Surf Bud­dies

YO­GYAKARTA IS THE HUB FOR THE COUCH­SURFERS, WHO SHARE AC­COM­MO­DA­TION DUR­ING THEIR TRAV­ELS.

The Jakarta Post - Magazine - - Community - WORDS & PHO­TOS MU­NIR WINKEL

Yo­gyakarta has over 4,500 Couch­Surf­ing mem­bers in who reg­u­larly plan ex­cur­sions, form friend­ships and host trav­el­ers from all over the world. Un­like many Couch­Surf­ing com­mu­ni­ties, where com­mu­ni­ca­tion ex­ists solely in the vir­tual world, in Yo­gyakarta, the com­mu­nity is vi­brant, strong and vis­i­ble in per­son. When I first boarded the train from Ban­dung to Yo­gyakarta, I knew none of that. All I had were the phone num­bers of three Couch­Surfers, whom I had con­tacted online only a few days ear­lier. Within an hour of my ar­rival, phone num­bers and text mes­sages trans­formed into faces and per­son­al­i­ties.

“Who is this?” mes­sages turned into di­rec­tions, and ad­dresses be­came front doors. I be­gan to learn just how in­ter­con­nected Yo­gyakarta’s Couch­Surf­ing com­mu­nity re­ally is.

“My friend Anies texted me that you were com­ing,” shouted Oc­ta­vian over the roar of his mo­tor­cy­cle, as we zoomed past the white walls of Ta­man Sari. Oc­ta­vian, who grew up in Yo­gyakarta, was host­ing me dur­ing my stay. His was one of the three num­bers I had in my phone.

“You know Anies?” I asked in­cred­u­lously. Hers was the sec­ond num­ber I had in my phone.

“Yeah,” Oc­ta­vian yelled, as we turned down a nar­row gang into his neigh­bor­hood. “I met her through Steve.”

Steve’s was the third num­ber I had in my phone. I was as­tounded – how did they all know each other?

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