The epilogues are in!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good luck.

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

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

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

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Blogger epilogues!

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

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

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

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

The conversation is still going! #bigblogx 

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The Big Blog Exchange journey 2014.

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

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

When we first opened the competition back in July, hundreds of passionate, committed and talented bloggers signed themselves up to the chance of winning a once in a lifetime adventure. The voting phase saw the birth and growth of an inspiring, strong and supportive blogging community – helping each other out along the way and making friendships as the competition progressed. We had our wonderful 100 finalists, and on the 16 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 the countries 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 it’s beauty from their perspective – and the results were stunning. Every photo was unique and diverse, but our winner was Jono, travelling from Australia to Slovenia – for his wonderful photo of Bohinj Lake!

Jono - Bohinj Lake.

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

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

Manuel, Coffee Shark at Coffee Bay, SA

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

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

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

Day 1 – Halloween!

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

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

 Day 2 – 1st November!

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

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

Day 3 – 2nd November!

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

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

Day 4 – 3rd November

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

1517346_367183753460342_1392472620_n Exif_JPEG_PICTURE vincenza 10735554_741289379283684_2052214636_n TARALYNN LYON 927353_1505409233043900_1817265493_n 10755764_359340594237231_561608285_n surf tumblr_negz3ey05Y1rvynzxo2_1280 challenge jono     IMG_3098       capture2

 

Day 5 – 4th November

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

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

 

Day 6 – 5th November!

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

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

 

Day 7 – 6th November!

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

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

Day 8 – 7th November!

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

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

 

Day 9 – 8th November!

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

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

Day 10 – 9th November!

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

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

What an adventure it’s been!

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

Challenge 5 – Best video interview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Logan, Canada to India – Interview with YHAI staff

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

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

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

English translation:

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

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

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

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Challenge 4 – Favourite hostel photo

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

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

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

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

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

Ainoha, Brazil to Ireland – Knockree hostel

Ainoha, Knockree hostel Ireland

Belen, Argentina to Malaysia – Wira Kuala Lumpur hostel

Belen Wira Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

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

Jono, Slovenia, Hostel Tresor

Kitty, Hong Kong to the UK – Bath hostel

Kitty, UK - YHA Bath

Logan, Canada to India – Delhi hostel

Logan, Delhi hostel

Lucie, France to the USA – Baltimore hostel

Lucie - USA, Baltimore hostel

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

Manuel, Coffee Shark at Coffee Bay, SA

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

Marcela - Mayflower Inn Cebu City

Nina, Slovenia to Australia – Sydney Harbor Bridge hostel

Nina, Australia - Sydney Harbour hostel view

Purujeet, India to Canada – Whistler hostel

Purujeet, Canada - HI Whistler

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

Roy - The Hat, Madrid and Alfonso winner

Ruth, UK to Hong Kong – Mei Ho House hostel

Ruth - Mei Ho House HK

Stephanie, Ireland to Brazil – F Design Hostel, Salvador

Stephanie, Brazil, hostel F design salvador

Taralynn, USA to France – Yves Robert hostel, Paris

Taralynn, France, Paris Yves Robert

Tessa, Philippines to Italy – Ostello Villa Camerata hostel

Tessa - Ostello Villa Camerata Italy

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

Exif_JPEG_PICTURE

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

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

Manuel, Coffee Shark at Coffee Bay, SA

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

The conversation is still going #bigblogx

Day 10 – BBE daily summary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

10755876_794657913906861_784530866_n Street performers in Amiens travelling

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

Elephant

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

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

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

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

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

Belen with Vincents wife and sister Penang

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

Last stop

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

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

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

Melbourne central YHA Goodbye Australia tweet with text and photo Capture

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

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

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

Manuel Cape Town

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

Last sunset in Spain

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

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

Instagram snip - survived travellign on my own Pope

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

Follow the conversation #bigblogx

 

Day 9 – BBE daily summary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hockey match

