Two weeks to go!

We can’t believe there is now only two short weeks left before our winning 16 bloggers pack their bags and take off on their exchanges. It feels like only yesterday we opened the competition, and had the pleasure of getting to know hundreds of talented, diverse and incredibly committed bloggers.

In the build up to the exchanges, throughout and after – this blog will serve as the central hub for all things BBE. Everyday during their 10 day journeys we will be posting a summary of what our bloggers have been getting up to in their various exchange countries, their thoughts, insights, photos and stories.

It’s going to be an adventure not just for the winners, but for us here at HI, and the readers too. We will effectively get to travel the world in 10 days digitally with these bloggers, sharing their experiences with them every step of the way. We can’t wait to follow each and every one of them as they jump out of their comfort zones and learn about a country culturally different to their own.

We can hardly contain our excitement here at HI – what journey are you most looking forward to following?

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Winners – have you introduced your exchange partner to your readers yet?

As you all know, our 16 winners will not only be swapping cultures and countries – they will also be swapping blogs for duration of their 10 day exchanges.

We noticed that our winner from France, Lucie, has conducted an in depth interview with Taralynn, her exchange partner from the USA.

As Taralynn will be temporarily taking over Voyages et Vagabondages, Lucie has posted the interview on her blog to introduce Taralynn officially to her readers, and to give them a chance to get to know her.

Taralynn has also posted her interview on her blog asking her readers to pose questions to Lucie to get to know her a little better before she takes over Simply Taralynn. She has also conducted an interview with Lucie that she will be placing on her blog for the same reason.

We think it’s a great idea to introduce your readers to your exchange partner before they start blogging to them. If you would like to read the interview, you can do so here. 

Winners – have you introduced your readers to your exchange partner yet?

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What would you pack for your BBE adventure?

Packing for a trip can be an excitement building, fun activity for some – and a stressful, chaotic experience for others. We’re sure most travellers at one time or another have spent hours trying to cram everything they own into a backpack, before eventually admitting defeat and having to become selective about what they will need.

With only a few short weeks to go until our 16 winning bloggers head off on their 10 day cultural exchanges, we’re sure they are all starting to round up their things, prepare and think about what it is they will be bringing with them on their adventures.

So we wanted to open up the floor to you all and ask – what would you take with you on your BBE adventure? If you are one of our winners – what are you planning to take with you? What is you travel necessity? Comment below and let us know!

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The Big Blog Exchange on Youtube!

Have you taken a look at the Hostelling International Youtube channel lately? We’ve introduced a Big Blog Exchange 2014 playlist – on here you will find the competition launch trailer containing footage from last year’s exchanges, alongside all of this year’s winners Local Lingo Challenge videos.

There will be a few more lingo videos coming to us over the next few days – so keep an eye out! As the competition goes on, we will be adding any video footage from our winners to this channel, so you can follow their journeys.

For now, head over to the HI Youtube channel, enjoy our bloggers country survival guides, and brush up on your global lingo!
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The Local Lingo Challenge

In just a few short weeks our winning 16 bloggers will be jetting off to their exchange partners country – to immerse themselves in an unfamiliar culture, try new things and of course document their experiences and insights to the readers.

We have 16 culturally diverse and unique countries represented in the project this year, each one as beautiful as the last. We can’t wait to follow the journeys of the bloggers as they explore and learn about a country completely different to their own.

In the build up to the exchanges, we’re busy putting together every aspect of our winners adventures, and we thought we would set them a string of small challenges to help them to prepare, and to help the waiting period move along a bit faster.

The first challenge set was one that we at HI have dubbed ‘The Local Lingo Challenge.’

As the project is all about cultural understanding, we asked our lovely bloggers to provide their exchange partner with a video survival guide for their country. The video was to provide their exchange partners with local phrases, expressions, cultural norms and information to help them get through their 10 day adventures with a little more ease – as well as to give them the chance to get to know each other a little better!

This is what our bloggers have come up with so far. Some are still in the process of adding the finishing touches to their fantastic videos, so be sure to keep checking back as we will be adding a few more over the coming hours and days. For now – enjoy!

“Say HI to the world!”

