A travel-loving husband and wife who embarked on a 12-month honeymoon across the world to interview couples on their own experience of love have said they saw “the same spark” in every culture.
From jungles and mountains to deserts and urban metropolises, writer and photographer Davor Rostuhar, 40, and his director wife, Andela, 36, spent a year travelling to 30 countries to meet other married couples from all walks of life.
On their year-long love tour, which took place from 2019 to 2020 but is set for release as a film this month, Davor said: “After travelling to about five or six countries, we quickly realised that love is ultimately the same all over the world.
“There may be differences between the relationships due to culture or tradition but you can see it through the nonverbal communication between people who are in love, that they have the same spark between them.
He added: “They don’t own anything, just the clothes they have with them and they’re probably the most humble people I have ever encountered. Their love for each other really shined and they were just beautiful.”
Davor and Andela’s own love story began when they first met in 2014 while working on Davor’s previous project, The Polar Dream, which documented his 47-day solo trek from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole.
In 2017, Davor finally arrived in Antarctica with his crew and surprised Andela with a proposal before setting off on his expedition.
From the moment we got engaged, we talked about where we would go for our honeymoon. We decided it had to be something big and special.
He said: “She was working as my assistant and very soon after we started working together, we fell in love and started a relationship.
“We had a lot in common, we’re both passionate about travelling and she had previously worked for a year in an African orphanage. We both wanted to travel the world.”
Davor says the proposal sparked conversations between the pair about their honeymoon.
He said: “From the moment we got engaged, we talked about where we would go for our honeymoon. We decided it had to be something big and special.
“Because we love travelling, we were always asking ourselves what would have happened if we were born into different cultures, would we have fallen in love in the same way? Would we love each other in the same way that we do now?
“Our honeymoon felt like the perfect opportunity to go and explore different cultures and how people love around the world.”
Returning home from his South Pole expedition in 2018, the couple tied the knot in a small ceremony in a forest near Zagreb, Croatia, with family and friends.
Davor said: “After the wedding, we toured our documentary, The Polar Dream, around Croatia which is how we raised the money for our new project, Love Around The World.
“We decided that we would embark on a 12-month long honeymoon from New Year 2019 to New Year 2020, travelling the globe and talking to other couples about their experience with love.”
He added: “We wanted to make a portrait of humanity through love. Love is universal, it’s something that everybody can understand and connect through, and we wanted to cover all types of relationships and different cultures.”
The pair set off for Paris before venturing to Oman. Along their journey, the couples Davor and Andela interviewed included a polyandrous couple in India and an arranged marriage in Saudi Arabia.
Davor said: “We wanted to speak to people who had different experiences of love and marriage due to their culture. We knew that, for example, in Kyrgyzstan, bride kidnapping still takes place, so we wanted to talk to a couple who experienced this, where the bride had been forced into the marriage after refusing the proposal.”
I think we’ve found that love is ultimately the same - the little spark between people that we witnessed during the interviews, the way a person is just called to another, it’s universal
He added: “We also spoke to a lesbian couple in Iran, a country where being gay is still punishable by death. In Namibia we spent time with hunter and gatherer tribes.
“We started all these conversations with the same question, ‘What is love’?
“While I wouldn’t say we were surprised by the answers, it was incredibly interesting to hear about different perspectives on love and what it means to different people.”
He added: “It was also amazing to watch people open up about their experiences. We watched them laugh and cry as they told us very intimate and private stuff about their lives. It was a nice surprise to see people open up like that.
“I think we’ve found that love is ultimately the same, the little spark between people that we witnessed during the interviews, the way a person is just called to another, it’s universal.”
Andela was also moved by the people she encountered on the trip.
She said: “It was incredible and the documentary became an honest and intimate presentation of romantic relationships between people around the world.
“Before we ever met in person, I was following Davor’s work and reading his books. He is such an inspiration, and for me, he was the best travel writer in Croatia.
“I really admired the way he sees the world and how he describes it.”
He added: “So, when I saw the ad to become his assistant, I immediately applied, and I knew I would be the perfect person for it because of my travelling experience and the fact that I really love his work.
“I didn’t expect him to propose in Antarctica, especially as we had been so busy preparing for the trip, but it was beautiful, and we have continued to travel together ever since.”
Now the pair are set to tour their movie around the UK, starting with three screening dates in London from September 25.
Andela said: “We’re showing the film in 22 cities within the UK over the next two months with Q&As with the audience and we’re planning to travel around the country in our free time.”
For more information and tickets to the UK screenings, visit: www.lovearoundtheworldproject.com