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DAY 9 SUMMARY

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

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

Table Mountain Secretos de Madrid

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

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

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

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Follow their journeys on Twitter and Instagram #bigblogx

Winners Landed

Day 8 – BBE daily summary

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

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

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

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austin texas BMX Bye san diego hello austin fff fest 1 FFF Fest goobdyee Jenga Lucie at fff lunch a ffff  wildcat

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

Lunch Rennes collage Rennes

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

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

M Montreal meal pub

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#bigblogx

Winners Landed

 

Challenge 3 – Best activity video

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ruth, UK to Hong Kong – Hong Kong trail

Manuel, Spain to South Africa – community work 

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

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

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

Tessa, Philippines to Italy – In transit

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

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

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

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

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

Purujeet, India to Canada – Hiking the Sea2Sky trail

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

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

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

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Day 7 – BBE daily summary

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

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

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

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

Taking on Tarlynn's dare, video saved.

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

10802528_1575141709373409_1107859407_n Baguette Blog - goodbye Marseille Breakfast before Rennes Bye Marseille Goodbye, Marseille Hello, Rennes Marseille, France Rennes treats

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

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drive to hostel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Ljubljana street Ljubljana sign Apple story, Ljubljana

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

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

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

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

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

Cape Town

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

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Streets of Pamplona

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

Bohol beaches

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

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Our bloggers are currently out exploring their exchange countries on day 8 of their exchanges, taking more beautiful photographs, learning more about the diverse cultures, and of course sharing their insights with all of the readers. We’ll be giving you a full update tomorrow on what they’ve been up to today, for now, follow them live on Twitter. #bigblogx

Winners Landed

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

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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.

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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.

goodbye sydney

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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 4 – BBE daily summary

Monday 3rd November was the fourth full day of our bloggers 10 day cultural exchanges. We can hardly believe that the exchanges are almost half way through, it seems like only yesterday we announced our fantastic 16 winning bloggers to the world, and now here they are half way through the experience of a lifetime. We’ve been giving you daily updates on the blog about what they have all been up to in their 16 exchange countries, and what an adventure it’s been so far. Their fourth day involved wine tasting, visits to Abbey Road crossing, rainy open top buses, crazy street art and a load of other amazing experiences..

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! Yesterday Lucie took on her first domestic flight in the states, and flew from Baltimore -Phoenix – San Diego! She’s currently in the fantastic city of San Diego. Lucie touched down in San Diego, she made her way to our San Diego hostel and sunk into the hugely inviting and comfortable pillows in her dorm, before looking out of her window and appreciating the incredible view. She took a walk around the city and commented on the sunny warm Californian vibes before heading back to those irresistible pillows for some much needed rest.
Follow Lucies journey on Taralynns blog.

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Capture DAY 5 LUCIE HI SAN DIEGO Trees in san diego Unconditional surrendur statue View from SD hostel

Taralynn, USA to France! Yesterday Taralynn made her way over to Lyon, and naturally she fell in love with it instantly. She played the true tourist by taking on an open roof bus tour, it poured with rain the entire time, but she had a rain mack and the entire bus to herself – so she had a great day!
Follow Taralynns journey on Lucies blog.

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Logan, Canada to India! Yesterday Logan left Agra and made his way over to our hostel in Jaipur, he was greeted by the staff and can’t wait to head off on some sightseeing! He’s written a post about his time in Agra and his visit to the Taj Mahal on his blog.
Follow Logans journey on Purujeets blog.

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Purujeet, India to Canada! Yesterday Purujeet spent the morning exploring Whistler a little further, before heading over to Vancouver to spend the night in our Vancouver Downtown hostel. He will be exploring Vancouver more tomorrow and we’ll see how he got on their in tomorrows summary!
Follow Purujeets journey on Logans blog.

