Light in January: Delightful IG accounts, secret apple investigators, and elephant butts.

What will 2021 bring? For starters, it's filled with amazing photos, cool articles, and - as always - awesome animals.

Happy New Year, friends!

As I emerge from the haze eating After Eight mints for two straight weeks (seriously, they are SO FANCY with their individual wrappings), I’m happy to enter a world of cozy reading and viewing.

Case in point: This remarkable tale about a different kind of detective work. I have a sneaking suspicion that you’ll love this article from Modern Farmer as much as I did. The Lost Apple Project is on a mission to track down forgotten, lost, and long-thought-extinct apple breeds in North America. So far, they’ve managed to find 23, thanks in part to over 600 tips from the public. This is exactly the kind of travel I love.

(Side note: Hey there, new readers! Great to have you here at the Clothesline, my virtual backyard where I gab about travel, media, reading, and good things.Don’t be shy.)

Speaking of travel, this week I blogged about Window-Swap.com, a delightful website that allows users to enjoy a video feed from a window somewhere in the world. Want to peer out a busy kitchen window and look down on the busy streets of Athens? Or gaze out some living room panes and look across farmers’ fields in Montana? It’s the coziest travel website imaginable and it’s perfect for a little virtual escape. Maybe someone should send my post to all the Canadian politicians who somehow felt it was prudent to travel internationally during our holiday lockdown. Hey, fools, enjoy a digital feed of a Hawaiian beach like the rest of us!

My barely contained pandemic-violation rage aside, Window-Swap also has an Instagram account, which is just as charming as their main website. It’s a happy reminder that, amidst all the highly edited and formatted influencer mumbo-jumbo out there, plenty of incredible content still exists. A few other accounts I’m loving include…

Thank You River Thames: Have you ever heard of mudlarking? In this little-known profession, practitioners comb the shores of a riverbank (often London’s River Thames) in search of history, treasure, lost artifacts, and cool, quirky riff-raff. It’s amazing what they find - and what they don’t. Gems like garnets are surprisingly common, while everyday items like sewing needles are, well, like needles in a haystack. I loved this account’s story of just how rare sewing needles are and how an African craftsman brought the technology to England in the mid-1500s.

Subpar Parks: This Instagram account honours state and national parks with beautiful artwork, which is then superimposed with quotes from real one-star reviews on Yelp. For instance, on a lovely painting of Indian Dunes National Park, it says “The dunes weren’t that high”. Delightful. Long live snark!

Royalty Now: My guilty pleasure account for a while now, I check it every day in case I missed any updates. Thanks to the skills of a Photoshop pro with a yen for history, the world’s most prominent figures are given a modern makeover. Check out this rendering of what Leonardo Da Vinci might look like today. I love that the creator puts a lot of research into what historical portraits they should use, even making adjustments to take into account how artists worked in the day (like all those Tudor portraits with the ridiculously thin lips!)

Finally, it’s not Instagram but this Twitter account has got me thinking…. Would you ever take on a year-long knitting project and approach it like recording a diary? I’m fascinated by the results.

Carrying on with our tradition, I leave you with a travel animal pic, this time baby elephant bottoms from Chobe National Park in Botswana. May all our travel dreams soon stop being virtual in nature.

Vanessa