Canadian survival guide – from Logan to Purujeet

India survival guide – from Purujeet to Logan

Slovenia survival guide – from Nina to Jono

Australia survival guide – from Jono to Nina

Hong Kong survival guide – from Kitty to Ruth

UK survival guide – from Ruth to Kitty

Ireland survival guide – from Stephanie to Aihona

Brazil survival guide – from Ainoha to Stephanie

Malaysia survival guide – from Vincent to Belen

Argentina survival guide – from Belen to Vincent

France survival guide – from Lucie to Taralynn

French phrases used:

Bonjour, Allez, on dit bonjour au monde entier. Allez, on commence. Bonjour, Je m’appelle Lucie. Mon blog de voyage est Voyages et Vagabondages et j’ai gagné un concours de blogueurs, le Big Blog Exchange. Comment ça va? Bien et toi? Bien. Parlez-vous anglais? Je parle un petit peu français. Je ne comprends pas. A l’aide. Je suis perdue. Où est la meilleure boulangerie de la ville? Je voudrais un pain au chocolat s’il vous plaît. Je voudrais une chocolatine s’il vous plaît. Merci beaucoup. Je voudrais un bon verre de vin et un plateau de fromage s’il vous plaît. Combien ça coûte? Merci. Au revoir.

USA survival guide – from Taralynn to Lucie

Spain survival guide – from Manuel to Roy

English translation:

Hi, I’m Manu and I am representative of Spain and i´m here to give some advice to Roy, my friend from South Africa, just to make your trip to my country as pleasant and fun as posible, i want you to say “Hi the world.” Here’s the first tip Roy, attentive: During your travel in Spain certainly you’re going to drink at some bar, it is important for you to know how to order a beer, for that you must say “Camarero quiero una caña” (Waiter, i want a beer) It´s very easy. You also have to know that in Spain is very typical that together with the drinks you will receive a small plates with food, like this one. These portions are called “tapas”. Finally you have to know that in Spain football is almost a religion and the whole country is divided between Barcelona´s supporters and Real Madrid´s supporters. I recommend that even if you dont´really like this sport you become a fan of one of these teams because sooner or later you’ll be asked: Wich football team do you support? These are my tips to make your experience the best as possible Spain. Keep in touch, bye.

Philippines survival guide – from Tessa to Marcela 

Are there any additional phrases you feel the bloggers should know before taking off to their exchange countries? Comment below and share the knowledge!

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Join the conversation!

It’s now only a matter of weeks until our winning 16 bloggers head off on their 10 day exchanges – and we can just about contain our excitement here at HI!

If you’d like to keep up to date with the preparations in the build up to the exchanges, as well as the individual journeys of the 16 bloggers – there are a few things that you can do to make sure you don’t miss a moment:

- Subscribe to this blog – we will be using this as a central hub for all things BBE related. We will be posting photos, video’s, stories and updates everyday both during the build up and during the exchanges.

- Follow each of our winners individual blogs – Twitter accounts, Facebook accounts and Instagram accounts. If you’d like quick links to all 16 in one place, have a look at the post we put out last week.

- Follow our Twitter account: @hostelling.

- Like us on Facebook.

- Follow the #bigblogx tag

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Blogging in different languages!

As you may have anticipated given the diversity of the countries being represented in the Big Blog Exchange this year – our winners will be blogging in several different languages throughout their exchanges. Although many of them will be translating their posts – if you have any trouble following their journeys we suggest using the trusty Google Translate tool!

We love the cultural diversity present among our winning 16 bloggers– as after all, cultural understanding is what this project is all about.

We hope you enjoy the diversity of the bloggers this year and that you enjoy reading about their cultural insights throughout their journeys.

Do you blog in more than one language? Do you blog in your native language, or in another to fit with your current location, or to benefit your current readership? Do you translate your posts? Let us know below!

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What is your travel technology of choice?

At the end of this month our winning bloggers will be packing their bags and jetting off to their exchange partners’ country – to immerse themselves in the culture, to learn and to share their experiences and insights with the readers. They will be blogging live on their exchange partners’ blog and on social media platforms for the duration of their trips, using various different types of technologies – we can’t wait!

