family, football, food, journalism, fashion and of course blogging.

Michael Johnstone, from The Asian Persuasion (Canada) says: 

In July 2010 I sold most of what I owned, jammed a few things in boxes, and packed the rest into two suitcases. Like a thousands of other Canadians, I left my home country for a new life in South Korea. I had no idea what I would find there. Two years later and I’m still in love with what I found. An alien culture, a mysterious city, and a whole region of the world to explore. I am addicted to Asia. The Asian Persuasion was started a few weeks before I stepped onto that plane and has been a way to share a tiny sliver of what I’ve found with the world. I chose the name because, even before leaving, I felt as though this far off corner of the world was drawing me in and trying to tell me something. I’m still trying to figure out what that is. The concept of this competition is at the heart of what it means to be a blogger. To be an exchanger of ideas, a tiny window into another life, culture, or set of perspectives. The chance to interact directly with bloggers from around the globe would bring the blogging experience to the three dimensional world, and would be indescribably eye-opening. Thanks for the chance to be a part of this amazing project!

Kurt Duvel, from The Eagle’s Nest Blog (South Africa) says: 

I believe that we as bloggers should be connecting in person, and not just through our websites. But it’s not always financially feasible to pack a bag and travel halfway across the world to meet someone you’ve only been communicating with online. I see this exchange as an opportunity for me to connect with other bloggers on a personal level, and to learn how their local environment affects what they write about. In my case, music is a very subjective topic, and different cultures and countries respond in different ways to others, even if we’re talking about the same big-name American artist (for example). Travelling can give one a new perspective on one’s beliefs and opinions, and I hope to be refreshed and inspired by an exchange such as this. After going on a 3-month academic exchange to an all-boys private school in Nashville, Tennessee back in my Grade 10 year of high school, I know firsthand how true that statement can be.

Motivations We Love #28

Do you think we can extend the community even further and have 1,000 bloggers signed up to the Big Blog Exchange? Let’s make this the largest blogging community in the world and spread the word! We would really appreciate your help!

Until we reach 1,000 – here are our favourite motivations of today:

Huicyeo, from Moac-me (Malaysia) says: 

Have you ever felt so out of place in the country of your birth? So foreign is the land and culture that you’re supposed to be naturally in love with? I have. I didn’t ask to be to this way. It just happened. I fell in love with a language that wasn’t mine to begin with; a language that up until ten summers of my life, was a language that I wasn’t even fluent with. However since adopting this new language, my life has changed tremendously and still is, as contrite as this may sound. English has brought such huge changes in my life that I can never feel like I would ever fit in this country of mine anymore. I’m not saying that Malaysia is a horrible nation. As a matter of fact, this humble place that I come from is so rich in culture and diversity of its people that it’s one of the most unique country in this world. All I’m saying is that I wasn’t made for it. English has opened up my eyes to this amazing world; this wonderful magnificent world that is made up of so many places that housed such different and special kind of people that my heart has wandered. My heart has strayed from where I am to all those places that I could have been if only I have the chance so all I’m asking for is this: give this boring ‘ol two decades old of lass a chance to experience life in another country. It’s not too much to ask, is it?

Luciana, from Me Ecanta Blog (Argentina) says: 

Since I can remember, I’ve always been proun to explore new cultures and try new things. One of my hobbies is to learn different language so if I go somewhere I can really get in touch with the locals. Unfortunately I don’t have so much time and resources to travel as much as I would like, but I love meeting people from everywhere in my city. Actually, I’m studying a master’s degree in International Affairs, and I’m going to live abroad, a thing that I definitely want to try. Sometimes I start writing about one thing, and I finish with another. My blog is kind of a “nonsense” blog, but It´d be great to change it for a few days and live new experiences. We need to try everything, that’s the only way to learn.

