The voting process

The competition is off to a great start! So many bloggers have entered, and so many of you are following the competition and voting for your favourites.

We’ve had over 15 thousand votes go through so far which is incredible!

We would just like to take a moment to clarify the voting process to you all.

-          You can only vote for an individual blogger once

-          Bloggers CAN vote for themselves, but again only the once!

-          Once you have voted you will receive a confirmation e-mail, to the e-mail address you entered into the vote box (Just to make sure your vote is real and it is not a spammer!)

-          Once you receive the e-mail, open it and click on the confirmation link. Your vote is then officially counted! (Please make sure you check the junk box if you’re unable to see the e-mail, it could potentially go into there)

If you have any problems voting or have any queries, please e-mail us at tbbe@hihostels.com and we’ll help you as best we can!

Keep voting!

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Motivations We Love #8

Danilo Hadek, from Brazil says:

Every trip that I do, I realize that the World is too big and wonderful to be sticking in just one place. The Big Blog Exchange 2014 will be a great opportunity to meet people who share the same idea I have. Then I hope to win it for exploring further the infinite wonders of the World. I am eager to enjoy the simpler things in life that only a traveler can perceive in every destination reached.”

Stephanie Buckley, from Ireland says:

 Hello world, and the jury! My blog is a platform for my personal take on all things beauty, fashion, food, fun and travel. It’s like taking a peep through the keyhole, into my lifestyle and weekly adventures. I’d like to think, I create a positive and creative vibe for my readers and I love interacting with new people. I’m outgoing and adventurous! I think it’s safe to say I’ll try anything once and twice if I like it, lol. I’ve eaten cockroaches in Thailand, jumped from a plane in Ireland, swam with stingray in Florida, climbed a waterfall in Jamaica and zip lined 500 feet above the beaches of Labadee, Haiti. I look at these things, as ticks off my list of life experiences. This imaginary list is endless and I’m making my way through it, slowly but surely, enjoying every second along the way. My favourite thing to do is go where I’ve never been, or do what I’ve never done before. If I am a successful candidate in “The Big Blog Exchange” I’ll get some great mileage for my ticks! Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting a number of exciting adventure on my blog, they’ll get your senses going and encourage you to vote for me. The 31st of October, Halloween, my favourite time of year and the week after my birthday. What better way to celebrate turning 29 than a 10 day trip to a yet unknown destination. Providing priceless material for my blog and an opportunity of a lifetime to cherish forever. The chance to represent Ireland, not as a tourist but as a traveller and emerge myself into a new culture taking in everything the chosen destination has to offer and sharing it with the world. “Travel is one of the very things you can buy that makes you richer”, but in this case if would be a gift the best birthday gift from all the voters. Please vote for me and make it my best birthday ever! Thank you, Stephanie Buckley XX”

Isabel Val, from Spain says:

 Because Cabeza de Gallo is not the typical blog about music. I write about personal experiences that I live going to concerts in a humorous way and I think it would like to see what happen if I swap my life with someone very different to me.”

Evelin Armella, from Argentina says:

 I discovered that everytime I visit a new place i get more mature, open mind and it helps me to see the world and people with other eyes. Im not the classic tourist who goes to the classic places. I love trying new food, talking with the local people, if its posible to stay at the home of one of them i really enjoy it, i love going to the supermarket in other countries to see what its different of my place, i love using the public transport in other places. People always ask me about travelling tips, but its still plenty of places i havent visited yet, so i would love to expand my personal travel map to bring more solutions and share my adventures with others, also many people felt more confident to travel abroad aftr my advice.”

Aia Solis, from the Philippines says:

“We are meant to fully participate in life on Earth and that we are meant to share our creativity as much as we can.” This line from an article about Druidism really catches my attention. I am at the point of my life where I want to experience what it means to actually live so I can have my own definition of what life is really all about. I want to not only take a bite of the whole world, but devour it as much as I can – while I still can. I am deeply fascinated with the beauty and diversity of life and culture, with the hopes of one day, I’d get to understand everything about it. It would be an honor to be touched by other peoples lives and be immersed into their being. To share it through my lens and rolls of films would be the greatest contribution of my existence.”

 

Could you be one of this year’s WILDCARDS?

Just a reminder guys, it’s not all about the votes! 14 of the winning bloggers will be selected by an international jury mainly based on the number of votes they receive, however, for those of you who don’t receive quite as many votes – you are still in with a chance of going on a life changing exchange!

