The market is tanking. My once high-flying stock portfolio has taken a nose dive. I’ll survive in the end. I invest for the long-term. The problem is the here and now. Here I am about to embark on my first real vacation of the year (Burning Man) and it is damn expensive. I don’t know how people do it. I consider myself fairly well-off and this trip is putting me in the red…and my ticket (valued right now at $280) was gifted to me!!!
The typical burner waits until the last minute and spends approximately $250-300. Next, you gotta pay camp fees. If your camp is plush (i.e., hot-cooked meals, showers, happy hours, circus acts, domes, a line-up of popular DJs), then you’re going to pay for it. Two years ago, I think I paid about $250–but I got dinner every night, there were showers with hot running water, and our sleeping area was air-conditioned. It seriously doesn’t get any better than that. I have two friends this year who are paying $350 to join a pretty plush camp. My point is…this is already adding up.
I’m not paying this year (nor did I pay last year) to camp with my volunteer group. That’s a perk. Nevertheless, I purchased $30 worth of Christmas lights and $30 worth of wine. That’s my camp contribution. But let’s say your camp fees are minimal, then you’re still going to pay. Why? You have to bring water, food, cooking utensils, sun showers, etc. Add to your list gifts…as this is a gift economy. I decided to get a tent this year since I felt bad continuing to borrow someone else’s. That was $150. I figure if I’m going to be in the desert for 11 days this time around, I want to be able to stand in my tent. It was a pretty good online deal. I found a 3 room, 6 person tent. Oh yeah, baby! Orgy at Vixen’s. But seriously, I’m going to have a separate room to sleep, another main room to enter and exit, then the other room for all my clothes. Oh yeah, don’t forget to spend money on your playa attire: funky hats, wigs, fur, ribbons, lace, corsets, boots, goggles, sunglasses.
Ok what else. Oh yes, more of the necessities–bike, glow sticks, el wire, wet wipes, batteries, lamps, ice chest, mug. Considering how long I’ll be there, I opted to buy a cheap rug that I’ll cover with a ton of blankets then my sleeping bag. I can’t imagine doing the blow-up mattress thing. I have to have a firm place to sleep and the idea of pumping a mattress up every night does not appeal to me.
Luckily, I’m not travelling far–as in I’m not coming from New York or some foreign country. A lot of people have to fly into Reno, then figure out how to get to the middle of nowhere. Greyhound doesn’t go to Black Rock City. I’m as local as it gets, but it’s still an 8 hour drive which means you gotta pay for gas. On top of that, your car or RV is caked with playa dust. My friend went to the car wash three times after the event.
This is my life right now. Half of my home is dedicated to costumes, supplies. I have boxes from Costco, shopping bags from Sports Basement and Target. One more weekend until I go home to the desert. Expensive, but always worth it.