Michael Henry Cabili, from Bubonicboon Blog (Philippines) says: 

Like anyone else, I always feel the rush when I am in a different place. When I get to see new people, it makes me realize how little I have explored my world, how many a thing are still out there, waiting to be learned. When I ride on buses, board on planes, walk the streets of a unique place, it makes me think how big the world is, how different and how unique everything is. These moments make me think that life out there is something worth discovering. It’s the unknown that fuels up my need to see all the beautiful things out there. To hear them, to speak with them. To feel them. To experience them. But above all, it’s not only geography, politics, history and culture that makes me want to travel. It’s the feeling of being lost, being alone, being able to reflect and see things in a new perspective that makes me say to myself “I am in a different place. But I just found myself. And I will forever be home”. I know everyone deserves to be in that special place. I’d like to think that I do too. So for what it’s worth, I will strive to be in that special place. I may not have traveled far and wide. Least I can say, in heart and in mind, I am a traveler. And I deserve to travel. And sooner or later, I will.

Megan Doepker, from Universal Citizen (Canada) says: 

Universal Citizen serves up a daily dose of inspiration for ethical & eco fashion, conscious living and global travels, curated by a globetrotting ecofashionista, social entrepreneur and idealist (AKA Me!). Having the opportunity to swap lives with another blogger fits exactly within the theme of my blog. It’s been though travels that I’ve realized just how interconnected our world is, and that’s why I share my experiences, to inspire conscious living and responsible consumerism. It’s also been travels that motivated me to start UNA Fashion, a fair trade label following social business principles. The opportunity to blog about the culture of a fellow blogger, the geography of the land, and what makes their home unique would be the ultimate experience!

Jasmin Saarijärvi, from Skylines Blog (Finland) says: 

I love different cultures and especially travelling. I would like to have the chance to see the world and write about my experiences to other people. This kind of exchange could be an eye-opening to me and I could open other people’s eyes to the world. I’m spontaneous and love to meet new people and get new stories to tell.

Bruna Passos Amaral, from Partiu intercâmbio (Brazil) says: 

Experience is nothing if you don’t share it. That is why I write about studying abroad and travel. Many people want to do it but have no idea where to start, so in this blog we exchange ideas and thoughts to help each other see that is never too late to start make your dreams come true. And I want to spread these words as far as they can go, so that everyone believes that nothing is impossible if you are bold enough to learn and change.

The BBE Has Been Spotted On YOUR Blog!

We love reading all of your inspiring, creative and amazing posts about the Big Blog Exchange, and why you think people should vote for you. We could have never imagined to have so many fantastic bloggers on board and we are so excited for the exchange phase!

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So, to thank you – we’d like to share some of our favourite blog posts that we spotted on your blogs from the last few weeks!

Have you posted about the Big Blog Exchange? Let us know and you could be featured next time! 

 

Promote Your BBE Entry With Local Media!

Earlier this month, we wrote a blog post regarding the different ways you could promote your entry – and in turn, hopefully increase your votes. We have had an overwhelming number of bloggers letting us know how they have been promoting their entry – but we wanted to share one we spotted recently with you. Glen Shorey from Adventures of Wheelchair Boy blog, wrote to his local newspaper in a bid to increase his votes and travel for the first time. We think it is great that he has involved his local media platform, don’t you?

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How have you been promoting your entry? Have you set up a giveaway? Or have you made posters to give to friends and family? Or have you just used social networking sites? Let us know! 

Bloggers Events!

The blogging community is one of the largest in the world, with over 170 million blogs on the internet at this current moment. So, it’s no wonder that brands, companies and venues are jumping on board and inviting bloggers to specific blogger events – where you can meet other like-minded bloggers.

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It’s a shame we can’t host one huge Big Blog Exchange event for all 850 of you (maybe next year) but we did want to ask whether you are a regular at any bloggers events around the globe? If you are a beauty blogger, do you regularly meet other beauty lovers at blogger events? If you are a travel blogger, have you been on any trips or visited any conferences where you have met other bloggers?

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And, if you could organize a blogger event of your very own – what would you do? Where would you host it and what activities would you host? 

Tips For Travelling!

