What is Window Swap?
“If you want the people to understand you, invite them to your life and let them see the world from your window!”Mehmet Murat ildan
Calm down. I said window swap. Not wife swap. This is not the article for you, pervert!
So what is Window Swap? It allows us to virtual travel in these unprecedented times. It’s a unique way to see the world, of seeing a little of another’s life. Users from all over the world share a video: the view from their window.
With a click, You’ll be transported somewhere in the world, to see the view from another person’s window. It might be a busy bustling street in hectic Mumbai or a calm backyard in London or Paris. This is a way to connect us all. This is a cure for your wanderlust travel itch.
isn’t that wonderful? For just a moment I get to see another life, seeing they see, and literally a window onto another place. Due to the current situation, we have itchy feet. This is a fantastic way to virtual travel the world when for most of us that still isn’t possible because seeing the world in person isn’t practical nor safe.
How To Window Swap?
The service is free. There’s no sign-up process or logging in. On opening the URL you find a mostly blank screen. At the centre there are the words suggesting you to “open a window to somewhere else in the world,” Isn’t that inviting? This is the feeling of wanderlust travel. That desire. That excitement and expectation.
Clicking on those words transports you away to another place, to another person’s home, to look through their window! Where you go is completely random. This is a part of its charm. I love the mystery and sense of adventure. This is what travel is all about, isn’t it? The unexpected? The journey and the views. This is travel.
Travel with me via Window Swap
So now I’m going on an armchair adventure… OK, I am actually sitting in a swivel office chair but that’s not such a romantic notion so picture me in a large comfortable armchair, ok? What am I wearing? Well… Never mind. You really don’t want to know… so picture me in a garish Hawaiian shirt chock full of blue parrots and green palm trees. I’m wearing flipflops, a large straw sombrero hat and sunglasses. I’m totally ready for random world travels and you are invited. Who knows where we will go! Hang on.
Are you ready to window Swap? Let’s go to virtual travel to…
Window Swap no.1: Mumbai, India
“India is a place where colour is doubly bright. Pinks that scald your eyes, blues you could drown in.”– Kiran Millwood Hargrave
The first window view is a rainstorm soaked Mumbai road. Pedestrians hurry, they hold umbrellas like a shield held high in scant hope of escaping the worst of the deluge. The rain is an unrelenting torrent that coats and colours darkly the rich vegetation. Occasionally a car or bike passes through the wet soaked scene with a honking horn, a percussion note, to the drumming drops of the storm’s song. By the side of the road waits an empty optimistic tuk-tuk. I love the trees! We don’t have trees like this here in London. The branches are sinuous and it seems as they spread wide in celebration of the life giving waters.
Window Swap no.2: Pionki, Poland
“there are NO good quotes about Poland. Why? Answers on a postcard, please.”– Me
Another click and suddenly the rain is gone. The window looks out onto a large green garden in a residential area. Occasionally a car passes briefly breaking the peace. A cuckoo calls somewhere in the distance. A dog barks. This window isn’t anything special but is a small slice of an ordinary person. It can be easy to forget that this is what we really travel for. It’s not just about the grand sights (although I truly love those) It’s to experience a new culture and the people that live there.
Window Swap no.3: Rome, Italy
If I’m in Rome for only 48 hours, I would consider it a sin against God to not eat cacio e pepe, the most uniquely Roman of pastas, in some crummy little joint where Romans eat. I’d much rather do that than go to the Vatican. That’s Rome to me.-Anthony Bourdain
A beautiful street dressed in peach and lined with trees. I would know this wasn’t London. The street has a romantic elegance to it. The windows bordered either side by slender shades to guard the occupants against the Mediterranean sun. Beyond a gated gap there is a wonderful courtyard. A kind of secret garden. Suddenly from Inside, out off camera, sing song Italian voices drift, This is the soundscape of the lives lived just out of sight.
Window Swap no.4: Medellin, Colombia
“More annoying than a slice of toast in your bra” (Más cansón que una tostada en un brasier)– Colombian saying! ( MORE )
The city of Colombia, painted in white and sunlight, stretches out beyond the window. In the distance, beyond the noise and crouched white homes, a mountain climbs the sky. This time I’m standing inside a beautiful apartment. A table with a potted plant. A mirror hangs on the wall. This reminds me of a thought I return to from time to time: If I vanished, leaving only my stuff, what would somebody think of my life and who I am? What stories would they conjure?
Window Swap no.4: New York, U.S.A
“The city seen from the Queensboro Bridge is always the city seen for the first time, in its wild promise of all the mystery and beauty in the world.”– F. Scott Fitzgerald
Our next window swap is New York. This is an unmistakable cityscape: a jumble of towering buildings capped with water towers are instantly recognisable. Above the city, there is a big blue sky with mountains of clouds the colour of spilt milk. Soothing music plays in the room. There is no motion. I feel almost like a ghost. What do rooms do when we are not in them? Just by existing in this space, we change the feeling and the moment.
