HI Hostels Blog

The Big Blog Exchange Manifesto

The largest blog contest in history is complete!

When we launched The Big Blog Exchange competition we hoped to inspire our 16 chosen bloggers by giving them the opportunity to exchange lives, places and blogs with one another for ten days. Our bloggers have certainly impressed us with their optimism, sense of adventure and open minds. We wanted this competition to give the bloggers a once in a lifetime opportunity to push themselves out of their comfort zones and we are thrilled that every single one of them fully embraced the experience, providing the world with unique insights into their personal journeys. We asked all of our 16 bloggers to tell us their manifesto, explaining what they have learnt from their travels and how the experience has transformed and will continue to influence their lives. Below are snippets from their manifestos, we hope that you will find them as inspiring as we have here at HI…

Andy Andersen, USA (blogging from Spain)

‘One of the major purposes of this Exchange was teaching how cultural exchanges can change people’s lives. That is a principle that I strongly believe in. The great thing about travelling is that it is an opportunity to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, which is probably one of the greatest gifts that you can receive because you will never look at life the same again.’


















Sara Rodriguez, Spain (blogging from USA)

‘This contest was about changing the world through blogging. And I think it’s really appropriate. When you live to the fullest and enjoy every moment of the journey, you are continually learning and growing as a person.’

Audur Osp, Iceland (blogging from Israel)

‘If you ask me whether the Big Blog Exchange fulfilled its purpose of changing the world through blogs and bloggers my answer would have to be yes. It definitely changed one person’s views towards more tolerance and understanding and that is surely a start. Now it’s my duty to pay it forward; live, explore and keep an open mind.’

Ali Karp, Israel (blogging from Iceland)

‘I didn’t change. I woke up. I feel like I woke up to the power of their love; of not being afraid to be open-minded. Iceland you are a tonic for tired eyes, you managed to get me thinking outside of my own native beliefs. We are all one. No less and no more.’














Kisty Mea, Singapore (blogging from UK)

‘This has got to be the most unbelievable and interesting contest on the Internet so far. I’ve learned that anything is possible with a little faith and trust. Peter Pan once said that all it takes to fly is to have faithtrust and a little bit of pixie dust. While I never had a chance to see a real life fairy (they exist!), my form of pixie dust came from Hostelling International, who made the Big Blog Exchange a reality.’

Sophie Roberts, UK (blogging from Singapore)

‘The Big Blog Exchange was the first project of its kind and I honestly think it’s one of the best initiatives I’ve come across. Winning this was a dream come true, I entered the competition on a whim because one of my mantras is always to explore new opportunities and I thought this looked like a really fantastic one. It was the experience of a lifetime.’

Rosario Lamastra, Argentina (blogging from New Zealand)

‘Talking with local people and learning about their own countries was one of the most amazing things on my trip. I met local bloggers and I realised how beautiful it is to share what I love with people who do the same in a different country.’

Katherine Kearlsey, New Zealand (blogging from Argentina)

‘This was everything I hoped it would be and more. You can be anywhere in the world and see so many things, but it’s the people you meet and the relationships you have with those people that make the trip what it is. It’s these friendships and random days or nights out with people that in years to come I will remember about this trip more than anything else.’


















Rafael Luíza e Natália, Brazil (blogging from France)

The Big Blog Exchange was an amazing opportunity to experience, discover and try another piece of this world and share with readers and non-readers a little bit of our impressions and thoughts. I believe I have changed because I have been able to experience new things. By meeting locals we can expand our own knowledge about the world and find out that we are not so distant from each other, despite the thousands of kilometres between countries. Travelling brings people closer.’

Claire, France (blogging from Brazil)

‘I understand that it maybe seems a little conceited to say that this trip changed my life, but I think that it actually has. I know that those 10 days changed me forever, so much more than the last few years. I have learnt 2 facts from my trip. First is that sometimes, you need your own moments and second is that travelling alone doesn’t mean travelling in loneliness, I have never met so many people as I did during those 10 days.’

Camie Juan, Philippines (blogging from Germany)

‘The Big Blog Exchange may have only lasted 10 days, but to me it is an experience, a fond memory that I will take with me for the rest of my life. This unique journey in Germany gave light and opened my eyes to so many things. I believe this competition not only helped me open my eyes, but helped open the eyes of those that followed my journey as well.’

Tina, Germany (blogging from Philippines)

‘What made that trip so special? Camie’s family who picked me up from the airport, making sure I was able to face the Philippines and welcomed me with open arms for their father’s day lunch on my last day! It was a pleasure to be their “daughter” for one day! We might not be able to change the world, but it is possible to step out of your world by reading blogs, realising the pros and cons of where you live and trying to change them! We might live on other sides of the world, in different time zones, but through the Big Blog Exchange we have really been able to interact further.’

Liesbet Maroye, Belgium (blogging from South Africa)

‘Hearing that I was one of the 16 winners made my motto, ‘nothing is impossible’, even stronger. Changing the world with 1000 blogs, and 16 winners, may have seemed unrealistic and a little bit ambitious, but the fact is that 16 strangers did exchange lives/blogs/countries/cultures with each other and write about it.’














Didintle Ntsie, South Africa (blogging from Belgium)

‘My Big Blog Exchange experience has been a myth-busting, future-moulding, idea-planting, cultural and reality exchange sprinkled with magic, hot air balloon rides, mind-expanding conversation and the most amazing people and warmth I could have ever fantasised about. A full trip. No gaps left unfilled. My journey with the Big Blog Exchange has reminded me how powerful the world of blogging and exchanging cultural stories and realities is.’

Jeremy Fowler, Canada (blogging from Malaysia)

By the time I started packing, the only thing I was expecting to see was tall buildings and some vector borne illness. I was in for a big surprise. During my exchange I have learnt so many lessons; Lesson one; I really value home. Lesson two; people are the same wherever you are in the world. Lesson three; be prepared to eat something you may not agree with. My advice after my experience is to spend some time seeing the world and getting out of your comfort zone.’

Chee Ching, Malaysia (blogging from Canada)

‘Before this trip started, I had no idea what to expect. But I guess it was better. Today I am sitting here after my trip, and so many memories are running through my head. This trip really gave me the courage to embrace the idea of travelling alone.’














See our 16 bloggers full manifestos and photos at the bigblogexchange.org.

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