With there being so many experienced, expert travel bloggers within this wonderful community, we thought we’d ask – what is your technology of choice while travelling and blogging? With so many different options available from smartphones and tablets to laptops – it can be difficult to know which is best.

We’re sure that if our winning bloggers haven’t already blogged from the road, they would appreciate some advice from the experts within the community.

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So comment below and let us know – what is your technology of choice while blogging and travelling?

What journey are you most looking forward to following?

On the 31 October our winners will be beginning their 10 day adventures within their exchange countries. Represented in the Big Blog Exchange this year are 16 culturally diverse destinations, each one as beautiful as the last.

The readers will be able to follow the bloggers every step of the way as they explore their exchange countries, experiencing every single day alongside them digitally.

So we wanted to ask you all – which bloggers journey are you most looking forward to following? Perhaps there is one destination being represented that you have always wanted to visit. Maybe one of our bloggers is taking off to a destination you have written about yourself – and you’re excited to see somebody else’s take on it. We’d love to know!

Canada – explored by Purujeet

Canada mountains

India – Explored by Logan 

india

France – Explored by Taralynn

France

USA – Explored by Lucie

United States Capitol Dome

Spain – Explored by Roy

spain

Malaysia – Explored by Belen

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Ireland – Explored by Ainoha

ireland

Italy – Explored by Tessa

Italy

Philippines – Explored by Marcela

manila philippines

Brazil – Explored by Stephanie

brazil

UK – Explored by Kitty

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Slovenia – Explored by Jono

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Australia – Explored by Nina

sydney

Hong Kong – Explored by Ruth

hong kong

South Africa – Explored by Manuel

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Argentina – Explored by Vincent

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** These photographs do not belong to HI and we do not take any form of credit for them. They are for reference purposes only. If you feel that any of these photo’s are your right – let us know and we will take them down immediately.

Have you taken a look at our winners blogs?

Well, we have officially announced our winning 16 bloggers, and what an amazing bunch they are. We have a real dream team representing the project around the world this year. Not long ago we put a post out outlining who they are, who they are exchanging with and where they will be going. We thought we would put all of their blogs in one place, just in case you hadn’t had a chance to read through them yet, enjoy!

Logan Anderson, Canada to India.
Visit Logans blog here.

Logan

Logan

Purujeet Parida, India to Canada.
Visit Purujeets blog here.

pURUJEET

Purujeet

Lucie Aidart, France to USA.
Visit Lucie’s blog here.

LUCIE

Lucie

Taralynn Mcnitt, USA to France.
Visit Taralynn’s blog here.

TARALYNN

Taralynn

Manuel Garcia del Moral, Spain to South Africa.
Visit Manuel’s blog here.

MANUEL

Manuel

Roy Potterill, South Africa to Spain.
Visit Roy’s blog here.

ROY

roy

Jono Cusack, Australia to Slovenia.
Visit Jono’s blog here.

JONO

Jono

Nina Kogej, Slovenia to Australia.
Visit Nina’s blog here.

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Nina

Tessa Go, Philippines to Italy.
Visit Tessa’s blog here.

TESSA

Tessa

Marcela Fae, Italy to Philippines.
Visit Marcela’s blog here.

MARCELA

Marcela

Ainoha Moura Aguirre, Brazil to Ireland.
Visit Ainoha’s blog here.

ainoha

ainoha

Stephanie Buckley, Ireland to Brazil.
Visit Stephanie’s blog here.

STEPHANIE

stephanie

Vincent Quek, Malaysia to Argentina.
Visit Vincent’s blog here.

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vincent

Belen Palacios, Argentina to Malaysia.
Visit Belen’s blog here.

BELEN

Belen

Ruth Silverton, UK to Hong Kong.
Visit Ruth’s blog here.

RUTH

Ruth

Chan Hoi Yung (Kitty), Hong Kong to UK.
Visit Chan’s blog here.

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chan

Remember, each of the bloggers will be posting on their exchange partners blog about their experiences live from their exchange countries, and you’ll be able to get your daily dose of BBE adventure right here on the blog – stay tuned!

