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Andy, ¿Dondé has estado? What’s this BigBlogExchange Business?

Andy, ¿Dondé has estado? What’s this BigBlogExchange Business?

Excuses, Excuses and the Big Blog Exchange

(Explanation of the BigBlogExchange Included below)


Hey all, I know I haven’t been at my usually 2-3 articles per week, but I have an excuse or at least a few of them.  I apologize for being slightly MIA (missing in action) on my blog, but I am doing my best to produce articles when I can! Hopefully soon, I will be back on it again.

So, let’s hear the excuses…

1.) School –  I am not a full-time nomad (yet). I may aspire to be in the future, but at least for the moment I am temporarily stationary.  I am taking some classes in Mechanical Engineering, which keep me quite busy.  This semester has definitely challenged my time management skills and study habits.  Thermodynamics, physics, and calculus are now close friends of mine.

2.) Work – I also work.  I know you do too and probably don’t care, but I have been busy trying to make some spare change.

3.) Setting up new things for the site – I may not have written too many new articles lately, but I have added some new features.  One of these, would be my most recent edition: a newsletter.  Before, I was using WordPress’s generic email sending out new posts, but I have officially made the transition to a full newsletter that I look to produce 2-3 times monthly.  If you want to sign up for that, you can do that here.  You’ll get a personal update on the site and links to the newest content.

I have also been in search of a new theme, that I will be working on soon.  I do not know exactly when I will transform the site, but it will likely be in the next few months.

4.) Big Blog Exchange – A few weeks ago, I noticed that someone posted this upcoming “blog exchange”.  The exchange, would be facilitated through a competition that was to take place, during the time period of March 1st until April 15th.  It sounded interesting at the time, but I didn’t know much about it or read too much into it.  I decided to sign-up for their newsletter so I’d be notified when the competition started.

Fast-forward to March 1st, as I go through my morning email checking routine, I noticed an email from the, saying something to the extent of ‘The Big Blog Exchange competition is open. Get your entries in!’  I thought about it for a few minutes, then decided to enter my blog’s name into the competition.  I let a few friends know that I had entered into the competition, and I was quite fortunate to receive some early support.  Since then, I have managed to stay in the top 20 world-wide with over 500 competitors! I could not have done that without you.

Thanks so much to those who voted! I really appreciate the support!

What is the BigBlogExchange? The BigBlogExchange is a first ever competition being sponsored by Hostelling International, the well-renowned hosteling organization with locations around the world.   In a nutshell, the competition is open to bloggers of all kind from around the world.  Each blogger has a chance to enter the reason why they should be chosen, then is eligible to receive votes by those who support them.

What is at stake? What do you win? After the competition ends (April 15th), the top 25 bloggers from each region (There are 4: Americas, Middle East & Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Europe) will be considered finalists.  Out of these finalists, judges will get together and review, and choose 14 blogs based on their content and applicability to the exchange.  Judges will additionally select 2 bloggers at random.  These 16 winners will be notified and sent on an exchange for 10 days with a blogger from another region, exchanging both blogs and cultures.

Outside of sounding amazing, why are they doing this? Hostelling International is doing something that I find to be really unique.  They are attempting to show the world that culture can be exchanged by putting yourself in another’s shoes.  In fact, their philosophy towards this project is one that I find myself very inline with. Traveling gives people a unique opportunity to learn a multitude of things about the world.  I actually wrote an article about what traveling teaches you. I could probably write a book on it.  The reason that I am hooked on traveling is not just because you get to see cool things are take pictures in cool places.  It is partly because of the amount of personal growth and learning that takes place when you travel.  To those who allow it, traveling can be a great means of education.  Self-education, learning to be adaptable, learning how to persist through different situations, learn new languages, religions, and are just the beginning. The second major part of traveling would be because I like to share what I learn, because I know that others can learn from the world too.

