Imagine wanting to visit a country with a friend, travel plan ready, as well as your budget. But because of a pandemic, lockdowns, flight bans, and strict tests are implemented, thwarting your travel plans, and your friend backs out. These didn’t stop Josiah Burton and Therese Rocca from traveling together, however. But here’s the twist: they were total strangers.

Burton is a 32-year-old man from Iowa, United States who had initial plans on going on a trip to Japan with a friend. However, the country banned travels from the U.S., and Burton’s friend decided to call off the plan. While looking for countries that don’t require any tests and where Americans are still free to enter, Burton chanced upon Turkey and chose it as his new travel destination.

“I didn’t really want to travel alone,” Burton said, “so I posted a message in the Facebook group that if anyone’s interested in coming or meeting up, or who will be in Turkey at the same time, to let me know.” The Facebook group, dedicated for travelers who need money-saving tips, was where Burton met Rocca, 36, from Denver. After reading up his post, the two conversed through private messages to discuss their travel plans and styles. She then finally decided to book the same flight to Turkey.

Their time spent together from September 5 to 12 was full of adventures, starting from Istanbul, their first destination. Burton and Rocca visited several tourist attractions in the city, such as Hagia Sophia, Taskim Square, and even went on a Bosporus Cruise. They also visited Cappadocia in central Turkey, famous for its unusual yet interesting landscape structures.

Rocca described the trip as something that exceeded her expectation, where she enjoyed her trip to Turkey and formed a wonderful bond with Burton. But, does their friendship end here? The answer is no. “In fact, we have even discussed setting up a business together to help others find great deals and travel buddies. We’re going to name it Vacation Pursuit. So, watch this space!”, Burton said.