A Big Blog Exchange meet up!

We have said it before, and we will say it again. The Big Blog Exchange is not solely about the 16 winners and their cultural exchanges, it’s also about the fantastic community we have all built up together.

Which is why we were overjoyed to see the following tweets, showing four of our BBE 2014 finalists all meeting up for a catch up and a coffee!

We love the #bigblogx love and community feel that is going on – and we’re so pleased to see that even after the competition phase has ended and our winners have been announced, bloggers within the community are still in contact.

BBE Finalists coffee meet up BBE finalists meet up

Planning a #bigblogx meet up? Let us know at tbbe@hihostels.com!

Some changes to the winning 16 bloggers!

We just wanted to let you all know that we have had to make a few changes to our final 16. Unfortunately due to various reasons, a few of our 16 winning bloggers were not able to participate in the exchange this year. We wish these bloggers all the best, and hope they will come back and join us next year!

Therefore we’d like to introduce you all to the fantastic Nina Kogej- who will now be representing Slovenia in the exchange, swapping countries with Jono in Australia!

We’d also like you all to give a warm welcome to our amazing new wildcard winner, representing Hong Kong travelling to the UK swapping countries with Ruth – Chan Hoi Yung!

Below is an official up to date list of our final 16 winners, their blogs and their exchanges.
We have a real dream team here representing the BBE project in 2014 – and we’re so happy to have them all on board!

Exchange one: CANADA – INDIA

- Logan Anderson, CANADA: http://backpackersguidetoearth.tumblr.com/

is swapping places with..

- Purujeet Parida, INDIA: http://sfscient.wordpress.com/

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Exchange two: FRANCE – USA

- Lucie Aidart, FRANCE: http://voyagesetvagabondages.com/

is swapping places with..

- Taralynn Mcnitt, USA: http://simplytaralynn.com/

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Exchange three: UK – HONG KONG

- Ruth Silverton, UK: http://rooth121.blogspot.co.uk/

is swapping places with..

- Chan Hoi Yung (Wildcard winner!), HONG KONG: http://kitx.mysinablog.com/

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Exchange four: SPAIN – SOUTH AFRICA

- Manuel Garcia del Moral, SPAIN: http://www.secretosdemadrid.es/

is swapping places with..

- Roy Potterill, SOUTH AFRICA: http://www.roywrench.com/

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Exchange five: MALAYSIA – ARGENTINA

- Jui Seng Quek, MALAYSIA: http://www.vincequek.com/

is swapping with..

- Belén Palacios, ARGENTINA: http://viajarenpelotas.com.ar/

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Exchange six: IRELAND – BRAZIL

- Stephanie Buckley, IRELAND: http://eatsleepchic.co/

is swapping with..

- Ainoha Moura Aguirre, BRAZIL: http://www.vanguardiasustentable.com/

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Exchange seven: SLOVENIA – AUSTRALIA

- Nina Kogej, SLOVENIA: http://www.nina-travels.com/

is exchanging with..

- Jono Cusack (Wildcard winner!), AUSTRALIA: http://www.seesomething.com.au/

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Exchange eight: ITALY – PHILIPPINES

- Tessa Go, PHILIPPINES: http://instagram.com/googlygooeys

is exchanging with..

- Marcela Fae, ITALY: http://fotostrasse.1982.us/

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Don’t forget to follow their journeys from 31 October, as they jet off on their cultural exchanges.

#bigblogx

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We have hundreds of amazing blogs for you to read!

The voting phase of the competition is over, the jury have selected our 16 winners, and we are in the process of planning their 10 day adventures!

It’s all very exciting and we can’t wait to follow these 16 bloggers on their exchanges. However, we just wanted to take a moment to remind you all of the hundreds of amazing people who entered their blog into the competition this year. Our 16 winners form an incredible team – but there were so many other impressive and diverse blogs who entered and didn’t quite make it into the top 16.

Every blog entered into the BBE this year remains accessible from our site. From travel to fashion, cupcakes to sport – whatever your interest, we’re sure there will be a whole host of blogs for you to read through on this list.

The BBE is not just about the adventures, it’s also about the community – and every single one of the bloggers entered this year, as well as last year, are a part of that community.

