As Australians and New Zealanders mark another Anzac Day with commemorations, it’s worth reflecting on how learning about a country’s past forms a great travel experience.
For many travellers, the idea of exploring the world is more than just an excuse to party, or tick off a city to say you’ve been there. It’s about enriching experiences, educating one’s self.
Anzac Day also allows those in Australia and New Zealand to look at its role in war and world politics, and in turn attending the service on Anzac Cove at Gallipoli is one of the most sacred things a citizen of these countries can do.
Looking at it from a travel perspective it’s easy to see how important the pilgrimage is.
There are many whose ancestors fought for the freedom of their nation in this bloody WWI battle. We may have lost, but it was for protecting our part of the world.
Even for those who don’t have a family link, teaching of the Gallipoli battle in schools is a vital part in teaching of our nation’s short post-colonisation history.
It is one of the most important days on our calendar; paying respects to those fighting for freedom in the ultimate way is to attend the Gallipoli dawn service.
Not everyone has this opportunity. But for those who do, anyone who has attended will tell you they learnt a lot in what was one of the most meaningful travel experiences of their lives.
That was, and still is, the case for me. I attended the 2011 service at Gallipoli with a tour group, camping out in the cold Turkish night listening to stories of those who fought, and at dawn commemorating those who died on the bloody battlefield mere metres away.
It remains one of the most important experiences not just in my travels, but in my entire life. It was one of the most sombre events I’ve ever experienced – but it was shared with like-minded travellers, and people who I still call friends today.
While I have no family link to the Anzacs (my grandparents all migrated from Greece to Australia in the 1950s), I am a proud Australian and it was an honour to attend this service and understand part of the reason my family was able to establish roots in Adelaide.
We now celebrate and commemorate this effort with a public holiday, and rightly so. But I choose to work as a tour guide this Anzac Day, because Adelaide, and Australia in general, wouldn’t be the way it is without the war efforts of our soldiers who kept our country from harm.
Travellers are able to see my beautiful city as a result, and public holidays don’t stop the world from turning. I’m happy to provide my own service in showing travellers how lucky Adelaide is to be as beautiful a place as it is.
A part of that is undoubtedly because our forces kept it safe, and still keep it safe. And we thank them for that.
Lest we forget.
Missed last week’s post? I wrote about how Adelaide gained the early nickname of the City of Churches.