What would this mean for me? Although it is in name and nature, a competition,  I don’t look at it as a competition.  I think that whoever wins this ‘competition’ will have the opportunity of a lifetime if they go in with the right mindset.  I am quite happy to be doing as well as I have been in this exchange so far, and I will continue to ‘compete’ because I like the potential opportunity of the exchange. Taking part in this exchange would in many ways be a dream come true.  I’ve dreamed for many years of getting the opportunity to experience the world first-hand. I believe that there are a lot of lessons and things to learn in the world. With this exchange, I’d have the chance to learn a new culture while promoting a cause that I am thoroughly passionate about. Furthermore, writing for me is something that I thoroughly enjoy when I am able to spend time doing it.  I am working towards doing what I love for life, rather than doing something just because I have to.  I also love people.  I am a very social person, and love the idea of connecting with a bunch of new bloggers from different backgrounds.

How can you vote?  If you like my content and philosophy of traveling, I’d really appreciate it if you’d consider voting for me. Voting is very simple and just takes a second.  I am currently as of March 12th in 17th place in the world.  I am quite proud of that, and I couldn’t have gotten anywhere near there without a great group of supporters like you.  To stay there, I will need more votes.


If you choose to vote, you just have to do 4 things that take less than 30 seconds.

1.) Go to the link below

2.) Click vote next to my site (

3.) Type your email address and press enter.

4.) Confirm the email in your email address. (Votes without confirmation won’t be counted.)

*If you choose to vote, I’d really appreciate it if you’d consider sharing it on Facebook or Twitter, I need all of the support that I can get to stay in the competition.


What articles coming up for BackpackingDiplomacy?

  • I plan on writing a new article or two on language
  • An article on a Middle Eastern country interviewing a friend
  • Photo essays
  • Más en español, te promeo!!
  • Possible guest post
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  1. The very best of luck with this Andy, it sounds like a fabulous opportunity. I wonder if you exchange with a blogger in the same sector or is there a risk that you exchange with someone who maybe blogs about poetry or pets? As a travel blogger who writes so well I know you’ll adapt perfectly if you are fortunate enough to exchange with someone.

    Wishing you the best of luck!

    • Many thanks! I wondered the same thing, but I think that is part of the mystery of the exchange. Because there are so many bloggers of different nature it seems that they may enjoy mixing it up to see what happens. I did see though that the itinerary will be tailored to the specialty of the blogger. For example, a blogger who writes about fashion will attend fashion shows or shopping experiences in the exchange. So who knows, but yes, a great opportunity for those who get selected. Thanks for stopping by, I will be reading your new content soon!

  2. You really deserved to win this competition, Andy 🙂 Are you interested in Indonesia? May you elected in the BBE. 😉

    • Many thanks! I’d love to visit Indonesia one day! Perhaps you can come to Louisiana one day? Appreciate the support and thanks for stopping by!

  3. Hi Andy – it’s Andy from Hétlövet, Hungary… I will also follow your blog since I’m planning to “disappear” in the saddle of my bike for some years, and livin’ on the road literally… 😀 I just need some spare money to make my plans come true… Best wishes from Europe… and also the best luck for you in the finals… Would be funny if we could exchange, don’t you think??? 😀 😀 Cheers: Andy

    • I like your name! Thanks for following, I look to follow your stuff as well. Where are you going to be traveling to? I have always wanted to take a long trip on a motor bike, as it is one of my “bucket list” items.
      Thanks for stopping by! It would be great to exchange! I have never been to Hungary and have heard so many wonderful things about it!

      • Hi… last season I made more than 20 000 miles on my bike… you can also watch a short movie edited of my trips in 2012… and also some others if you like… Also have a big plan – have to find some path to the management of Honda, to describe them… I know it’d work fine, and could be one of the biggest bike adventure ever… Keep in touch… Greetz: Andy

        • Great video Andy, you did some fantastic editing there. You are very creative. I’d be interested in hearing about your ‘big plan’ please feel free to share, it sounds interesting.

  4. Congratulations Andy !! We make it to top 100. Wish u all the best.. and let’s exchange our experience on blogging and traveling. Keep in touch 😀


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