Draft:Milorad Rajčević

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Milorad Rajčević (Prokuplje, Kingdom of Serbia, 1890 - Hilandar, Mount Athos, Greece, after 1945) was Serbian travel writer and globetrotter. He died at Hilandar as a recluse monk by the name of Evdokije.

Milorad Rajčević was actually born in Prokuplje, though most articles cite nearby Leskovac in the late 19th century in south Serbia. When Milorad graduated from high school, an early interest in painting led him to Vienna to work with a court painter there.[1]

While in Vienna Milorad began to get restless, however, and wanderlust soon took precedence over his studies. With each passing city his interest in the world grew, an interest that couldn’t be contained by Salzburg, Munich, Stuttgart, Nirenberg, Ulm and the rest. Milorad tried to knuckle down with the paintbrush, spending three months working in Paris at the atelier of Georges Weber, but it was no use. The road was the only home he knew. After moving from France to Switzerland he visited Geneva, Lausanne, Bern, Zurich, Basel and Lucerne and then headed towards the Adriatic seaport of Rijeka where he met captain Marko Karakšić who arranged for Rajčević to board a trans-Atlantic passenger liner "Ultania", destined for New York City, without documentation. His stay in the United States was of short duration before he was deported for illegally entering the country. The stay was memorable, however, and he even participated in a marathon where he hurt his leg that landed him in the hospital where it was discovered that he was without a passport. No sooner he was back in the Old Country. For a restless traveler like himself, this was only a small set back to his globetrotting quest.[2]

This didn’t deter him, however, and he simply continued his travels in the opposite direction. He headed to his aunt in Romania, who was generous enough to fund his travels through to Constantinople, and via Alexandria to the Holy Land of Jerusalem. His first travel took four years in which he learned to speak five languages besides his maternal and paternal Serbian.

Realizing that the traveling life was the only one for him, Milorad went to the offices of the popular newspaper Mali Žurnal (Little Journal)[3]in 1910 to let everyone in the country know of his globetrotting intentions. The owners of the paper, two brothers named Savić, saw before them a sympathetic character, much like Jules Verne's Phileas Fogg of "Around the World in Eighty Days" fame. The brothers were so impressed by Rajčević's sincerity and enthusiasm that they offered him a bet of sorts. They bet Milorad that he could not travel the world in two years, on a monthly stipend of 150 Serbian dinars. Milorad Rajčević immediately accepted the challenge. Furthermore, he had to send home a letter of proof from the authorities in each of the nations he passed through. That meant a signature from the ruler of a country, either an emperor, king, prince, sultan, dictator or president.[4]

Armed with a backpack and a notepad, he set off 14 March 1910. Within two hours he had gained his first signature, an autograph of none other than Peter I Karađorđevic himself. More success followed with the penmanship of Montenegro’s Prince Danilo, but his initial attempts to move through Africa via Libya were thwarted by the whole ‘war’ thing. Undeterred, Milorad changed his route and heading to Imperial Russia via England and France before heading on to Siberia and Asia.

Milorad had a strange time in Asia. The culture was so different to him that it made him yearn for Europe, it made him miss something a little more familiar. He was still greeted with joyful enthusiasm wherever he went, but for the first time in his life, Milorad Rajčević began to miss home. Things weren’t helped by the Crown Prince of Japan refusing to sign his book, on account of the Emperor of the Land of the Rising Sun being treated as a deity. Milorad moved on, and had much more success in Siam (modern-day Thailand) where the King gave him his very own motorbike. Milorad was greeting as something approaching a hero in India, in Persia, in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and more. He was a true globetrotter and a true ambassador by then.

He was still a Serbian however, and on September 21, 1911, he returned to his home country. Once more he was received as a hero, but his traveling wasn’t quite complete. Africa still eluded him, and one more plan to travel the mysterious continent was thwarted by the First Balkan War, in which Milorad participated as a volunteer soldier. He traveled the length and breadth of the USA following that war, before another attempt to head to Africa was blocked by the Great War. After the war ended, Milorad Rajčević finally made it to Africa.[5]

Works[edit]

His three travel books remain one of Serbian history’s great collections, full of the autographs of early 20th century leaders and people of importance.

  • Put oko sveta: Na dalekom Istoku or Travel Around the World: At The Far East (1930):

https://books.google.ca/books?id=laagOAAACAAJ&dq=milorad+rajcevic&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwih6PrzprjjAhWlna0KHRKXBpMQ6AEIKjAA

  • Put oko sveta: Iz zarke Afrike or Travel Around the World: The Dark Continent (1924):

https://books.google.ca/books?id=ldb-OQAACAAJ&dq=milorad+rajcevic&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjE6KvYp7jjAhUGX60KHaVBAtkQ6AEIMDAB

  • Autografi znamenenitih licnosti XX veka 1910-1931 od prvog srpskog "Globetrotera" -- Milorad Rajčević or Autographs of Prominent People of the 20th Century 1910-1931 from the first Serbian globetrotter -- Milorad Rajčević:

https://www.antikvarne-knjige.com/knjige/autor.php?autor_id=2691

References[edit]