Window Swap no. 5: Egypt, Giza
“Egypt is a great place for contrasts: splendid things gleam in the dust.”― Gustave Flaubert
Click! Suddenly I’m in Egypt. I can almost feel the white hot dusty heat. A chaotic cacophony of cars beeping creates a soundscape to the amazing view. Almost impossibly imposing 2 pyramids dominate the sandy horizon! What a sight. What I would give to walk the baked streets in search of coffee and mezze before working my way to the majestic pyramids. OF course, eating and drinking come first. You know… Gotta have priorities, right. Those things have been there for ages and they can wait!
Window Swap no.6: Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City
“Going to Vietnam the first time was life-changing for sure. Maybe because it was all so new and different to my life before and the world I grew up in. The food, culture, landscape, and smell; they’re all inseparable. It just seemed like another planet; a delicious one that sort of sucked me in and never let go.”– Anthony Bourdain
The last window swap in our virtual world tour is a view from what might be a cafe? I wonder who sits here and sips strong Vietnamese coffee? The life of the city rushes by on bikes and on rare occasion a car. In the background, a modern skyscraper glistens and punctures the sky. The sounds of distant Vietnam drift into my home. What I would give to step into that window and walk the streets. Explore! Find a cafe and watch the world or, better still, feed my ever hungry travels belly!
The world is waiting…
“No matter what you do this year or in the next hundred, you will be dead forever.”– Gabriel Garcia Marquez
As the days go by my wanderlust travel desire to see the world grows. My feet are hungry for the dust of distant places on my souls and to eat the miles. My eyes long for new vistas and visions. My heart years for stories of the road. My belly hungers ( OBVIOUSLY) for all the delicious foods out there yet to try!
This wonderful idea of sharing our windows brings the world a little closer and in doing so brings us all a little closer too. This certainly scratches my travel itch a little and I hope it scratches yours too. For now, the world waits for the corona storm to pass, we shelter in place, and dream of better days. Those will come. They always do. Everything in its time. All life is just a sequence of moments.
The virtual trip is over but there are many more windows to discover. They are waiting for you. Waiting for you to open a new window onto another place. Who knows where you may end up? Possibly even a TravelsBelly window?
It’s time for your own Window Swap adventure.
“The original idea of the web was that it should be a collaborative space where you can communicate through sharing information.”Tim Berners-Lee (Inventor of the World Wide Web)
In this always on connected and social media age, we are rarely actually connected or social. We are an information point, an instantaneous instant from each other but often separated by a colossal void of hurt and harm rather than bound and bonded by humanity and our differences divide us more than ever. We have never been more alone in the cold harsh glow of an LCD sun than we are now with social media. Edited lives play out in fake perfection.
Hearts and likes litter our feeds without context or meaning. I’ve been guilty of this myself in the past. In the past few weeks, I’ve made an effort to say something, anything. If I can take the time to like something then I cay say why. We are built for words and feeling they carry – we connect and build bridges to each other with those. A thumbs up or a heart is a cold thing that will never carry any understanding.
I’m old enough to remember when the internet was young, wild and free. YES. I am that old. Get off my virtual lawn ya whippersnapper! The web was built by hippies, dreamers and digital pioneers. It was a chaotic wild west of garish personal pages and experimentation. This was before big business came, this was before “social media” came with its algorithms to sell us and divide us. This was before they built the walls.
The internet used to be a dream of freedom where borders would melt away and we would all meet online anonymous of country and creed. At this point, this dream seems mostly dead, but it lives on in little corners of the World Wide Web with the Window Swap project.
Before you go!
“Every time you don’t subscribe or share a Travels with my Belly post a fairy dies.”– Martin the wise Travel Belly
So I hope you enjoyed seeing the world through windows on this virtual travel adventure! I have a few other articles with ideas on how to satisfy your wanderlust travel hunger without ever leaving home. There are many ways to see the world without ever leaving home. If you enjoyed this post then I think you’ll really enjoy some of my other virtual travel articles. How about taking a slow tv tour around the world? Another way to virtual travel is through food ( travel belly recommend! ) Travel around the world in with 6 delicious dishes!
If you enjoyed this then please do hit the share button as this really helps the site grow! If you REALLY enjoyed it then please do subscribe and be notified of new posts from Travels with my Belly. Don’t worry, there will never be spam. The only spam I like is covered in batter and deep fried.
As ever, please leave your comments, thoughts, angry rants, conspiracy theories, or whatever takes your fancy down in the comments section. I love to engage with readers! Have you travelled via window? What was your favourite window?
Stay safe & Happy Travels.