New website lets you peer out of the windows of homes around the world: ‘It’s the beautiful everyday’

A new website lets you travel abroad without leaving your couch. (Photo: Getty Images)
A new website lets you travel abroad without leaving your couch. (Photo: Getty Images)

A new website called WindowSwap is quenching wanderlust during the coronavirus pandemic by providing free (virtual) trips to anywhere in the world.

The site, launched by Singapore married team Vyshnav Supersubramaniam and Sonali Ranjit along with Maryam Touimi Benjelloun, is a simple one. People “open a new window to somewhere in the world” by clicking through a random platter of 10-minute home videos shot through windows. You’ll view a peaceful hilltop in Switzerland, a cityscape in Lithuania, a pretty patio in Germany, a quiet driveway in Argentina and a family’s backyard in Austria.

Ranjit and Supersubramaniam, both of whom work in advertising, felt creative during the tedium of quarantine. “We've been in full or partial lockdown for quite a while now,” Ranjit tells Yahoo Life. “Seeing views from our friends’s windows on Instagram made us wish we could just swap places.” Initially, a dozen of the couple’s friends helped out by contributing videos and soon the site “exploded” with more than 100 stranger submissions.

The view outside a home in Stockholm, Sweden. (Screenshot: WindowSwap)
The view outside a home in Stockholm, Sweden. (Screenshot: WindowSwap)
A beautiful landscape in Aeschiried, Switzerland. (Screenshot: WindowSwap)
A beautiful landscape in Aeschiried, Switzerland. (Screenshot: WindowSwap)

But don’t expect a slideshow of hotspot landmarks — instead, you’ll peer into local lives. Watch children at a playground in Turkey or a house cat in Qatar. Hear the roaring sound of a motorcycle in Japan or chirping birds in Germany. Want to stay local? Pop into a quiet street in Michigan or catch the Manhattan skyline from Long Island, N.Y.

“It's definitely going to be a while before we can travel again, and looking through someone else's window, complete with background noise, the murmur of conversation and birdsong really transports you,” explains Ranjit, adding that the project is a “mixture of voyeurism, escapism, tranquility and to see the world through someone else's perspective.”

A city view of Vilnius, Lithuania. (Screenshot: WindowSwap)
A city view of Vilnius, Lithuania. (Screenshot: WindowSwap)


A dream patio in Bavaria, Germany. (Screenshot: WindowSwap)
A dream patio in Bavaria, Germany. (Screenshot: WindowSwap)

Novelty is fascinating, agrees Elaine Paravati-Harrigan, a professor of psychology at Hamilton College in Clinton, NY. “One of the ‘Big Five’ personality traits is openness, particularly toward new experiences, and this is an easy way to fulfill that,” she tells Yahoo Life adding, “People are feeling stuck in a rut and craving connection and authenticity because we’re interacting less [during the pandemic]. And visiting a stranger’s bedroom from the safety of home can be exciting.”

The creative couple want to expand the website to more world views without losing its charm, says Ranjit. “It’s the beautiful everyday.”

For the latest coronavirus news and updates, follow along at https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus. According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC’s and WHO’s resource guides. 

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