His name was Milorad Rajčević but his business card read only “world traveler”. Because that was precisely who and what he really was! With only 150 dinars of allowance, Milorad managed to travel the whole world.
Milorad Rajčević from Leskovac is the first Serb who travelled the world. But this didn’t happen by accident. From a very early age, Milorad displayed a restless spirit and a strong desire to discover new places and people.
An adventurer from the start
Milorad was born in the late 19th century in the vicinity of Leskovac. He finished 4 grades of primary school and 2 of civic school. He was interested in painting, so, at the age of 15, Milorad traveled to Vienna where studied painting at the court painter.
Beginning with Vienna, Milorad’s wanderlust led him from one city after to another. He’d been to Salzburg, Munich, Stuttgart, Nuremberg, Ulm, Paris, Geneva, Lausanne, Bern, Zurich, Basel and Lucerne. After roaming Europe, he then went to America, where after a few months he injured his leg. They sent him back home because they discovered he didn’t have a passport.
This didn’t discourage him at the least, and he continued his journey across continents. He traveled to Romania and then Constantinople, Alexandria, and Jerusalem.
His first travels lasted 4 years, and during this time, he learned 5 languages.
They made him an offer he couldn’t refuse
In 1910, Rajčević knocked on the door of “Mali Journal”, one of the most read daily newspapers of the time.
The Savić brothers had a proposition for Milorad. He would be given 2 years and a monthly allowance of 150 dinars to travel Europe, Asia, America and Africa.
There was an additional condition and that was that Rajčević had to send them a letter and certificate from the authorities that he was in each of the places he visited.
Milorad was absolutely thrilled with the offer and accepted!
Milorad’s journey across the globe
On the March 14, 1910 Milorad Rajčević began his journey.
The only thing he carried in his backpack apart from necessary medicine was an empty travel book in which he would collect signatures of all the important people he would come across during this trip across the world.
His journey started great! The first person to sign his travel book was Prince Đorđe Karađorđević himself, whom he ran into in Gornji Milanovac. Milorad was bound south, to Montenegro, where his book was signed by yet another prince – prince Danilo of Montenegro. His journey led him to Italy, then France, England, Germany and finally Russia.
Back then, travelling the globe was extremely rare, sensational so to speak, and because of that even foreign media reported on Milorad’s venture.
From Siberia he entered Asia where he got acquainted with a totally different culture.
He visited Vladivostok and arrived to Japan where he was fascinated with the customs.The Crown Prince refused to sign his book most likely because in Japan the emperor is considered a deity.
Rajčević continues to Singapore, Malaysia and Siam, where he was welcomed by the King himself. The King gifted him a motor bike. He had an extraordinary reception in India, and from there continued to Ceylon, Persia, Syria, where he was greeted by the patriarchs of Jerusalem and Armenia.
Milorad arrived in Belgrade on September 21, 1911, where a ceremonial welcome was organised in his honour. Even though he didn’t manage to go to the remaining two continents, he didn’t give up.
In 1913 he traveled across America and after the WWI ended, Rajčević finally went to Africa.
From 1910 to 1930 Milorad Rajčević travelled 70 countries as a correspondent. His travel book came to be the biggest and most valuable collection of autographs including those of kings, princes, state officials and other notable people.
To this day, Milorad Rajčević remains a huge inspiration to all globetrotters out there.