While parts of the world slowly reopen and day-to-day activities start to resume, foreign travel is still widely restricted. But you can get a delightful reminder of the world outside your door—er, window—with this new website.
Window-swap is a little site with one purpose: to “open a new window somewhere in the world.” It’s quarantine’s Chatroulette—and an infinitely more picturesque version at that.
The project started when Sonali Ranjit and her husband Vaishnav Balasubramaniam, who are both directors at major creative agencies in Singapore, were bored with being stuck at home and only seeing the view from their own window. So they created a site where you can see someone else’s view instead and “feel a little bit better till we can (responsibly) explore our beautiful planet again,” Ranjit wrote on Bored Panda.
Arriving at your virtual Airbnb is easy to navigate. Click on the button at the center of the main page to be swept away to footage from another user’s window—wherever that may be—and let the mental getaway begin. Want a change of scenery? Simply click again to be whisked off to your next destination.
But it’s not just like you’re looking at Streetmode on Google Maps. Each window features the submitter’s name in the top left and their location in the top right, as well as any personal items that are picked up by the camera—a toaster in Wehrheim, Germany; planters and pillows in Ness Ziona, Israel; a mug in Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal. Each window gives you the opportunity to experience another part of the world through the intimate context of someone’s home.
And it’s not just static images on the screen—users submit 10-minute videos of their window view, which means you can watch as heavy rain falls among ferns in Gurgaon, India, or as the wind blows a willow tree in Glasgow, Scotland. You might even be charmed by a few happy pups, like a beagle on the porch in Bangalore and a gray cat on the window sill in Rochester, NY.
The couple says more than 500 people have submitted their videos to the website, and about 100 have been uploaded so far. They screen them the “old-school way, so that takes a bit of time.” Contributors have been as young as 21 and as old as 81. If you want to contribute your own little corner of the world, you can do so here.
The result is delightfully surprising—I just wanted to keep clicking. In fact, I did click through dozens of views, inspiring a nostalgia for when I could simply buy a ticket to sate my wanderlust and cure a little homesickness for places I haven’t been yet. And the view is beautiful, no matter where you’re currently sitting.