As we grow up and find our way in our street, in our town and our state, there are experiences we have that aren’t connected to bucket lists or wish lists. They might be things that our parents have done and now think we’re old enough for, or places they took you to that you now take your kids to.
Let’s start with the jousting knights in the clock at London Court. This was the thrill in my day of coming to the city. The following day at school, my hand would shoot up to tell my news to the class and I’d describe how the knights would pass each other as the clock bells rang out and then one of the jousting poles would knock a knight backwards on his horse.
This for me is a rite of passage. It’s something that might not have Lara Bingle in front of it asking where you are, but it means something to you. I want to be clear that this isn’t the rite of passage experience like going overseas and visiting Gallipoli or sitting on Cable Beach at sunset or riding a bike on Rottnest for the first time.
Our rites of passage might be defined as unknown to anyone outside your family, or maybe even outside your town. One of my rites of passage was the ride in the trailer from the Narrogin tip back to the main road. It might not be appropriate these days but when we were old enough to hang on, it was a great adventure. ABC legend Brad McCahon was just as inappropriate as me, sharing his Boulder and Kalgoorlie rite of passage that involved a pub crawl up the length of Hannan Street.
Inspiration for rites of passage can be seen in our discussion a few weeks ago about exercise spots. I was surprised that Ro and Ebonnie had never climbed the DNA Tower because I think it qualifies as a rite of passage as exercise or even a date destination.
Rites of passage that are hidden treasures you can be inspired by to make your own include:
- Climbing the DNA Tower
- Safely walking the sandbar to Penguin Island
- Swimming to the Cottesloe Pylon and maybe even diving off it
- Riding a train
- Picnic at Kings Park and Fish & Chips on the beach
- Roadtrips to anywhere
- Swan River Ferry from Elizabeth Quay to Mends Street Jetty
- Crabbing with a scoop net in your oldest sneakers
- Catching gilgies from a creek or, with permission, a farmers dam.
- Do a bombie off Palm Beach Jetty, Coogee Jetty or jumping off Blackwall Reach (be careful, be safe).
I love rites of passage as a hidden treasure because they sit alongside bucket lists as an inspiration or motivation for a travel experience but may not be as flashy. A bucket list item might be wading in the Dead Sea but a rite of passage might be wading in the Mandurah Estuary with a scoop net. One is worthy of a slide night, the other is worthy of family stories for years to come about nipped toes, stingray terror and dropped torches.