We don’t believe that the number of votes you receive is always a reflection of how strong your passion is, so two bloggers taking part in the exchange will be our lucky ‘wildcards’. These bloggers will be chosen based on their passion, motivations and blog content!

Last year saw Tina Seidling from Germany and Sophie Roberts from the UK exchanging blogs, countries and cultures for ten days as our wildcards, and two bloggers will be in the same position as them this year!

So don’t be disheartened if you’re not getting as many votes as you were hoping for, you might just be one of this year’s wildcards!

Happy blogging!

If you have any questions of queries about the wildcard process, or anything else about the project, please get in touch tbbe@hihostels.com

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Motivations We Love #7

Today’s favourites:

Linda Nilson, from Sweden says:

“ Swedish father, thai mother, born in Belgium, raised in Monaco, married to a French/Italian, lived in Italy and now expat in Bangkok … What’s next ? Born with a wanderlust fever, my blog talks of course about travelling, but also of the daily expat life – it’s challenges and it’s surprises, great restaurants and bars, the movies and books I love. Lini’s Choice is a lifestyle blog, so doesn’t focus on just one subject but on every little surprises that can happen in your life.”

Oindrila De, from India says:

 I am a vegetarian travel enthusiast who often goes it alone. Through my travel-blog, I endeavour to show the world various places through my eyes. I discovered my love for travel when I left my home-country of 20 years to stay alone in a continent I had never seen before. I write about my travel-and-food-experiences and share tips and travel-stories to help sightseers who wish to explore new trails. Essentially, I ‘eat’ (all cuisines), ‘shoot’ (pictures of all things lovely) and ‘leave’ (for new places that need exploring)! ;-) Your precious vote will help me swap blogs and countries with 1 of 15 other amazing bloggers. The best part is – BOTH YOU AND I WILL WIN as I shall write all about my experiences in the new land for all of you to explore through my lenses! :-)”

Thais Towersey, from Brazil says:

Traveling is part of my being. I’m pleased to incorporate part of new cultures to my personal baggage, creating a new way of looking at life and society. As uncontrollable traveller that I am, I want to know the whole world and share my experiences with others seeking the same dream: to be everywhere at the same time.”

Katherine Chou, from the United States says:

 I moved to France to study, but all those open borders in Europe have been a bit of a distraction. My camera and blog have seen many things on my travels – haunted cathedrals, the severed right hand of a Hungarian king, and many, many smashed French patisseries, but there’s still much more to discover. I would love to share my adventures through the Big Blog Exchange and get to know a new city, from its urban legends to its garbage pickup routine. A place is made of more than its monuments, and I’m excited to discover the people and stories ahead.”

Bahadir Elverdi, from Turkey says:

 Doing any kind of sports is the main source of happiness to me.Sharing your any experience is being a teacher to a non-experienced people.You were inspired by someone than move on and started to inspire people.Be adventurer and share your passion and experience.”

 

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It’s all about YOU!

This year the Big Blog Exchange is getting more social and more interactive! 

You’ll notice a whole host of new features you can get engaged with around the site, as well as your blogs potentially popping up here and there for everyone to see.

One new thing we have introduced this year is the Random Blogger section on the home page. Bloggers entered into the competition will pop up on this feature, with links leading you straight to their profiles, the country they are representing and their blogs. So keep an eye out for yours or your favourites.

We’ve also put an Instagram link on the homepage this year; this will let you see the latest photographs posted on Instagram by bloggers and whoever is talking about the BBE. So use the #bigblogx on your photos and you could see yours up there!

It’s all about you guys this year, you’re the heart and soul of the BBE and we couldn’t achieve anything without your support, dedication and passion.

So we thank you all, keep posting, keep tweeting and keep blogging!

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2013 Winners interview – Andy Andersen

Last year the Big Blog Exchange competition sent 16 excited bloggers from across the globe on a 10 day 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.

Andy Andersen, one of our winners in 2013, travelled from Puerto Rico to Spain on his exchange. Read his interview and see what he had to say about his BBE experience:


Full name
: Andy Andersen         

Age: 26

Blog url: http://www.backpackingdiplomacy.com

Where do you live: San Juan, Puerto Rico

Where did you visit on the BBE: Spain (España)

What were the biggest highlights of the exchange?

