From March 1st until April 15th, bloggers will be able to register their blogs at www.bigblogexchange.org for the exchange, express their motivation for taking part, before then encouraging readers, family and friends to vote for them.
“The winning bloggers will get the chance to swap places with another winner. They will then spend 10 days in each other’s countries learning about the people, culture, food, and environment and of course we will want to share this with them by reading their blog about their experience,” said CEO of Hostelling International, Mikael Hansson.
With the aim of creating a digital blogging global community like no other, which interacts in real life, the competition has already attracted the attention of over 1,000 bloggers worldwide, from more than 100 countries.
“We never expected that we would reach out and inspire so many people in so many countries,” said Mikael Hansson, “The reasons for bloggers wanting to take part have been hugely varied and in some cases have been extremely humbling. The level of interest has just confirmed that people are excited to learn and understand more about different cultures and different ways of life. Hostelling International has always aimed to encourage and promote global interaction so we look forward to watching this exciting project unfold.”
UK blogger Glen Shorey, who writes ‘Adventures of Wheelchair Boy’, has a particularly poignant motivation for taking part, which he wrote about on his blog. Diagnosed with Friedreich’s Ataxia at a young age, he is hoping to be one of the winning bloggers so that he can travel for the first time in seven years.
“As soon as I read about this exciting opportunity, my eyes lit up. Obviously, being able to go abroad without worrying about the cost is a great relief but I also want to change people’s mind-set when it comes to disability.,” Glen explained.
The winning bloggers, who will be announced on April 29th in a live online draw, will have their travel and accommodation expenses paid for by Hostelling International, in addition to a pocket money allowance for their stay.
Will we see Finland represented in the competition?
HI Finland is hoping that there will be (at least!) one Finn in the 16 winning bloggers. Ville Virkki, who owns Dream Hostel in Tampere, thinks the same: "I think it's a great idea and I'm excited to see the results of it. I like the fact that there will be more than one winner. We are encouraging our contacts in Tampere Region to take part in the competition", said Ville.