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