Denver Girl Joins Complete Stranger On Abroad Journey, As a result of No One Else Wished To Journey With Her Throughout Pandemic – CBS Denver
(CNN) – In a year of bans, no-flyings, and general coronavirus mayhem, there are still some options for people looking for overseas adventure. But what if you are the only one in your group of friends willing to travel during these strange times?
This is exactly what happened to Josiah Burton and Therese Rocca. Nobody wanted to travel with them. And so, although they were completely strangers, they decided to go on vacation together.
“I was supposed to be going 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 that was open to the Americans.
“My friend decided he didn’t want to travel during the coronavirus, but I wanted to go anyway. I originally looked at Croatia but you needed a COVID-19 negative test within 72 hours. Turkey didn’t have such requirements, so that’s where I decided. “
Having no one, he reached out to 10XTravel, a Facebook group followed by 40,000 people, for advice on how to save money on the go.
“I didn’t really want to travel alone, so I posted a message in the Facebook group to inform myself if someone is interested in coming or meeting, or if they are going to be in Turkey at the same time.”
Rocca, 36, from Denver, saw the message and replied almost immediately.
“I was looking for someone to go on vacation with,” she tells CNN. “And I couldn’t get any of my friends or family members to leave because of their coronavirus worries.
“So I saw Josiah’s post and commented on it. He gave me his itinerary and said don’t hesitate to message me to discuss. So I did. “
“We talked about our travel styles, what we like to do. They know how gentle we are, how adventurous we are. And then it happened by chance on data that I had already picked up at work because I was supposed to be in South Africa. It’s currently closed to US citizens, so I had to cancel, ”she says.
After the couple had a quick chat online, Rocca decided to book the same trip to Turkey.
“She told me she would sleep on it,” says Burton. “But just an hour later, she wrote me a message saying she’d booked her trip with the same itinerary. That was that. From that point on we were travel companions. “
Rocca and Burton continued to chat online for the following days to book tours, transportation, and insurance.
“Then I realized that I was going out with a complete stranger,” says Rocca. “So, I said to him, are you sure you’re okay with a random girl you’ve never met? And he said: Yes, very well.
“There were moments like God, I hope we get along because we are only committed to it. My family and friends asked me if I was okay with someone I had never met.
“They also had concerns about going on vacation with a complete stranger. But they trusted my judgment; I trusted my judgment, ”she adds.
“I knew I would be fine, especially in these times. In fact, I felt much more comfortable having a travel companion than being alone because that was so. “
Going out with someone you’ve never met has its perks, says Burton.
“I’ve told my friends that going to my house with a stranger is the best of both worlds because you don’t feel obliged to that person. If they don’t want to do anything, you won’t get angry with them.
“We booked separate rooms, so we had our own space. If there were any problems we could just go ahead and do our own thing. I thought to myself, just go and enjoy it. “
The period from the first online introduction to booking the trip and the personal meeting was only four days. A timescale that may seem ridiculously fast to some, but is relatively “normal” for an online rendezvous.
“We met online less than a week before the trip,” says Burton. “Chatted for a few days, then both flew to Chicago Airport to fly to Istanbul. It was the first time we met at Chicago Airport. “
Rocca remembers that first meeting with a smile on her face. “He was waiting for me at the check-in counter because my flight arrived a little later than his flight. I walked up to him and said: Oh my god, you are a real person, ”she says.
The couple’s first encounter was just as memorable for Burton. “We hugged, checked in and then sat in the lounge and just continued chatting. Therese had never flown in Business Class, so we picked seats next to each other.
“The vacation started there, it’s been fun from that point on.”
After enjoying their first international flight together, the two arrived in Istanbul on September 5th and wasted no time exploring the city together.
“We were a little nervous when we landed because we weren’t sure what health checks to do or how it would be, but everything was fine,” says Burton.
“The first thing we did after checking in at the hotel was a hop-on and hop-off bus ride so we could see exactly where we were going and where everything was.
“We visited almost all of the major tourist attractions in Istanbul – Taksim Square, the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, the Basilica Cistern and Hagia Sophia. We also took a Bosphorus cruise. It was wonderful.”
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. From there they went to the coastal city of Kusadasi, where they went paragliding and visited hot springs.
With a mix of points and cash, Burton and Rocca managed to land some great deals on their Turkey vacation.
“We flew with Turkish Airlines and spent a little over a week in a mix of hotels. The Hilton was the main hotel group, but we also stayed in an independent hotel in Cappadocia.
“In total, we only spent about $ 1,000 each. This includes business class flights, hotel expenses and pocket money. “
After spending so much time together, the trip could have been one of two routes – big arguments or boyfriends. 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 out to be a real friendship, but I think it does. We are friends.
“We talked about meeting when we come back because we’re only a two-hour flight away from each other. It’s pretty easy for both of us to get a flight to Florida too so we can meet there. “
“We have definitely made a good friendship. We also talked about going on more trips together. I already booked a trip to Spain with my mother next May and Therese said she could join us.
“We even talked about starting a business together to help others find great deals and travel partners. We’ll call it vacation tracking. So check out this room! “
By Nathan Kay, CNN
The CNN wire
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