NEW πŸ“—Story: Island Hopper ❌

The National Tour

Part of the bulletin series of articles

Summary

  • Vekllei citizens who have completed four years of national service are entitled to a ‘National Tour’.
  • This National Tour is traditionally a six-month cruise that visits all 68 republics that make up the Commonwealth.
  • This tour spans the entire length and width of the Atlantic, reaching both poles.
  • Since its introduction in 2040, it has become a ritual of citizenship, and has contributed significantly to the civic identity of Vekllei.

National Service, or ‘compulsory service’ as it is commonly known, comprises four years of civic and military conscription in Vekllei. It is primarily a means of getting done what needs to be done, because labour in Vekllei is fickle, irregular and otherwise free.

National Service requires four years from each person, between the ages of 18 and 32. In practice, most Vekllei people contribute it in a single block either after secondary school or after university. It is not always desirable, and Vekllei people don’t desire it, but it has to be done.

Recognising this sacrifice, the Vekllei government in 2040 made available sixteen cruise ships from for a ‘National Tour,’ a half-year holiday after the completion of National Service. It provides an opportunity to reward people for their contribution, but also offers a way to further unite the disparate Vekllei islands under a single civic identity. Passengers are known as being ‘on their Tour.’

The National Tour departs from one of eight ports around the country, usually the largest in its respective regional commonwealth. For the next six months, the vessel will visit all 68 constituent republics of Vekllei, allowing a shore day or two in each. Your port of departure is often located outside your home commonwealth, and so your fellow passengers are generally from all over the country.

The Tour is a cause for celebration – drinking, dining, dancing and enjoying the full spectrum of Vekllei’s unique cultures. It is an opportunity to enjoy high society – black tie dinners and balls – and earthier experiences like dance clubs and private parties. Life-long romance and heartbreak are common. Most walk away with a friend in every commonwealth.

It is difficult to understate the success of these tours and their contribution to the Vekllei national identity. It is not just that they are great fun, but that they show Vekllei people their entire country and give them a sense of what their work contributes to, both during National Service and as private citizens. Many Vekllei people will tell you that their Tour is among their most treasured memories.

While the Tour is most closely associated with a cruise, alternatives exist for the seasick and phobic. All people are entitled to six month’s holiday if they cannot enjoy the cruise. Accomodations are made for domestic travel via aircraft or shorter sea excursions where necessary. The Tour is not just any holiday, however, and it is supposed to be a time of adventure and new experiences, reflecting the new chapter of their lives.