Not only does the Big Blog Exchange offer 16 lucky bloggers the opportunity to swap countries for 10 days, but it has also created a huge (800+) blogging community, who we imagine altogether have a wealth of knowledge about travel.

So, in order to really make the most of this fantastic community – we wanted to ask you today to share your best travel tips? Where would you recommend other bloggers visit? What are the top 5 things a blogger/traveler should take on their trip? What should they avoid? What are your favourite travel tips?

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We can’t wait to hear what you come up with! 

Your Feedback!

We have been so pleased to hear from several bloggers, that just by participating in the competition and entering their blog into the exchange, they have already seen an increase in their international readership! With over 850 bloggers signed up and regularly accessing the site, we have a fantastic online promotional platform for bloggers to discover their new favourite blogs.

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What do you think? Have you discovered any new bloggers – or have you gained any new international readers? 

 

What blog-inspires You?

We wanted to set you all another small challenge today, to get your creative brains thinking! As each of the 16 bloggers will be travelling to their exchange countries on the same day, they are going to be asked to write a small guide for their exchange partner  letting them know what they would recommend in their country, what traditions are common and which areas/landmarks they should explore.

This personal guide, can (if the blogger so wishes) be posted on their own blog, however we will hopefully be sharing these guides on here too once the exchange is running.

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In preparation for this, we wanted to ask you – if you had to write a guide for a blogger who was visiting your country, what would you include? Are there any traditions or landmarks in your area that you think any blogger/visitor simply shouldn’t miss?

Let us know in the comment box below! We can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

Motivations We Love #20

Can you believe we are at day 20 of the Big Blog Exchange already? We’re nearly halfway through and we are still really enjoying reading all of your fantastic motivations and inspirations for joining the Big Blog Exchange. Votes are rapidly increasing and soon enough, it will be time for the 10 day exchange itself!

Maerie, from 1000 kilometres blog (Germany) says: 

They say home is where your heart is, and nothing brings more truth to that statement than a life of travel. I am an eighteen year old girl, I am a ballerina, a runner, a cyclist, a photographer, a traveller, a little sister, that’s basically who I am. Sometimes I am creative, I’ve got about one million ideas in my head, good ones, bad ones, weird ones – better than none, however. As every journey begins in one’s own head, I would love to share my experiences with you and show you pictures that I took from my point of view! – Bon Voyage!

Greg Mitchell, from Ultimate Sports Talk blog (United States) says: 

My name is Greg Mitchell and I own and operate Ultimate Sports Talk. I am a former college football coach and strength & conditioning coordinator, but transitioned into Human Resources/Accounting a little over two years ago. I now work for a Fortune 500 manufacturing company, but I operate my blog on the side. I am eager to join the Big Blog Exchange because I have only been outside the country one time – on my honeymoon. I have only lived in the Midwest in Ohio, Kentucky and Iowa. I consider this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! The best part about this is that I have internet radio, video and written capabilities with my blog. I think I am able to provide exciting and entertaining content on this project and the fascinating experiences I will gain. Having not been outside the country and my everyday life but once I will definitely value this experience much more than anyone else applying for this.

Kotryna Bass, from Girl With A Movie Camera Blog (Netherlands) says: 

My blog is all about sharing the beauty of everyday and my biggest loves: photography, meeting new people, exploring new cultures and trying to figure my days as a 20 something yo. Travel have always been my biggest passion tho, it just simply makes me feel alive. I am an enthusiast of couch-surfing and random travelling as well as I just simple need to change the location from time to time. I grew up in Lithuania and moved to UK straight after graduating high school. However, you can now find me wandering around the canals of Amsterdam on my crappy blue bike, but I already feel like packing my backpack again! So I believe its pretty obvious that this chance to swap life with someone at least for 10 days will make me the happiest hunny bunny in the world!