Aside from the wonderful treatment of all of the people affiliated with Hostelling International, I got a really unique and unprecedented opportunity to get to know Spain. I was sent to a multitude of different cities over various regions of Spain. For me it was a really amazing opportunity to see things up close with insiders teaching me about their cities. Some of my favourite memories include walking the streets of Granada overlooking Alhambra, hiking in Murcia, harvesting rice by hand in southern Catalunya, and getting to know the many beautiful places and people in Spain.

Has the BBE changed you?

The BBE was a really great experience for me. Has it changed me? It depends in which way you mean. I was really moved by many of the people that I met while in Spain, and I often say that people change you by sharing their perspectives and experiences with you, so I suppose in a way, I can say.

Did the experience change your views about travel?

My views about travel have always been the same. I live to experience the world first hand, to learn from other’s perspectives, and to try new things daily. I think that if anything, the experience reaffirmed my beliefs.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of entering?

You have nothing to lose. It can be a great life experience for you if you are chosen. Even participating in the project gives you the ability to meet and get to know a lot of interesting bloggers. Additionally, you will get some exposure for your blog and maybe attain new followers, which is never a bad thing.

Would you have done anything differently looking back?

I don’t think that I would change anything.

Sum up the BBE in three words:

Live for experience

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Could we be posting YOUR winners interview next year?

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Motivations We Love #6

Here are some of our favourites today: 

Jessica Lee, from Canada says:

“ Everyone has a purpose in life. For me, I find my purpose in telling stories through words or photography. I feel the most joy when I’m in a new city, discovering things for the first time. I started travelling over two years ago when I was frustrated with the lack of wonder in my life and am now a passionate advocate of self-discovery, development and connecting with others through travel. I want to inspire and educate by telling stories of different cultures and ways of living around the world through Big Blog Exchange and am prepared to put in hard work for this opportunity of a lifetime. Carpe Diem!”

Shreya Ghimire, from Nepal says:

 We are so busy trying to be good for others, so concern about what others may think or say about us that we tend to miss out the fact that the only person we need to please is ourself. No matter what size we are, what our skin color is , how frizzy and unmanageable how hair is we have to understand that there is no other “me” and “you” in this world and we should love ourself the most. I might not have many followers as yet but, I would like to believe that I have in my own small way made a change in my readers life and made them feel a little bit better about themselves and love them self a little bit more and with the help of this competition I believe I would be able to reach out to as many people as possible and spread the message of self love all over.”

Emma Day, from the United Kingdom says:

 I’ve blogged through twin pregnancy, through organ failure and through Thyroid Cancer. I’ve blogged through the highs and lows of family life with emotion and humour simultaneously. I’ve blogged to raise awareness of illnesses I’ve experienced, to support campaigns close to my heart and to fundraise for important causes. But most importantly, I always blog from the heart. Life is short and fragile – it’s important to live it. I want to win, because I would squeeze every ounce of fun out of those ten days in another bloggers life. I want to explore a new culture, a new way of life and see some more of the phenomenal beauty this world has to offer us.”

Julian Hatfield, from Australia says:

 Don’t Forget to Move is a collection of our past and present. As we move along the road we’ll not only be sharing our new stories, but also revisiting some of our previous ones. Much more than just the chronicles of our crazy traveling adventures, Don’t Forget to Move is a compelling argument for travel. At any age. At any point in your life. For no better reason than getting out and experiencing what the world has to offer. It is our hope that Don’t Forget to Move is exciting, humorous and most of all an inspiration to travel. To the newbies out there unsure about taking the plunge, buy that ticket and hit the road. For current travelers, utilise our articles on your journey into the unknown. And for everyone that can’t join us yet, we hope our tales are entertaining.”

Déborah bourdin, from France says:

“I am 32 years old and i still want to discover every things. I need this to make my life have a sense, to feel alive and to enjoy my “every day life”. Try everything i could. Have new experiences. See other places, other culture, other ways of life. Most of all, I love meeting people. Every people. Such of meetings that happens when you didn’t think it would. Win this challenge would be an incredible experience to me. It would be a chance and I’d lov to share it with others bloggers, with readers and so many people I could.”

 

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What if a blogger from Mars was a Big Blog Exchange winner?

