When you talk to Davor Rostuhar, you get the impression that you’ve known him for years. He speaks calmly, looks you straight into the eyes, and, though he has work up to his ears, he does not fob you off. Asked how he would sum up his life story and achievements, he answers simply, without exaggerated emotions or motivational phrases. “Nothing special has happened to me that would turn my scale of values upside down. I simply worked out very early on that life is a huge gift and we don’t have long to live it, so I have no intention of wasting a single day on something that I don’t find fulfilling.”

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Davor Rostuhar
traveller to South Pole

As a teenager, he hitchhiked across Europe. He has cycled from Zagreb to Egypt and travelled around on foot, by motorbike, and in a kayak. He has been to more than a hundred countries, published seven books, written for top travel journals, and held hundreds of lectures and exhibitions. He has a loving wife and a huge fan club. At the beginning of the year he completed his most challenging expedition so far – a solo, unsupported and unassisted trek to the South Pole. Yet he keeps his two feet firmly planted on the ground.

Fans were my biggest supporters

His motto in life is clear: live, do things the best you can, and your interests will become your profession, bearing fruit and inspirational for other people around you. And the fact that his surroundings are in search of such inspiration was confirmed when he tried to finance his polar expeditions through a crowdfunding campaign.

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“I’m not a fool taking reckless risks. The preparations cost me a lot of money and it was hard work. It took me two years to get everything I needed. But the greatest support for me came from the people. When I felt at my lowest ebb, I knew they were there with me, and I had to do it for them,” he remembers how what he calls his “Tribe of Dreamers” helped him, especially with motivation during his courageous journey.

The idea of the South Pole expedition came naturally. “If I was to recapitulate my traveller’s history, I started as a hitchhiker, then a backpacker whose main motivation was to make the most of the experience for the least amount of money and then came the need to discover something new. I made expeditions to the jungles, to the desert, high into the mountains ... the South Pole was just the next step,” he says.

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1,192 kilometres to go…

Davor was, of course, also motivated by the fact that no Croat before him had undertaken this extreme 1,200-kilometre, 47-day long expedition. But his main motivation was a personal goal – he wanted to prove that it is worth pursuing your dreams. He stepped way out of his comfort zone to observe how we can work with motivation. He has also described this in his latest book, Polar Dream. “In my projects, I want to pass on my experience of how to overcome fears, how not to stray from the path, and how to keep going. And this was an ideal opportunity. To walk through this piece of genuine wilderness without any assistance,” explains Davor, who carefully kept notes throughout and later shared them with the community of people on his social media channels.

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Davor learnt that the secret to success lies in good preparation. He prepared so well for the expedition that he never even thought of quitting. Still, it was hard at times. “Of course, there were moments when it was terribly difficult. Especially in the mornings, when I would wake up and have to get out of my toasty sleeping bag – the only place it was warm. The first day, when the sledge that I was pulling weighed 137 kg, I only covered 8 kilometres. I remember the unpleasant feeling when I wrote in my diary that I still had 1,192 kilometres to go. But if you keep at it, no horizon is too far away,” he sums up.

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And on and on, for love

Although Davor had done something amazing, he certainly hasn’t rested on his laurels. He is moving forward, working on a joint project for 2019 with his wife, who supports him all the way in everything he does. “She’s the best partner I could have. When I felt weak, she held me up. Gave me optimism when I was in doubt. She is also a passionate traveller and next year we plan to travel around the globe working on our new project called ‘Love Around the World’,” says Davor. They want to chart what forms love takes in more than 20 different cultures that take a much different approach from our Western world. The project will result in a blog, an exhibition, a book and a documentary.

Think that’s amazing? Davor claims it’s not that difficult. He thinks people often make the mistake of having goals that are either too small or too big, when all we need to do is find our own potential. Then just grit your teeth, flex your muscles and keep at it. Then it’s hard not to succeed.

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