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Vincent, Malaysia to Argentina! Yesterday Vincent headed over to a vineyard and winery in Mendoza! 100 hiccups later, he packed his bag and set off on one of the more challenging legs of his bigblogx journey, a 16 hour bus ride from Mendoza to Bariloche! We’ll see his thoughts on the experience tomorrow, alongside some stunning scenic shots we’re sure.
Follow Vincents journey on Belens blog.

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Belen, Argentina to Malaysia! Belen made her way over to Melaka yesterday, and visited Cheng Hoon Teng Temple – Malaysia’s oldest temple. She also saw some unique cat related street art!
Follow Belens journey on Vincents blog.

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Ainoha, Brazil to Ireland! Yesterday, Ainoha put together a video yesterday of her journey to Ireland and her footsteps so far, watch it here.
Follow Ainohas journey on Stephanies blog.

Stephanie, Ireland to Brazil! Stephanie spent her fourth day in vibrant Brazil in the stunning area of Praia do Forte, grabbed some ice cream and challenged some locals to a game of Dominos! She stayed in our hostel and caught up on some blogging, oh and took on our customise your T-Shirt challenge!
Follow Stephanies journey on Ainohas blog.

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Jono, Australia to Slovenia! Yesterday Jonos plan included three meals, in three different countries – Slovenia, Hungary and Croatia. One of the beautiful advantages of Slovenias location. He met some local fisherman and completed his exchange partner Ninas dare!
Follow Jonos journey on Ninas blog.

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Nina, Slovenia to Australia! Yesterday Nina was recovering from her incredible day at the Blue Mountains. She explored China town and stayed at our Sydney Central YHA hostel!
Follow Ninas journey on Jonos blog.

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Kitty, Hong Kong to the UK! Yesterday Kitty spent the day with the team behind the project in London! Jade-Marie, the BBE assistant, picked Kitty up from our St Pancras hostel in the morning, and Kitty was there in the lounge waiting for her with a bag of fantastic gifts from YHA Mei Ho House, YHA Hong Kong – Jockey Club Mt. Davis, and herself! Firstly, Jade took Kitty to see the famous Platform 9 3/4 in Kings Cross station, where they had some cheesy wizard photo’s taken and wandered around the Harry Potter shop. Jade wanted to show Kitty the quirky area of Camden, so they took a walk around the markets and lock. After this, they headed over to Southbank so that Kitty could see the Iconic Big Ben and London Eye! Next they made their way over to the famous Leicester Square and spent way too much time wandering around M&M World. Then of course, in typical British style, it started to rain. They ran into a little Italian place to hide and grab some lunch, chatted about the project, had some wine and some pasta, then once it had stopped raining – they made their way to St John’s Wood. With both Kitty and Jade being huge Beatles fans, they had already taken photo’s of Kitty at two fake Abbey Road crossings that day, it only seemed right to take one at the real thing! Plus, this was the last thing that Kitty needed to tick off her London bucket list. In the afternoon they headed to a typical British cafe in North London, had some coconut hot chocolate, coffee and some very sickly but beautiful cakes – before heading back to Kings Cross to say goodbye. Kitty said London was exactly how she thought it would be, she loves it and she’s so happy that the Big Blog Exchange gave her the opportunity to travel here. She spoke highly of the project and she can’t wait to see how the rest of the UK contrasts with the capital.They had a great day, and today Kitty is off to her next stop – Bristol!
Follow Kittys journey on Ruths blog.

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Ruth, UK to Hong Kong! Ruth ticked two things off her bucket list on her fourth day – the Big Buddha and Pink Dolphins! She’s been making these fantastic daily photo collages, summing up each unforgettable day beautifully.
Follow Ruths journey on Kittys blog.

DAY 4 RUTH

Manuel, Spain to South Africa! Manuel said goodbye to Coffee Bay yesterday with a heavy heart, and made his way over to Cape Town! We can’t wait to see what he gets up to there.
Follow Manuels journey on Roys blog.

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Roy, South Africa to Spain! Roy has been exploring the beautiful Bilbao further,and falling further and further in love with it’s culture, it’s architecture and it’s vibe – just look at these incredible shots he took yesterday!
Follow Roys journey on Manuels blog.