A member of the BBE team had an odd dream recently: a blogger from Mars (assuming they have Wi-Fi connection and laptops up there…) was one of the lucky winners and got to exchange with a keen fashion blogger from London. The London-based blogger had a hard time getting used to the space suits, and the blogger from Mars couldn’t quite get to grips with skinny jeans and bulky necklaces, but both left the exchange with a greater understanding of worlds and cultures VERY (bit of an extreme in this case) different to their own, in a sense something we aim to inspire through the Big Blog Exchange.  

So here’s a little question for you all to ponder – if your exchange partner was from outer space, how would you suggest they go about understanding the culture of your country? What would you recommend they do during the exchange?

Comment below and let us know; it will be fun to read everybody’s responses!

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Motivations We Love #5

Here are our favourites today:

Shelly Najjar, from the United States says:

Dream big, move forward, inspire others, pass it on. My bucket list experiences have allowed me to talk with people about their dreams for their lives. The Big Blog Exchange will help me learn more about people, cultures, and what we value. I want to have open conversations and meet other people fulfilling their dreams and inspiring others to do the same. My blog focuses on sharing stories and resources to help readers accomplish things on their bucket lists and make big dreams possible.”

Gonza Vignoni, from Argentina says:

Travel has always been what I wanted to do, I believe that everyone should see the world, as travelling is the best way to learn about life. Nothing inspires me more than going places I’ve never been before, talking to people I’ve never met and finding out things I’ve never known. My blog reflects everything I think, learn, and enjoy while travelling, which I love sharing as much as I love being able to help travellers from my young experience (an experience that only grows bigger). My blog is not only travel stories, maps, pictures and tips, it’s also a place where I write some thoughts about life and how we can relate everything to travel; inspiring people is also a passion of mine.”

Elita Almeida, from India says:

“Stung by the travel bug I’ve been solo travelling in India since the past two years now making it a point to at least get out of my comfort zone now at least once every three months. And I’ve never returned disappointed. That’s what I’d want for anyone else to experience too – be touched by humanity in spite of what the newspapers scream each morning.”

Chang SunMi, from South Korea says:

“Hello! My world wide firends!^^ I live in a small country but have a long history and culture. I start my blog to travel and to know the big world that I am living and wanted to know your countries culture and history like mine! I travel to feel and learn to make my mind variety like the world we are living. My blog gives the info about where I go , sleep, eat and do things when I travel on photos and illust. Last time I couldn’t make it to the final but my dear world wide beautiful friends… this time could you share your country and travel stories with me?^^”

Lucja Leonard, from the United Kingdom says:

“Running has been my saviour, and I am now just slightly addicted…..I am in no way suggesting that everyone needs to run crazy distances, but a little bit of running in everyone’s life would definitely be a good thing. I love running, and I use running as my excuse to travel around the world to compete in interesting and challenging events. I use my blog as a tool to motivate and inspire other individuals, whether it is just to get off the couch and go for a walk or whether they end up running 300 miles through the desert! I am positive and full of life and want to share my passion with you all.”

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What’s new in 2014?

We’re making a few little changes to this year’s competition that we thought we ought to let you all know about! We’re pleased to announce that this year we’ll be opening up the competition to a few more blogging platforms. You can now enter using your Twitter, Tumblr or Instagram accounts! Whichever platform you use to tell your stories, as long as you blog, however you go about it, we want you to get involved!

You’ll notice we have a new feature on the site this year, the latest Instagram photo. As long as you pop the #bigblogx tag onto your photos, we and the rest of the BBE followers will be able to have a look at them, so get snapping and making the hard decision of which filter to use!

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Motivations We Love #4

Here are some of our favourite motivations today:

Natasha Tourabi, from France says:

When, as a teenager, I realised the power of the media I decided that I wanted to become a photo-journalist… I wanted to travel the world to get to know different areas, ways of living and more specifically peoples whose beliefs and traditions allowed them to live in harmony with and preserve their environment. Moreover, I wanted to use the power of the media to write about and show the beauty of the world, of its people and its nature and through this, raise awareness on the need and the sustainable ways to protect our environment. In the end, I took a completely different career path… Nonetheless, traveling, writing, photography and my passion for different cultures and the environment remained a big part of my life and eventually, I realised that in spite of choosing a different profession, I could still fulfill my dream through blogging. So one year ago, after many months of focusing on the meaning of sustainability and questioning my own lifestyle, I decided to launch Echos verts, a blog where I talk about green initiatives around the world and ways in which we can each “green up” our day-to-day lives. Starting this blog has been ever so enriching and inspiring, mostly because it has brought together readers from around the world who share the same passion and goals and this has given me the energy and the motivation to continue blogging to share my tips, reflections and aspirations. Regardless of where and how we live today, preserving our environment should be an essential part of our life… And while there is only one Earth, there are many ways of looking after it and its countless wonders and I hope that the Big Blog Exchange will give me an opportunity to discover new ones so that I can share more inspiring findings and stories with my readers.”