Estee Teoh, from Got Bulat? Blog (Malaysia) says: 

Once someone told me that he is satisfied looking at the world through National Geographic. But for me, the more I watch National Geographic, the more I wanna get out there! To breathe, to touch, to feel, to see, to really embrace what the world has for us. You will never know what is really out there unless you DO step out there!! 🙂

Mary Homes, from The Closet Stylist Blog (UK) says: 

Blogging motivates me to keep creativity going daily. Being creative is good for the mind and soul and blogging is a great way to express it. To be able to have the opportunity to do this from different places and culture would be an amazing experience!

Are you excited for the winners to be announced? Are you excited to watch the exchange unfold on this very blog? We know we are! 

How Do YOU Promote Your Blog?

In 2013, amidst a vast technical ages, there are hundreds (perhaps even thousands) of tools and social networking sites that bloggers use on a daily basis to promote their blogs, and even their individual posts.

So, we’re interested to hear about what you do to promote your blog? Do you just promote it to family and friends through emailing, or do you use the huge social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr to promote posts.

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We know here in the UK, that Facebook and Twitter are the most popular but we would love to know what is popular in your part of the world. We’d love the Big Blog Exchange to be live on all the world’s social networks, so we need your help! 

Happy blogging! 

Are There Any First Time Travel Bloggers?

Many of you are expressing your love for travel in your motivations, which is fantastic because of course – travel and global interaction is what this project is all about, however we wanted to ask whether any Big Blog Exchange entrants are first time travelers? Whether any of you guys have never stepped on a plane before – or whether you’ve never even left your city/town before?

And, if you have traveled before, we want to know what YOUR favourite aspect about travel is! Do you love the culture difference, meeting new people, exploring new places or simply relaxing? What do you enjoy most about travel? We can’t wait to hear what you think! 

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Motivations We Love #16

Have you been enjoying reading all the new motivations? Here are our daily favourites:

Hannah Karim, from Dainty and Ivory Blog (UK) says: 

I think everyone if given the chance should travel, it opens the mind, you learn lots of new things and meet incredible people. I would love to be given this chance as I would like to show people a way of living that may be different to their own.

Rachel Kristensen, from Meander The World Blog (Canada) says:

Pick me to live through my adventures, the good, the bad, and ‘ohh my’. I’ve been snowboarding, hiking, kayaking and biking my way to the best views all over this beautiful world and would love to continue to do just that. I’m a fresh perspective, driven by the experience and culture of my destination. I’m your everyday type of gal who just likes to enjoy once in a lifetime opportunities daily.

Gia Martinez, from Lovely Serendipity (New Zealand) says: 

I’ve been blogging since I was 13, and have been always fascinated by the idea that I’m sharing my life with people from all over the world! I have learnt about their different lifestyles (actually, I learn something new everyday) and there are so many things I wish I could experience as well. I want to visit those places that mean so much to my blog friends. I want to dine in at those restaurants that they love so much. I want to take photos on such beautiful places that will give me a lot of memories. Most importantly, I also want other bloggers to experience life here in New Zealand. It’s a very beautiful country and I am certain that any blogger would love it here. I have been taking photos and typing about the wonders and beauty of New Zealand, it’s time for someone to experience it as well.

Tin Iglesias, from Fashion Ate The World Blog (Philipines) says: 

The meaning of travel for me lies in visiting places that others call home that I may understand my own, meeting other people that I may understand myself, and seeing how big the world is that I may understand how small it can also be. This is why I love to travel and share my experiences through blogging – to have a constant reminder that in a world of paradoxes, we are all really just one.

Ash Clark, The Most Alive Blog (Australia) says: 

The Core Message of TheMostAlive.com is breaking the ‘normal’ of society where we get too busy for our lives. The purpose of this blog is to encourage people to get amongst this world we live in and discover places and cultures significantly different from the ones they have grown up in themselves. in doing this myself, I have found that these differences are actually more powerful at pulling our humanity closer together more than driving us apart… My motivation to be apart of the Big Blog Exchange is to champion the cause of this message into wider streams that I may not have been able to accomplish on my own.

