When I was a kid, the beach was my favourite place to be, my bike was magical and could transport me anywhere in the small town of Nhulunbuy. I grew up in the NT which was basically paradise – a beachside village for just over 1000 local residents.
I would spend ALL DAY out on my BMX, cycling around the streets with my friends…but most often not because “off-roading” was so much more fun. We’d cycle the red-dirt paths into the “rugged outback” and dump our bikes with careless abandon at waterholes and gullies, joyfully diving in with whoops and cheers and getting soaked as we caught tadpoles and tiny frogs.
I loved climbing into “the drains” a lot, too. I hung out with a lot of boys who taught me to be fearless. We would pull up a drain cover, shimmy down the ladder and walk the dusty, dark, spider-clad sewer system under the main roads for hours (there weren’t awful murky things, the tunnels were bone dry), taking turns and climbing up ladders back to road height, laughing at where we’d finally submerged; “How did we get here?” Hahaha.
I’m so glad we didn’t have mobile phones or computers. We knew where our friends were from the bikes piled up outside a friend’s house. We not only “listened to (actual) live streams”, often we were IN them, splashing about and laughing our heads off.
We played outside ALL the time and school summer holidays stretched out over 6 AMAZING weeks of fun, sun and adventure…all outside. No texts or emails, just stack hats, grazed knees, sun burn and big appetites after spending the day cycling.
We drank straight from the house. We shared lunches. We didn’t ask if anyone was allergic…because no one was. As different as we might have looked physically, we all liked the similar sandwiches our Mom’s made us, the same bright icey poles we slurped in the summer in neon colours…the same sweets from the corner newsagents.
I’m glad to have been there, you know…in the days of phone booths, thick yellow pages, riding our bikes all day, jumping in puddles, making waterslides in our back gardens, making “perfume” by mixing flower petals with water in odd containers we found discarded on road sides, nursing grazed knees and bee stings…I loved it all.
I loved building wooden forts, going on hikes that took all day, going on camping trips and adventures in “the bush” as an early teenager…it was all wonderful.