Colton Craft, from the United States says:

Those who travel are looking for something more out of life.. Something enlightening. The purpose of my blog is to help inspire and inform those on why they should travel not only to gain wisdom.. But to become a better person through soul and spirit.”

Shilpa Balakrishnan, from India says:

 I am a traveler with the thrive to explore and discover the existence. Brought up in the land of shawarma’s and shisha – Dubai, with Indian roots has only entrenched me to share tales from the best of both worlds. I believe, Travel can be a tremendous inspiration to daily affairs; It’s a hope that the universe has too many things to offer than the minuscule things that we run behind. My blog ‘The Satori Saga’ is not only about my Self- Discovery, its the voice of faith imparted to everybody who reads them, to convey that “If I can do it, So can you” and “if my lust to see places comforts me to get through a rough day, then so can it influence you”. The blog is a home to inspire all the wanderers, artists and all those who want to be one of us because the world is an outright democratic neighborhood and we deserve it.”

Anna Beatriz Cipriano Jacinto, from Brazil says:

One day, I realized that life deserves much more from us, that our neighbor needs a smile and that we deserve to be happy. Living in this place called Earth is a privilege and living our life complaining is a waste. AnnaBeatrip was born from the need of keeping my parents updated during a trip to California. But time and destiny decided to change the route and gave me the opportunity to share my life with people and show that happiness lives within, inside each one of us. It is there, in my blog, where I pass my days, think about the choices made, the importance of being authentic and not be afraid of being who you are. I accepted this beautiful challenge and spend my time trying to inspire people to live. My blog is a place for the humble hearted, addicted to life and willing to do the best for everyone. I believe we can do whatever we want to. You just have to believe, call some friends and see your dream come true. Everything is possible for those who believe. Well, I believe Pharrel Williams was talking about me when he wrote about a room without a roof.”

Herdiana Surachman, from Indonesia says:

I started Deluxshionist almost 4 years ago to be a place to express myself, to envision me to receive tons of new things and share my ideas of fashion, style, life also with travel. I believe travel is one of media that feed your soul, your point of view will definitely change after travelling, and it’s a good addictive. I want to challenge myself to explore as many places in the world, and share its rich heritage through my writing and photographs, to make this world a better place to live and share; I believe is just a matter of time. Wish me luck.”

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Remember – we’re looking for all sorts of bloggers!

Just a reminder guys, The Big Blog Exchange is open to ANY type of blogger, wherever in the world you are. It’s all about passion, and whether your passion lies with fashion, travel, baking, sewing, politics or whatever else, we’d love for you to share it with us and the rest of the blogging community by getting involved in the Big Blog Exchange. Even if you’re not a blogger and just enjoy reading about these subjects, get involved and root for your favourite bloggers, follow their journeys and help them along the way!

If any of you have any queries or questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch – tbbe@hihostels.com

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Motivations We Love #3

Here are some of our favourite motivations today:

Geovanna Tominaga, from Brazil says:

Nossa história de amor começou numa viagem. Solteira, embarquei pra Israel para me encontrar. No Muro das Lamentações cravei um bilhete que pedia um amor verdadeiro. De volta ao Rio, nos conhecemos. As primeiras palavras trocadas foram sobre as nossas viagens. Percebi que era “ele”, o meu amor. Estamos juntos desde então e resolvemos compartilhar com o mundo o amor que sentimos um pelo outro, e em descobrir o mundo, com nossos seguidores na internet. Seria incrível incluir esse prêmio na nossa história. Geovanna Tominaga.”

English translation: “Our love story began a journey. Single, embarked for Israel to meet me. At the Wailing Wall dug a note calling for true love. Back in Rio, met. The first words were exchanged on our travels. Realized that “he” was, my love. We’ve been together ever since and decided to share with the world the love we feel for each other, and discover the world with our followers on the Internet. It would be amazing to include this award in our history. Geovanna Tominaga.”