 

Motivations We Love #15

We thoroughly enjoy coming into work every morning and reading all the new motivations from all the new entries, so here is our daily favourites:

Camie Juan, from Wild – Spirit Blog (Philippines) says: 

It has always been my dream to be able to travel the world for the sole purpose of learning about all the different cultures that this world has to offer. There’s so much history, so much to soak up. So often, we revolve around our own little world, and that’s it. I want to be able to experience what it’s like to live in someone else’s shoes for a day, to understand their lives, to walk the paths they walk, to live their lives the way they do. I believe the Big Blog Exchange is the perfect way to catapult me into an amazing experience such as this, and to be able to share everything I’ve learned to the world about the world through the means of my blog. This is the beginning of me becoming a citizen of the world.

Lisa Imogen Eldridge, from Girl About The Globe Blog (UK) says:

To be given the opportunity to swop lives with another blogger would simply be AMAZING! From one day to the next, I have no idea where I’m going to be or where my life will take me. One minute I’m in Budapest dancing to La Ketchup song with Pedro from Brazil, the next I’m having a beer with a load of travel bloggers in a pub in Angel. Impulsive? definitely. Love meeting people? yes please. I love the unknown and thrive on new places, preferring to learn about the people and the culture when I arrive. What makes me different is my ability to mix with absolutely everyone from a Masai in Kenya to a Turkish Ambassador in Mongolia, I’ve met some amazing people along my adventures and I never stop learning. I’m danced with a witchdoctor, spent the weekend the monk and taught the Cha Cha Slide to Buddhist nuns, I take whatever opportunity comes my way and embrace it. So, if I am lucky enough to swop my life with another blogger, I may love it so much that I may not want to come back…

Yetunde Dada, from Drop Your Drink blog (South Africa) says: 

Writing was a passion that I killed with my dreams to become an engineer. I was told that there was no future for me in writing. My blog, Drop Your Drink, is my way of carving three dreams for myself. It might appear greedy but I am an engineer, a photographer and a writer. I have traveled to many places but I have only recently done so as a blogger. Travel is embedded in my blog because I want to open your eyes to special corners all over the world dedicated to art, people and nightlife. I would like to be 1 of the 16 bloggers because I haven’t given up on absurd ideas about changing the world and reaching many, I’ve just found ways to work my way there.

Sherrie Pui Sinn Yung, from Cutebun Blog (Malaysia) says: 

My biggest motivation are comments from my blog readers after they read my blog post. In order to create an interesting blog post, I need to do some exploring while traveling and taking photographs. Sharing my experience either traveling,eating or exploring using my blog in words and photos. To be able to travel to another country and literally exchanging lives, blogs and cultures with another b logger would be a once in a lifetime experience. The possibility are endless with rich cultures from other side of the world and that would enrich my life experience hence would improve my writing and perspectives. I deserve to win this life changing trip because it will be my biggest motivation.

Febry Fawzi, from Trip to Trip blog (Indonesia) says: 

Blogging gave me alot of motivation to improve my skill. Not only in writing but also in photography, lay-outing, and manage the blog itself. By joining this competition, I hope it pushing me more and more to improve my skill and also to find others that inspire me.

** Do you enjoy reading through other bloggers motivations? Do you have any favourites?

How Would You Record Your BBE Adventure?

The sixteen lucky winners are certainly going to have a fantastic adventure, travelling to a country they’ve (perhaps) never been before, immersing themselves in local traditions, whilst blogging live from their exchange destination. They are definitely going to have LOTS to blog about, that’s for sure.

However, we wanted to ask you – if you were chosen as one of the sixteen bloggers, how would YOU record/blog about your trip? Would you take lots of pictures and give captions. Would you write a daily summary? Would you do a daily video diary?

What would you do to best capture the memories of your ten day trip?

