Kristen’s Gallipoli Pilgrimage

My trip to Turkey as part of the Victorian Gallipoli 2015 ANZAC Day Dawn Service Tour is something that I will probably never be able to describe to give it enough justice or match what I both experienced and felt, emotionally and physically. To travel over eighteen hours across the globe to an unfamiliar country with people I had never before was incredibly daunting to me. Along with the added pressure and privilege of representing my ancestors, family, school, community, state and country on my shoulders, from the moment I was selected, I knew that this trip would test me, and be something that would change the course of my life. From being thrown head first into Turkish culture at the Grand Bazaar, experiencing the calm and peace amongst the chaos in the Blue Mosque, retaining our sanity through the thirty six sleepless hours that is the ANZAC Day Dawn Service, to feeling the hallowed and haunting memories of the century old conflicts as we stood on many of the sacred fields on the shores of the Gallipoli Peninsula, we relied on each other every step of our emotional journey. At school, we learn about conflict constantly, yet you can never fully understand the real impact of the battle until you step a foot onto a battlefield, and hear the unearthly silence that fills the air around it, or see the names of thousands of young men without a headstone that has been found by their families. After going on this journey, I have not only experienced a new, rich and fragrant culture, met new and lifelong friends, and been a part of a pinnacle moment in history, but I have also gained a new found sense of honour, pride and determination to live my life to its upmost potential, and to respect all challenges that are handed to me. After all, if the thousands of ordinary Australians who have risked their lives throughout time to protect our nation did not face that unknown future that awaited them, or had not made that choice to put themselves on the line for the sake of others, then our lives would not have been as we known them now.

~Kristen Sellings


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