So why not have a flick through the participants list and experience some of these amazing blogs?

You could even be reading the blog of a 2015 BBE winner!

To take a look at this year’s bloggers, follow this link.

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Halloween around the world.

Our bloggers exchanges will be kicking off on the spookiest day of the year this time around – Halloween!

Here in England – Halloween celebrations usually consist of trick or treating, scary costumes and horror movie marathons. The London Dungeon will usually put on a frightening show, houses will be decorated with skeletons, zombies and cobwebs, and people will spend the day jumping out on one another!

So we thought we’d ask you all – what are Halloween celebrations like in your hometown/country? Are there any traditions that take place where you live? Any special events or parades that happen? Or even just a tradition you uphold yourself?

Comment below and let us know – it will be really interesting to read about the different ways this scary holiday is celebrated in various places around the world! 

Join the conversation! #bigblogx

Halloween post

Travel the world digitally in 10 days with the BBE!

On the 31 October our 16 winning bloggers will have touched down in their exchange countries ready to kick off their 10 day adventures!

From the 31 October – 9 November, all of you lovely readers will be able to follow their journeys as they blog live on various social media channels from 16 countries all around the world. The bloggers will be keeping the BBE team in the loop as well – letting us know what they’re up to, what they’re seeing and what they are learning about the cultures of their exchange countries. We’ll be posting daily updates on the blog using photos and stories sent to us direct from the bloggers to keep you all informed.

With 16 culturally diverse countries represented in the exchange this year -the BBE is the perfect opportunity to travel the world digitally! In 10 days you will be able to learn so much about the cultures of 16 different countries, we’re so excited to watch their journeys unfold – are you?

Oh and don’t forget – hundreds of talented bloggers entered the competition this year alongside our winning 16. All of their details are still on the site here. Giving you all access to their incredible blogs! Who knows – you could be reading the blog of one of our 2015 winners, they were all so unique and we wished we could have picked them all as winners.

Stay tuned and join us on 31 October for a 10 day digital trip around the world!

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Your all talking about the BBE!

Since the news of our winners and their exchanges hit the site you’ve all been tweeting and blogging away about the BBE and getting excited!
Here are a few snippets:

belen

fotostrasse logan lucie stephanie  vincent

We’re currently in the process of planning our winners trips, and it’s all getting very exciting! Stay tuned to the blog to keep track of their adventures – just over a month until they jet off! #bigblogx

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Could your hometown be the world’s inspiration?

The Big Blog Exchange is proud to say that it is one of the biggest blogging competitions in the world. Since the project began last year over 1,700 bloggers from all corners of the globe have signed up to compete and to become a part of this amazing community.

As there are so many passionate and knowledgeable bloggers and travellers in this community we have built up together – we thought it would be good to utilize that and ask you all if you would like to write a small post for us about your hometown. We could feature your ideas on the BBE blog for the rest of the community to read.

The information, tips and knowledge that you all have of your various home towns and countries means that by passing them on, you could make your destination an inspiration to the other bloggers here and make them want to add it to their must visit list!

We’d love for you all to share your talent, ideas and opinions with us and the rest of the community.

So if you’d like to share anything with us, drop us a comment below or e-mail us at tbbe@hihostels.com

We can’t wait to hear from you!

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Even if you’re not a winner..

The Big Blog Exchange is not just about the 16 winners and their exchanges – it’s also about the incredibly supportive community of bloggers we have created here. You have all been rooting for one another, swapping votes and giving each other tips and advice for future travels. As well as providing us with incredible blogs to read through and generally just enjoying the fantastic platform we have all created together here at the BBE.

We hope that even if you are not one of our winners this year, that you will continue to follow the BBE journey. Watching our winners take off to their exchange destinations, helping them out and continuing to connect with each other. Some of our winners this year entered in 2013 and didn’t quite make the final 16, but they did not lose hope, returned this year and now they are heading off on the experience of a lifetime – so next year, it could very easily be you!

We were so impressed with you all and we wished we could pick more of you as you were all so unique and deserving – but your time could come in 2015!