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Motivations We Love #14

Have you been reading through all the blogger’s motivations? If not, here is a little selection of our daily favourites for you to browse through:

Jenna Davis, from Making 21 Count Blog (Canada) says: 

Over the course of 2012/2013 I have been traveling to various different countries including Peru, South Africa, USA, Thailand, Nunavut Canada, Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Cambodia and many more. I am only 21 but I have big dreams to begin my own apparel line to support local schools in South Africa and Lima, Peru. Throughout my travels I have gained significant inspiration to push myself and my company in the right direction. Currently, I have completed all of the marketing, business and financial plans along with the product information, logos and websites. Currently, I am in Thailand meeting with manufacturers and graphic designers to get this business on its way. Each destination I have visited has given me a new idea and a new appreciation for certain world issues. I am looking to gain more of an understanding about travel and world culture to officially kick this business off and I would love the opportunity to join the Big Blog Exchange! Check out my current travel blog and my past experience blogging in South Africa for Hostelling International at http://www.jennadavis32.tumblr.com 🙂

Kirsten Alana, from Aviators & a Camera Blog (US) says: 

Blogging has been the thing that changed my life the most in the last decade. It’s what brought a sense of purpose and motivation back into my life and its allowed me to see so much of the world that I may not otherwise have experienced. Why not take a risk and shake that up a little? I love meeting new people, trying new things and visiting places I’ve never been. This opportunity includes all of those things plus it gives me the chance to inject new life into the blog for a while during the swap!

Rachel Zammit, from Internally Defined Blog (Canada) says: 

Originally I started this blog just as a way to express myself, however through the months I have had it I’ve learned so many new things. Through blogs you get to see the world through another persons eyes. The opportunity to actually experience another persons world is indescribable, this takes “putting yourself in someone else’s shoes” literally.

Nova from Glitter & Doom Blog (Canada) says: 

I turned thirty this year and wanted to go someplace amazing for my birthday. I was hoping to experience something new and have a bit of an adventure. Unfortunately due to a hefty student loan debt and other fiscal responsibilities I haven’t yet had the opportunity to leave North America. And now this competition has come up, I have to enter. There’s no way I could pass up an opportunity like this! I feel that blogging over the past few years has changed the way I experience the world. I love telling stories to my readers, sharing photos and having the ability to look back on all the good and bad times I’ve had in an instant. I think that traveling and blogging sounds like a really fun time. I would put my all into every post if I’m selected. My blog isn’t one of the ‘popular’ ones but I’m still going to cross my fingers and hope I get a few votes! 🙂 Underdogs rule. In addition, Victoria is a very beautiful city on Vancouver Island, Canada. It would make an awesome destination for another blogger to visit. There are rainforests and beaches, there are hipsters and hippies, and in the summertime it’s really a lovely city to be in.

Jess Lee, from I’m Living In A Box Blog (Malaysia) says: 

I’m living in a box, I’m jumping out to see the world! That’s how I felt about my life, I want to see the world, meet the people, exchange stories and share about it in my blog! I’m passionate in travelling and to me that’s my life. I love meeting people and learning the story behind each smile that greet me. Seeing different cultures gives me inspiration in life which leads me to blog about it. I have been actively travelling for the past few year and each backpacking trip gives me different memories. Each beautiful smile that I received is stored in my memory. And I wish I could be a part of the Big Blog Exchange program and share my smile & story to other travellers. I am going to introduced my home country Malaysia to them, I have to introduced them our Petronas Twin Towers which is tallest twin towers in world and Durian which is the King of fruit. I sure got plenty of story to share and I cant wait that! And I hope to blog and share with the world what I about to experience! My motto in life is To Love is to Share!

Anja Schuetz, from Be YOU. Be HAPPY. Be of SERVICE blog (Germany) says: 

My dream – for decades – has been to spend some time in Namibia. So I’m hoping that a Namibian blogger will sign up here, so we can exchange lives! 🙂 I totally believe in magic and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if this miracle would actually happen. On the other hand, I am fascinated by any culture that is different from mine. We spend half of our lives unconscious, going through our daily routines, wondering why nothing exciting happens anymore. When we are thrown into a different culture, we have no choice but to open our eyes again in wonder, to pay attention, to learn how things work and how people behave and connect there. Being exposed to a different culture changes us positively. It allows us to reflect, to look at ourselves with different eyes, to question certain behaviors and limiting beliefs. It inspires us to pick the best things from this new culture and try and incorporate them into our own lives, see how they fit. it helps us grow: we come back home more alive, with shinier eyes, with lots of stories to share, with lots more confidence resulting from the adventures we had and the challenges we’ve overcome, with more appreciation for what we have and with re-ignited inspiration to change our lives for the better. We also come back just that little bit more conscious. We bring back some of the wonder and possibly start seeing the magic in our supposedly ordinary lives again. And if we don’t have the chance to go and immerse ourselves into a different culture, we may look for vivid stories online. I want to be the one who write those stories.