Andrea Dela Cruz. From the Philippines says:

I want to spread good vibes and make my readers feel happy after reading my posts. This famous quote by writer Roald Dahl embodies how I want to live each day of my life: “And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places”. These “secrets” might take form in the stories of new friends, adventures (or misadventures), cheap gustatory delights or even in simple things like a fiery sunset. Each time we travel, we get to treat all our senses and with it comes the art of acceptance and understanding. With glittering eyes, let me show you the beauty of this world we live in.”

 Nina Kogej, from Slovenia says:

 I once read that if you don’t travel, you only read one page of the book… and because I love reading, one page was surely not enough, so I have decided to travel. I have been traveling ever since I remember… Started with my parents at the age of three. Almost 30 years later I’m still doing it and what is most important, I am loving it still! I have decided to start writing a travel blog about 2 years ago, as I wanted to share my passion and experiances with other people. I want to show people that traveling is easy and that everyone can do it! My travel blog Nina Travels is all about travel tips and information, which will be useful to everyone – from the first time travellers to the experts. All my posts are upgraded with my own photos, as I like photography a lot. My right hand man is my hubby, which helps me with travel videos and with whom we share the same passion for traveling and life. Last but not least, we added overland traveling to our standard backpacking travels and bought ourselves a 4-wheel drive, which makes our travels even more adventurous and free! Welcome to join us in exploration of the world!”

 Lorraine Pullen, from the United Kingdom says:

 I started a vegetable patch in 2011 from scratch, I have learned loads in the last few years and recorded all my success and failure on the blog. I got a puppy who has grown up on my blog and then started growing and supporting the British Flowers movement in the Uk. I am now involved in loads of projects or get people to buy locally grown produce. Last year we added another hobby to our collection and now spend wonderful days out in our Triumph Tr6 sports cars. So are we living the good life? Well Maybe.”

Nozizwe Dube, from Zimbabwe says:

I am a female writer who believes in empowerment of young girls. I grew up in Zimbabwe and experienced a life whereby young girls were deprived of education and were not allowed to speak. I want to work this mentality away and show other girls that they can change their world just by doing exactly that which they were not allowed to.”

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Your Motivations

More and more bloggers are signing up this year and we’re so pleased. We just wanted to take a moment to clarify the importance of the motivation section of each bloggers profile.

This section, however big or small you wish for it to be, is an important part of the selection process. The International Jury will use this section, alongside your blog content, passion and other things, to whittle everyone down and pick those lucky finalists. So make sure you sell yourselves as best you can and make them want to choose you! These sections will also be a key element of the ‘wild card’ selection.

We love reading through everybody’s motivations and learning more about you all. Ideally these sections should be over 100 words, and should sum up why you’ve decided to get involved with the BBE.

Happy writing!

If anybody has any further questions or queries about this section, or anything else, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us – tbbe@hihostels.com

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Motivations We Love #2

Here are some of our favourite motivations today:

Cale Pissarra, from South Africa says:

“I like to think that life is one big experiment. An experiment on how we should all try and live our lives. I try to look at each day as an adventure, as a gift. If you aren’t having fun, then what is the point anyway. Traveling is not a right, but a gift. I would very much like to have that gift. Just Kicking it one day at a time”

Lore Baghino, from Argentina says:

“Combining the passion for travel, and the passion for interior design and hospitality, we have left our hearts in many cities. No matter if they are simple or luxurious, large or small, urban or in the middle of the nature. There are places that made ​​us feel at home, being away, and make us return again and again. And there are others that simply inspire us and make us fly with the imagination … This is an opportunity to explore this wonderful and sometimes challenging world and meet its beautiful people.”

Alexis Valenzona, from the Philippines says:

Being a huge book nerd has allowed me to escape into different worlds, travel to various places and learn from the seamless selection of words used to convey the right feelings. I love how you can travel and completely lose yourself in the stories in the most peaceful way. This time, I want to experience it by actually being there, writing the words myself. Wherever that may be, this lady needs to find her book mountain.”