We hope you will all stick around the blog for news, updates, discussions, interviews with our winners and of course documentations of their adventures! If any of you have any subjects you would like to see an article about on the blog, or even if you would like to contribute to a post in some way yourself, whether that be artwork or whatever else, do contact us at tbbe@hihostels.com and we’ll be more than happy to listen to your ideas.

So thankyou again to each and every one of you for featuring us on your wonderful blogs, telling the world about the BBE and of course for your efforts.

The BBE is far from over – we’re so excited for the next stages!

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Your Twitter reaction!

Since the news of the 16 winners and their exchanges hit the site – you have all been on Twitter and Instagram sharing your thoughts!

Here is a few of our favourite reaction tweets:

aia join again next year  fotostrasseeee Googleys Instagram Googlies - yoga lclass Ima jerermy fowler Jono kisty lucie manuel madrid ruth stephanie buckley Taralynn Mcnitt Zoe Homes

#bigblogx

Stay tuned to the blog – we’ll be keeping you up to date with all the goings on with the winners and their exchanges. We’re so excited to watch them take off on their adventures and to follow their journeys – and we bet you all are too! 

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The wait is over – meet our winners!!

The waiting is finally over! A few moments ago we announced our 16 Big Blog Exchange winners and their exchange countries – and what an amazing bunch they are!

Here’s a quick reminder of this years exchanges…

Exchange one: CANADA – INDIA

- Logan Anderson, CANADA: http://backpackersguidetoearth.tumblr.com/

is swapping places with..

- Purujeet Parida, INDIA: http://sfscient.wordpress.com/

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Exchange two: FRANCE – USA

- Lucie Aidart, FRANCE: http://voyagesetvagabondages.com/

is swapping places with..

- Taralynn Mcnitt, USA: http://simplytaralynn.com/

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Exchange three: UK – JAPAN

- Ruth Silverton, UK: http://rooth121.blogspot.co.uk/

is swapping places with..

- Ashley Dy (Wildcard winner!), JAPAN: http://candykawaiilover.blogspot.co.uk/

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Exchange four: SPAIN – SOUTH AFRICA

- Manuel Garcia del Moral, SPAIN: http://www.secretosdemadrid.es/

is swapping places with..

- Roy Potterill, SOUTH AFRICA: http://www.roywrench.com/

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Exchange five: MALAYSIA – ARGENTINA

- Jui Seng Quek, MALAYSIA: http://www.vincequek.com/

is swapping with..

- Belén Palacios, ARGENTINA: http://viajarenpelotas.com.ar/

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Exchange six: IRELAND – BRAZIL

- Stephanie Buckley, IRELAND: http://eatsleepchic.co/

is swapping with..

- Ainoha Moura Aguirre, BRAZIL: http://www.vanguardiasustentable.com/

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Exchange seven: SLOVENIA – AUSTRALIA

- Mic Melansek, SLOVENIA: http://ineedtoiletpaper.com/

is exchanging with..

- Jono Cusack (Wildcard winner!), AUSTRALIA: http://www.seesomething.com.au/

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Exchange eight: ITALY – PHILIPPINES

- Tessa Go, PHILIPPINES: http://instagram.com/googlygooeys

is exchanging with..

- Marcela Fae, ITALY: http://fotostrasse.1982.us/

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CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU ALL! We’re excited to watch your adventures unfold…

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It has been an incredibly difficult decision this year for the jury – you’re all so wonderful. 

Each and every one of you brings your own unique vibe to blogging and you are all so passionate and talented. We at HI genuinely have felt privileged to spend so much of our time getting to know you all individually – as well as enjoying all of your amazing blogs, articles, photographs and stories. We’re hoping that even if you’re not a winner this year, you will stick around to watch these 16 bloggers prepare for their journeys, take off and embark on the BBE experience, helping HI to make the world a better place and spread cultural understanding. This blog will be a central hub where you can keep up to date with their journeys and the competition – so stick around! We’re sure you’ve all got tips and advice for them and that the community feel we’ve built up here together over the last few weeks will continue to flourish throughout the next steps of the competition. We’re so excited for the next stages and we hope you all are too! The journey is far from over!

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