Travel Log 13: “Connecting Rites of Passage and Digital Storytelling” By Erin Schirra, Gold Coast, Australia

Upon reading just the first paragraphs of Blumenkrantz and Goldstein’s study of modern day Rites of Passage, I caught myself distracted by what I measured as a rite of passage. They mention how in our current world, more specifically in America, many are started to regard a rite of passage as a variety of events that happen to us for the first time (Blumenkrantz, Goldstein 43). This takes away from the original notion of what a rite of passage is, and what Blumenkrantz and Goldstein define it to be. They say that a true rite of passage is not just about the individual experiencing something for the first time, but also about the surrounding community’s role in that new, transformative experience (43). After reading their definition, I again found my mind wandering to a self-reflective state, pondering how the phrase ‘rite of passage’ can fit into my past and my present. Although I never had the typical coming of age ceremony that occurs in Filipino families, I did go through the traditional Roman Catholic religious ceremonies that can be interpreted as rites of passage. Whether it was baptism, first communion, or confirmation, these physical ceremonies completed in the presence of my local community follow the proposed definition of a rite of passage. However, I also see the value in taking my first international flight alone as a symbol of a new rite of passage for me, as it was the beginning of my journey abroad. This flight was not marked by tradition, or even a great sense of community, but instead by a significant transition in my life.

I do see the concern in the loss of the more traditional rites of passage to the globally connected online world, especially in the point brought up of seeking for validation of transitions in the use of drugs or binge drinking, or based on the social media/online portrayal of transitions (Blumenkrantz, Goldstein 43). I feel as though this puts the youth population at risk of unintentionally harming themselves while being predisposed of the false notions that both the internet and social media contain.

The three elements of rites of passage that I have been beneficial to me during my abroad experience include adversity or personal challenge, silence, and connection with nature (Blumenkrantz, Goldstein 44). These three elements, when combined together, epitomize both my highest and lowest point while abroad (which happened to occur in the same moment). The personal challenges that I have faced, mostly socially, pushed me around and forced me to either give up, find a solution, or be at peace with what was going on. The silence I was surrounded by was a new sensation for me, and allowed for me to hear my own thoughts clearly to solve those challenges. Lastly, my connection to nature, in push and pull of the waves and grains of sand running through my fingers, made me secure in my decisions and solutions. My feelings are validated in this quote from the study, “’Connection to an actual geographic place, especially when there is deep contact with nature, (Louv, 2005) and a psychological sense of community (Sarason, 1974) has been widely acknowledged as critical to a sense of self and security for children, (Eller 1991; Stevenson, 1998)’” (Blumenkrantz, Goldstein 45). Although I am a young adult and not a child, I still see the value in my surroundings and newfound sense of self.

One digital story that I deeply related to was not actually on the slides, but came from my best friend, who studied in the same city as me while taking this course. She talked through her journey of self-discovery, and her realizations that she came to upon her time in Australia. Specifically, she mentioned how she spent her entire life having a plan, and how this country shifted her perspective of the value behind a planned out life. I watched her digital story during the first two weeks of my arrival to Australia, and found myself reflecting deeper on my planning, and on the Aussie vibes that were seemingly leaking into my planned and structured brain. It sparked conversation between others from QU that felt the same way, allowing us all to start reflecting more on the intricate details of our environment that could slowly impact us. I believe that alone marks for a successful story.

Works Cited

Blumenkrantz, DG., & Goldstein, MB. (2010). Rites of passage as a framework for community interventions with youth. Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice, 1(2), 41-50. Retrieved , from

One thought on “Travel Log 13: “Connecting Rites of Passage and Digital Storytelling” By Erin Schirra, Gold Coast, Australia

  1. Hi Erin,
    I think you and I have had a similar experience abroad and have therefore picked similar rites of passage concepts for our digital story. Finding the good in typically bad situations has been essential to my success abroad, and it sounds like the same for you. I’m so happy that you have learned to come to peace with what is happening around you. I’m sure it has made your experience that much more enjoyable, as it should be!
    I miss you!


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