Ruth Silverton, from the United Kingdom says:

Through the scans, the operations and the chemotherapy, life happens and somehow, somewhere, it changes. For me, this blog is about an honest and open account of my journey, finding the positivity and motivation that being faced with adversity can bring. I wanted to enter the competition because sometimes it’s not about the distance travelled, the fastest pace or the perfect picture, it’s about the little things. I’d love to experience the life of some of these amazing bloggers, but I’d also be proud for them to see how much beauty, kindness and joy there is in a situation that seems so negative and hopeless from the outside. Thank you x.”

Claudia Tavani, from Italy says:

My mission is my dream: seeing the whole world and allowing other people to see it too. Travelling is a wonderful way to learn about new cultures and far away people; it means crossing bridges, developing great friendships, sharing experiences, learning to survive by yourself and also to help others. Through my blog, I want to share my travelling experiences and I want to inspire others to travel, live great adventures, avoid a few tourist traps and scams here and t here, and enjoy their life as best they can. My idea is to show others how to make the most of their travels – not only financially! Throughout my pages, travelers and adventure seekers will find useful (free) information on a number of destinations I have already visited and experienced. Most information on how to get to places, hostels, restaurants, attractions etc. I provide is first hand, and free to share. Go out and see the world, people, as it is WONDERFUL.”

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Check, check and check again!

Quite a few of you have been getting in contact with us about editing slight mistakes in your profiles. Unfortunately, as it says on the Create Profile page, once you have submitted the profile you can’t go back and make any edits. So please remember before submitting to have a few quick checks through to make sure you’re totally happy with what you have written.

We’re really enjoying reading through everyone’s profiles and blogs so far, it’s great to see so much motivation and inspiration, and were excited to watch the competition unfold!

Happy blogging!

Motivations We Love #1

The number of people getting involved is going up and up! We really enjoy reading through all of your inspiring motivations, so every day we will be picking our favourites and featuring them on the blog. Keep an eye out for yours!

Here are today’s favourites: 

Ana Elisa Miranda, from Brazil says:

I blog about living abroad, traveling and finding purpose in life. What happens when you leave your home, your career and your loved ones? How do you build a whole new life in a new country? The wonder, joy, big life questions, frustration, invaluable lessons and growth. I’m Brazilian and I’ve lived in the USA and in Belgium and my blog has informed and encouraged many people because I choose to share my stories. I am a writer and I believe stories must be told. They make you feel a little less lonely and that can change lives. The Big Blog Exchange will allow me to do what I love: travel, meet people and share our stories.”

Johnalene Baylon, from the Philippines says:

“This adventure will be our story to tell. I’ll write about it as though it were yours as much as mine, and you’ll read about it as though you were there.”

Suzanne Van Der Veeken, from the Netherlands says:

“My mission is to inspire others to live and travel adventurously, to follow passion, and to do this with a positive impact. Not only for the traveler, but for the places and people one is visiting. Vote for me and my mission will reach further. Destination Xploration is my online playground about responsible, active and in-depth exploration of adventure places. I’m slow travelling for 9 years now and won’t stop. I love everything ocean and outdoor. Kitesurfing, sailing, snowboarding and freediving in particular! Ocean conservation is high on my agenda. Next expedition: crossing the Atlantic in a meaningful way! xxx Suzanne Ambassador for Adventure | Advocate for Sustainability.”

Logan Anderson, from Canada says:

I began blogging a few years ago as a way to compartmentalize and identify the main issues I was facing in my personal life at the time: depression and social anxiety. I had no intention of having anyone else read what I was writing and it started as a very aimless endeavour, with rambling thoughts and extremely raw emotions. However, after a short while, I was extremely surprised and overwhelmed at the reaction I got from other people on Tumblr who were reading what I was writing, could sympathize with or understand what I was going through, and were very openly supporting me to embrace it and master it. I then began talking about my passions and other things that were important to me, and my blog seemed to open me up and allow me to discuss things I had, until that point, kept to myself. Then, in early 2012, I went on a short backpacking trip to England and decided to document my travels during the trip. I had gone on backpacking trips before then and found it to be extremely therapeutic and rewarding, but this was the first time I published my journey. It turned out that there were others like me, many others, who dream of travelling but are held back by their own struggles and challenges, like mental illness. Since then, I have been documenting my travels around the world and openly discussing the wonderful rewards and very real challenges associated with travelling while living with mental illness. I have found an extremely supportive community that encourages me and pushes me to constantly improve, and I can honestly say after all this time, my blog and the community around it, have helped develop me into the person I am today. I am very thankful for it, and them.”

