Meet the couple who travelled to India without getting on a plane (and guess how long it took them to get there?)

If your next timeshare holiday is at the same resort in Spain you’ve gone to every year since you bought it, how about this story of adventure involving a Spanish woman and her Bulgarian partner?

Marta Samalea and her Bulgarian partner Boris Kanev took the slow route from Europe to India on their round the world adventure recently – and they didn’t board a single flight or use a smartphone the whole time they were on the road!

The couple journeyed through Turkey, Iraqi Kurdistan and Iran, the Central Asian desert, China and Burma before finally arriving on Indian soil.

Much of the journey was done by trusting strangers.  There were mishaps along the way, encounters with aggressive wild dogs, and Boris had a stint in hospital due to gallstones but all in all their epic 511 day adventure turned into something to really write home about – and now you can read about their adventures on their blog at

Amazingly, the intrepid couple made the entire trip without iPhones – unlike most of the rest of us who are superglued to our smartphones – and hitchhiked from Bulgaria all the way to India, never boarding a plane once!

Speaking of their extended adventure, Marta said:

‘We just had a couple of little misunderstandings here and there, and no big threats so far. But we encountered all other sorts of issues along the way, which spiced up the travel in their own way.

‘For a while Boris travelled with an empty backpack, because it had been stolen in a park, and we had encounters with nasty dogs, and Boris once ended up in a hospital due to gallstones. These things are no fun when they happen, but looking at them in the past, are part of the story. A bit of challenge sometimes makes us wake up from our happy hippy travel mood.’

‘We were probably at our best in Turkey, ready for the travel ahead, and in spring time while crossing from Iraq to Iran, and then we got really tired because one can sleep little under the heat of the summer sun, but recovered slowly in Central Asia thanks to the stunning nature around us.”

They had to spend a tough winter in the Caucasus but were greeted warmly by the inhabitants of the Georgian villages they passed through.  The landscapes of Iraqi Kurdistan blew them away and asked which part of the journey they would remember most, they said Central Asia was probably their favourite – where they “enjoyed endless hours in every home and admired every piece of craft.”
‘China was another world, a mosaic of cultures, and we will definitely return one day to Tibetan lands. In South East Asia we could finally relax, and it was a gift to spend a winter in the jungle and by the seaside, and magic to cross Myanmar.”

Boris and Marta are planning an eBook of their travel tales, but in the meantime you can catch up on all the stories, anectodes and photos at

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