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Marcela, Italy to Philippines!  Marcela visited the stunning Mactan Island and Oslob! She’s now off to Bohol, with things such as the iconic Chocolate Hills on her itinerary – and we’ll see what she thinks of Bohol tomorrow.
Follow Marcelas journey on Tessas blog.

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Tessa, Philippines to Italy! Tessa has visited Burano and Vicenza! Next stop – Florence!
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 5th 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 both on there and on their social media accounts. It’s currently day 5 of our 10 day digital trip around the world – but there is so much left to come!

Winners Landed

Challenge 1 – Best hostel breakfast photo

If you are a regular follower of the blog, you will remember that we set our bloggers a string of challenges to complete in the build up to their exchanges. We had the Local Lingo Challenge, in which we asked our bloggers to provide their exchange partner with a country survival guide, the blogger bucket lists and the dare your exchange partner challenge. We thought why not continue to set them challenges to complete throughout their adventures, and now, we have the results of challenge number 1!

We asked our bloggers to take a photo of their favorite HI breakfast so far, all photo’s were taken in the HI hostels they are staying in in their host countries!

Belen, hostel breakfast in Malaysia.

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Ainoha, hostel breakfast in Ireland.

INOHA

Kitty, hostel breakfast in England.

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Logan, hostel breakfast in India.

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Lucie, hostel breakfast in the USA.

LUCIE USA

Manuel, hostel, breakfast in South Africa.

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Nina, hostel breakfast in Australia.

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Purujeet, hostel breakfast in Canada.

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Ruth, hostel breakfast in Hong Kong.

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Stephanie, hostel breakfast in Brazil.

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Vincent, hostel breakfast in Argentina.

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Well the team at HI have looked over all of these pictures, gotten pretty hungry, and eventually decided on a winner.

Aaaaaaand the winner is… KITTY IN THE UK!

Her breakfast from our St Pancras hostel looked amazing, and we loved the creativity!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

boat ride in putrajaya dinner with erica dinner Durian food from vincent MALAY WEDDING MASJID PUTRA view from putrajaya convention centre

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.

jono tweet Kangaroo pizza Sydney shot weather in sydney

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.

Ruth - day 2 in hong kong photo mash

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. 

barra Christo Redentor bucket list

 

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

JONO

 

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.

Capture south africa

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.

museum MADRID

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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Phillipines street

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Tessa, Philippines to Italy! Tessa has been painting some beautiful things about her BBE adventure. She landed and made her way to Piero Rotta.
Follow Tessas journey on Marcelas blog.

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TESSA HERCULES PAINTING FINAL

Our bloggers have now all settled into their exchange countries, got their bearings and had a glimpse into the culture, but there is so much more to come. Every single blogger has been put on an incredible itinerary – and we can’t wait to follow their individual adventures over the next 9 days to see what they get up to!

Remember, although our bloggers will be posting on their exchange partners blogs for the duration of the exchange – they will be blogging live throughout each and every experience on their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts too. Search the #bigblogx tag to follow the journeys, and click on the blog links above to read their articles.

Are you ready for a digital trip around the world? #bigblogx

Winners Landed

The exchanges are in full swing!

The day is finally here – the Big Blog Exchange competition has officially kicked off, and today marks the beginning of 16 diverse 10 day adventures!

Over the last few days our bloggers have been travelling across the globe. We’ve had a lot of plane journeys, a tuk tuk journey, some lost luggage, a storm, some delays and some missed connections (all part of the real travel experience though, right?) but despite all of this, they have all touched down safe and sound in their host countries.

If you are just tuning into the Big Blog Exchange journey, you can catch yourself up by clicking here. Yesterday we posted a bunch of photo’s direct from our bloggers journeys, from the packing, to the waiting to the boarding.