We Travel Countries Blog (New Zealand) says: 

Why would having children mean the end of backpacking? My wife and I are passionate travelers and were keen to pass that travelers spirit down to our young children and what better way to do that then to travel the world with them. Originally from New Zealand we have traveled much of Europe and have taken our kids to Tonga and Australia, next stop South East Asia for 6 months. We want to share our family travelling culture with everyone, the ups and downs the possibilities and perspectives, thus wetravelcountries.com ( our 3rd child) was born. Join us on our journey and maybe we can inspire you to do the same.

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ

Who can enter?

Anyone can enter The Big Blog Exchange, the only thing you need is your own blog. All genres of bloggers are welcome, in any language, in any country.

Do I have to create a blog within bigblogexchange.org website?

No, you just need to add a link to your blog URL.

Is the competition free to enter?

Yes, the competition is completely free to enter. You have nothing to lose!

Can I submit more than one entry?

One entry, per blog, per person is accepted. Multiple entries will not be counted.

Which languages are accepted?

All languages are accepted. Whatever language you blog in, you are welcome to enter. Our site can be translated (using the Google translate tool provided) into your own language if you do not blog in English.

What is the difference between Nationality and Country of Residence in the registration form?

Nationality corresponds to the country you “represent” in the competition. This is the country your exchange blogger will travel to and the country that will be shown in the list of participants.

How will my entry be judged?

The majority of the competition relies on readers votes, so make sure once your profile is set up – you encourage your family, friends and readers to vote for you by writing on your blog or your social media networks. On the 15th April, the 100 top voted bloggers from around the globe will be judged by an international jury. However, two bloggers will be chosen to take part based on their content, regardless of votes. These will be the ‘wildcard’ choices.

I don’t have my own blog, can I still take part?

If you are interested in the project, but don’t yet have your own blog, you are welcome to create a brand new blog exclusively for use of the project, as we welcome small blogs, big blogs, with any sized readership. Or, you may get involved with the project as a reader – voting for and promoting your favourite bloggers, before then watching the project unfold!

I am under 18, can I still take part?

If you are under eighteen, you are welcome to still be involved with the project as a reader, voting, encouraging and promoting your favourite bloggers, however for legal reasons, we are unable to let you travel on the exchange this time around.

What does the prize include?

The final sixteen lucky selected bloggers will be exchanging places with another blogger from across the world. HI (and the rest of the world) will be following each of the bloggers journeys, as they explore their exchange destination, immersing themselves in local culture. Flights, accommodation and a daily allowance will be provided for the duration of your stay.

If I am selected, what will I be doing during the ten day exchange?

Once we have the final 16, and have announced where you will be jetting off to, we will be able to start planning an itinerary and activities for you, based on each specific blogger undergoing the exchange. We have National Associations in over 90 countries, so we will have international representatives in your exchange destinations who will act as a guide or a mentor throughout your stay. We will try and tailor each itinerary to the blogger, so if you are a fashion blogger, with a keen eye for design – we will try to make sure you have the chance to see and experience what fashion means to the people in your exchange destination.

Can the deadline be extended?

No, entries and voting will close after the 15th April. So make sure you get your entries and votes in plenty of time.

What if I am selected but unable to take part in the exchange?

By entering the competition and accepting the terms and conditions, you confirm that you are available from the 7th June 2013 – 17th June 2013 to take part in the exchange. If a last minute emergency prevents you from undergoing the project, a replacement will be found. Unfortunately, due to the nature of this project, we cannot change or alter the dates to meet specific bloggers requirements.