Yafieda Jamil, from Malaysia says:

“There’s nothing like getting into a car and driving from where you are to anywhere you want to go. The best part about this journey is that there’s always things to see and places to stop on the way to the destination. On some days, the destinations can even change depending on what you have uncovered. That for me is why road trips has always been a big part of how we could get to know a local destination better, especially while I was in Malaysia. Now it’s time to explore other routes in world and blend in with the locals like a chameleon.”

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Bloggers! It’s good to be back!

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Hostelling International are thrilled to announce that the Big Blog Exchange is back and ready for its second year, we’re also pleased to let you know that the official competition site is now live! This of course means that bloggers are now able to sign themselves up to the chance of winning the experience of a lifetime.

Last year was a roaring success for the project, seeing the creation of a wonderfully diverse and supportive blogging community. The project saw Hostelling International send 16 excited bloggers on an adventure, swapping countries, cultures and blogs with each other for 10 days, all the while documenting their experiences for the rest of us to follow. So many of you joined them on their journeys and travelled the world with them digitally. This year, it’s happening all over again!

The Big Blog Exchange (BBE) was set up with the aim of ‘Changing the world using the power of blogs’. These days’ blogs are such a powerful source of information, and the Big Blog Exchange aims to use that power to spread global cultural understanding. As last year proved, this can be achieved! In 2013 the project was awarded three prestigious travel industry awards, including one from the UNWTO for Excellence and Innovation in Tourism, and saw bloggers and readers from a whopping 72 different countries getting involved on several different levels.

With cultural understanding being at the heart of this project, we were pleased to hear what Camie, a Filipino winner from last year’s BBE, had to say about her exchange: “This unique journey in Germany gave light and opened my eyes to so many things.” She went on to say “I believe the Big Blog Exchange project not only helped me open my eyes, but helped open the eyes of those that followed my journey as well.”

It’s all about passion, and whether your passion lies with travel, fashion, baking, politics or whatever else, we’d love for you to share that by taking part. The BBE is open to all sorts of bloggers, whether you haven’t even set up a blog yet, or you’ve been doing it for as long as you can remember. Whether you’ve got the whole world reading your blog, or if it’s just your best friends, you are in with a chance of winning a life-changing trip!

Last year’s winners had the time of their lives, now it’s somebody else’s turn to do the same! We need your help to change the world using the power of blogs.
Whether you just enjoy reading blogs and want to follow the competition, or want to take part, we’re all ready for you!

Join the conversation by using #bigblogx on Twitter and Instagram and like our Facebook page for updates!

We’re excited to be back! Are you up for the adventure?

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It’s been ‘amazing’!

It’s been a wonderful journey that so many of you have tuned in to follow and watch. Travelling 16 different countries in 10 days (well digitally for us) is tiring, but definitely inspirational. Here’s what some of our bloggers had to say about the experience.

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Liesbet Maroye

Now, I am in Paris. 3000 pictures later, with even more memories stored in my head, thinking of all the people I met and all the stories I heard. All this makes from this trip, this experience one giant lovely moment. A moment I would like to continue sharing with you. I didn’t always have the time to write more about my personal experiences, but now I am back, I have the time to reflect on certain things. The next days/weeks, on my blog “Liesbet à Paris“, I will continue writing about my reflections and my journey in South Africa.

Sophie Roberts

There is something very unique about travelling and during this trip there have been moments when I’ve felt like I was in film. Almost as though I’m reflecting on myself being there, living that moment. I feel it at times when I am most relaxed and immersed in the country.

Tina Seidling

The last 10 days have been a amazing experience, discovering a country I never had on my travel list, falling in love with white beaches, mangoes & lechon – and boku.

Auður Osp

This trip has been amazing, weird, wonderful and everything in between and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. Thank you Big Blog Exchange, IYHA, Uri, Anat, Ofer, Kayed (sorry for misspelling your name before), Mahady, Miki, Moshe, Esti, Hava and everyone else who made this possible. I will never forget it!

Sophie Roberts

It’s been INCREDIBLE!  Just wanted to say a massive thanks for this opportunity. It’s really been the most wonderful week, I’ve seen, learned, experienced, tasted, and thought of so many different things.

We’d love to hear three words that describe your thoughts on the exchange and how you’ve found following it! 

Stay tuned for the blogger’s manifestos (summaries of their trip)!