(CNN) – In a year of lockdowns, flight bans and general coronavirus chaos, there are still options for those seeking adventure abroad. But what if you’re the only one in your group of friends who wants to travel in these strange times? This is exactly what happened to Josiah Burton and Therese Rocca. No one wanted to travel with them. And so, even though they were strangers, they decided to go on vacation together. “I was supposed to go to Japan with a friend, but Japan is now closed,” Burton, a 32-year-old from Iowa, told CNN Travel. “So I was looking for a country open to Americans. “My friend decided he didn’t want to travel during the coronavirus, but I still wanted to go. I was originally looking at Croatia, but you needed a negative Covid test within 72 hours. Turkey did not have such a requirement, so I chose there. Having no one to go with him with, he turned to 10XTravel, a Facebook group followed by 40,000 people who offer advice on how to save money on the road. “I didn’t really want to travel alone, so I posted a message in the Facebook group so that if anyone would like to come or meet, or who will be in Turkey at the same time, let me know.” Rocca, 36, of Denver, saw the message and responded almost immediately. Travel Companions “I was looking for someone to go on vacation with,” she told CNN. “And I couldn’t bring any of my friends or family members over because of their concerns about the coronavirus. “So I saw Josiah’s post and commented on it. He gave me his itinerary and said, feel free to send me a message to discuss it. So I did it. “We talked about our travel styles, what we like to do. You know, how sweet we are, how adventurous we are. And then it happened by chance on dates that I had already taken off at work because I was supposed to be in South Africa. It’s closed to US citizens at the moment, so I had to cancel, ”she said. After a brief chat online, Rocca decided to book the same trip to Turkey. “She told me she was going to sleep on it,” Burton says. “But barely an hour later, she texted me and told me that she had booked her trip with the same itinerary. That was it. From there we were traveling companions. Rocca and Burton continued to chat online over the next few days to book tours, transportation and insurance. “Then it dawned on me that I was going to go with a stranger,” says Rocca. “So, I said to her, are you sure you agree with a random girl you’ve never met accompanying you?” And he was like: Yeah, totally fine. “There were times like, God, I hope we get along because we just made a commitment to do it. My family and friends asked me if I would agree with someone I had never met. “They were also wondering if I should go on vacation with a stranger. But they trusted my judgment; I trusted my judgment, ”she adds. “I knew everything would be fine, especially during these times. In fact, it made me feel a lot more comfortable having a traveling companion than going out on my own because of what was going on. First Time Dating Getting away with someone you’ve never met has its perks, says Burton. “I was telling my friends that going with a stranger to me is kind of the best of both worlds, because you don’t feel obligated to that person. If they don’t want to do something, you won’t tend to get bored. “We had booked separate rooms, so we had our own space. If there were any problems then we could just go and do our own thing. I thought to myself, go ahead and enjoy it. The time from the initial online presentation to booking the trip and meeting in person was only four days in total. A schedule that may seem ridiculously quick to some, but is relatively “normal” for an online appointment. “We met online less than a week before the trip,” says Burton. “I chatted for a few days, then the two of them flew to Chicago airport for the flight to Istanbul. It was the first time we met, at the Chicago airport. With a smile on his face, Rocca remembers this first meeting with great fondness. “He was waiting for me at the check-in desk because my flight arrived a little later than his. I walked up to him and thought to myself: Oh my God, you are a real person, ”she said. Equally memorable for Burton was the couple’s initial meeting. “We kissed, checked in, then we sat in the living room and continued to chat. Therese had never traveled in business class before, so we chose side-by-side seats. “The holidays started there, it was fun from there.” Nerves on Arrival After enjoying their first international flight together, the couple arrived in Istanbul on September 5 and wasted no time exploring the city together. “We were a little nervous when we landed because we didn’t know what health checks we needed to do or what it was going to look like, but it was okay,” says Burton. “The first thing we did after arriving at the hotel was to take a hop-on hop-off bus tour so we could see exactly where we wanted to go and where everything was. “We visited almost all of Istanbul’s major tourist attractions – Taksim Square, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Basilica Cistern, Hagia Sophia. We also took a cruise on the Bosphorus. It was amazing. ”The new friends then flew to Cappadocia, an area of unusual landscape formations in central Turkey, where they stayed in a cave hotel and enjoyed a hot air balloon ride. , they traveled to the coastal town of Kusadasi, where they went paragliding and visited hot springs. Using a mix of points and cash, Burton and Rocca managed to get some great deals on their vacation in Turkey. “We flew with Turkish Airlines and stayed in several hotels for a little over a week. The Hilton was the main hotel group, but we also stayed at an independent hotel in Cappadocia.” In total we didn ‘Spent only about $ 1,000 each. That includes business class flights, hotel costs, and spending money. ”After spending so much time together, the trip could have gone two ways: major spinoffs or put firm. For Rocca and Burton, it was the latter. “I would say the trip exceeded my expectations,” says Rocca. “I didn’t think it would necessarily turn into a true friendship, but I think it does. We are friends. “We talked about meeting up when we got back because we’re only two hours away from each other. It’s pretty easy for both of us to have a flight to Florida too, so we could meet up there. Burton agrees. “We have definitely formed a good friendship. We also talked about taking more trips together. I have already booked a trip to Spain with my mother next May and Thérèse said she could join him. “In fact, we even discussed starting a business together to help others find great deals and travel companions. We’ll call it Vacation Pursuit. So watch this space! The-CNN-Wire ™ and © 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved. .