Am I literally swapping ‘lives’ with another blogger? Will my family have to host the blogger that I exchange with?

You will be swapping countries with the blogger you are paired with, but you won’t literally be swapping ‘lives’, so no homes, cars or families will need to be exchanged. You will only be swapping destinations with the blogger, and will travel around the exchange country, staying in our accommodation, with a planned itinerary and where necessary, a HI representative.

So, I’ve entered, how do I get people to vote for me?

Once you have entered your blog in the competition, we are sure you are going to want to start getting as many people to vote for you as possible. Some ideas you could do to promote your blog and start getting your votes up is to write a blog post to your readers, letting them know about the project, your inspiration and why you want them to vote for you. Readers will be able to vote for you on this site, so make sure they know where to go to vote. You could also spread the word about your profile on Twitter, Facebook, Google + or other social networking sites. Similarly, you could always write to your local paper, magazine or other blogs, promoting your part in the competition.

What is a “wildcard”?

The two wildcard choices will be chosen to undertake the project based purely on their written content/video content, rather than on votes. This ensures that the project is accessible to all and does not rely purely on popularity.

What is the “Top 100”?

The “Top 100” represents the top 25 bloggers from each of the four regions.

If I am one of the winners, what is required by me?

If you are lucky enough to win one of the 16 places on the exchange, you will be expected to have a passport valid for at least eight months, and if required by your exchange destination – you may need to organise any vaccinations or visas.

The 16 selected bloggers will be flown to different countries? What countries are they?

This depends completely on which bloggers we have who enter and who makes the final 16. As we are a global network with contacts in 90 countries, we are hoping to attract bloggers from all over the world, so although a specific destination isn’t guaranteed, you can be sure it will be somewhere exciting. If you have a favourite blogger you would like to nominate, please feel free to email us and let us know.

If you have any further questions, please email TBBE@hihostels.com with your query.

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Motivations We Love #13

Our daily pick of BBE Motivations:

Andriana Suhardjono, from Keluarga Pak Hussain (Indonesia) says: 

I’m a mother with 2 kids, who devoted my everyday life for my family. I started a free-class for poor kids around my area, to learn more than what they learn in school. I invite many people to volunteer to teach in class any field-of-study they like, such as writing, drawing, music, making comic, etc. I believe that being smart alone won’t make you survive the future life. I want to give them as big opportunity as I can to kids who are unfortunate. My true passion, however is writing and traveling. I have the ability to convey emotion in my writing. I can make readers feel what i feel and see what i see. If im given the opportunity to travel to a place i never been, and live a life i’ve never lived, i would give all my ability to share it to the world through my writing. Especially for all my 48 students that I care so much. Thanks

Angelo van Dyk, from High Tops and Harris Tweed Blog (South Africa) says: 

I believe my outgoing, fun-loving and adventurous nature makes me the perfect candidate to take the road less travelled, and in doing so, make all the difference to this world of ours that needs a helping hand…

Kendrick Ng Tiong Heng, from Kendylife! (Malaysia) says: 

It’s my passion to experience life in a different level! The world is full of interesting people, culture and places, so…why not? As a comic blogger and an enthusiastic lifestyle photographer from a small but unique country Malaysia, getting to know many people would be a privilege and I believe, will be super fun! Can’t wait to meet everyone from all corners of the world!

Lonely Reload, from A Growing Teenager Diary (Malaysia) says: 

Well, I am just a growing teenager who still exploring the world~ i think a tofu can describe my personality. i just can express myself through blogging everyday in Malaysia. If i have the opportunity to travel, i would share my experience with my fellow reader on continuously 10 days basic.

Cristina Castejón, from Toque de Estilo (Spain) says: 

I would love the opportunity to travel to another place in the world to learn new cultures, inspire, share my experiences, to know how is to have a blog in another country, fashion is different in each place. I would use this opportunity so much because that is something that only happens once in a lifetime.

 

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