Mumum and Vira were born, respectively, in Bandung, Java and Bandar Lampung, Sumatra. From a very early age, their parents took them traveling. In 2007 Mumum and Vira initiated a travel blog called Indohoy.com, which came online in April of 2009. Beside saving the world from ignorance, the main mission of their blog is to provide information about traveling in Indonesia, especially for foreigners.
What are your professional backgrounds?
M: Used to work in mining, then crossed fields to traveling, art and culture.
V: Used to work in broadcasting, then discovered traveling, print media and illustration.
What does Indohoy mean?
The name is based on a Dutch phrase ‘in de hooi’ which means “in the bushes.” The phrase inspired us because it connotes something sexual, and sex sells.
What specific skills do each of you bring to the blog?
We both basically carry out many of the same functions. We both write and take pictures. We both have a say on how the blog is designed, what we post on social media, what stays and what goes, etc. It’s a two-woman show so we do everything together with a little help from our developer. If we had to say how we might be different, Mumum focuses more on writing about the environmental side of traveling, while Vira leans to the artsy side.
What’s the best way to find Indonesia’s hidden travel spots?
Ask the locals – drivers, food hawkers and random people you meet on the street. It’s often difficult to sift through the overwhelming amount of information you get on the internet. The locals understand the area (but not the internet), hence they are the people to approach when trying to find secret destinations. We just pick their brains, basically.
Is it more challenging traveling as a woman in Indonesia than it is traveling as a man?
We’ve never been men, so we can’t really say. Cat calling and being under pressure as a woman is the same anywhere, traveling or not. We don’t think about it too much. But even if we were men, we wouldn’t talk much about politics or religion, not because we’re not interested, but because those subjects are just too complicated to write about.
What was the most remote and hard-to-get-to place you’ve ever traveled to in Indonesia?
Betung Kerihun National Park in West Kalimantan. We first flew to Pontianak, took a 16-hour car drive to Putussibau, took an hour’s motorcycle ride to the village, spent 3 hours on a long boat upstream and then made the arduous mountain trek through tropical forest to reach the park. Luckily, we met up with national park rangers and collaborated with them on creating content. If we hadn’t gotten in touch with them, we wouldn’t have been able to get into the park.
What is the most dangerous or scariest situation you’ve ever been in?
M: Riding a VW in Bromo. A local friend said the road was easy, but in fact it was too steep for the car. Hence, we backslid. Making the wrong turn would have resulted in us on going over a cliff. I guess it wasn’t our day to die.
V: Having a big menacing Komodo dragon crawl towards me and my friends during a trek on Rinca Island.
Outside of Indonesia, what are your favorite countries to travel in?
M: That’s a hard one. I can’t think of any particular country that stands out. Every place is unique in its own right.
V: Greece. It’s gorgeous and full of crazy mythology. Thailand because it feels similar and at the same time very different from Indonesia. Singapore because it’s the opposite of Indonesia but still has spicy food.
Why are there so many Indonesian young people traveling on the cheap?
Plane tickets are cheap so young people can afford them. My generation has also become more focused on experiences than on having stuff. Instagram is another factor. It’s a great visual platform to search for inspiration. You can learn from first-hand accounts because influencers who need to fill their feed. It doesn’t matter that you’re traveling on a budget; it matters that you just get there and do it #forthegram. It wasn’t like this just a few years back. People were still hooked on blogs.
What advice can you give to foreign visitors?
For women traveling alone in Indonesia, I suggest taking something to cover up for the places whose cultural traditions require modest clothing. Bring tampons because shops rarely sell them. Everyone should carry mosquito repellent and diarrhea medicine. But most crucially bring an open mind and just have fun.
What is the most common criticism and praise you get about your travel blog?
Criticism: We should promote our blog more. Praise: It’s cool, well-written and inspires people to visit out-of-the-ordinary travel destinations.
What do you like about running a travel blog?
We really like creating content and speaking our minds!
By Bill Dalton
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