Now, they have all landed, have had some sleep, and are currently kicking off their cultural exchange adventures in India, Canada, the United States, France, Spain, South Africa, Argentina, Malaysia, Brazil, Ireland, Australia, Slovenia, the UK, Hong Kong, Italy and the Philippines.

Over the next 10 days you can get your daily dose of BBE adventure right here on the blog. We will be posting a daily summary, keeping you updated on everything our 16 bloggers have been getting up to in their exchange countries the day before. As well as the results of some small challenges we have set them to complete during their exchanges!

You can follow the buzzing Big Blog Exchange conversation and the bloggers journeys on Twitter by clicking here. #bigblogx

You can also follow the bloggers individual journeys on their blogs, remember they have swapped over and will be posting on their exchange partners blogs for the duration of the exchanges!

A majority of their journeys can be found on their individual Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts linked to their blogs.

Logan in India, on Purujeets blog!

Purujeet in Canada, on Logans blog!

Lucie in the USA, on Taralynns blog!

Taralynn in France, on Lucies blog!

Manuel in South Africa, on Roy’s blog!

Roy in Spain, on Manuels blog!

Vincent in Argentina, on Belens blog!

Belen in Malaysia, on Vincents blog!

Stephanie in Brazil, on Ainohas blog!

Ainoha in Ireland, on Stephanies blog!

Nina in Australia, on Jonos blog!

Jono in Slovenia, on Ninas blog!

Kitty in the UK, on Ruths blog!

Ruth in Hong Kong, on Kittys blog!

Tessa in Italy, on Marcelas blog!

Marcela in the Philippines, on Tessas blog!

Tomorrow we will be letting you all know what our 16 bloggers got up to on their first day in the host countries, with it being Halloween – we’re sure we’ll see a diverse range of celebrations taking place!

For now, here is a little overview of our bloggers arriving in their exchange destinations over the last few days…

Ainoha has landed in Ireland, had breakfast with the HI Ireland team, and is making her way to her first stop – Cork!

Breakfast with Zaz and the team in Ireland - twitter text version

Her exchange partner Stephanie has touched down in Brazil, had her breakfast and is having fun in the hostel!

l, Breakfast 10724680_874586545886329_1732413655_n

 

Jono has touched down in Slovenia and met the team!

On the way to Slovenian winearies - twitter sniop Slovenia Panoramic Slovenia tweet tweet arrival in slovenia HI logo

 

His exchange partner Nina has touched down down under and is at our Sydney Harbour hostel - look at that view!

Arrived in Australia, Sydney Opera House

Logan was met at the airport with flowers by YHA India and is currently enjoying breakfast!
Purujeet his exchange partner has touched down in Canada, and is currently meeting the HI Canada team!

Logan goes to India Capture

 

Lucie has arrived at HI USA, and has met the same member of staff who helped her the last time she was there last year!

meeting staff

Taralynn has lost her luggage (oops!) and had her first French dining experience with Marie-Jeanne from France!

First french dining experience - twitter snip Motorbike in France Paris street view

 

Manuel has touched down in the stunning country of South Africa!

Capture

 

His exchange partner Roy has landed in Spain and is exploring Madrid!

blog cathedral Selected to represent!

 

Vincent has landed in Argentina and met a member of HI staff, Mercedes! 

Met in Argentina by Mercedes Frenso

 

His exchange partner Belen had her layover in Istanbul, and is now safely in Malaysia!

Capture 

Kitty has landed in London and met a member of YHA England and Wales! 

final 10729257_668611626579225_590846913_n

 

Her exchange partner Ruth has arrived in Hong Kong, and is enjoying this phenomenal view!

Afternoon tea - original photo

 

Tessa has arrived in Italy, and her exchange partner Marcela is currently in the Philippines!

Phillipines street See you soon Italy!

 

Tune in tomorrow for the beginning of the Big Blog Exchange adventures and to see how our bloggers celebrated Halloween in 16 culturally diverse countries!

#BIGBLOGX

Winners Landed