I have been going to Burning Man every year since 2002. I would have celebrated my 9th year along with the 25th anniversary of the event. I used to be one of those people who made fun of Burners…until I became one.
Getting ready for the experience involves more than simply throwing clothes into a suitcase and packing a tent. You need wipies, el wire, hydrocortisone for the expected heat rash, broad-rim hats with chinstraps, dust masks, more socks than you think you need. Outfits are laid out in your living room on couches. There’s the last minute stop at the Reno Walmart for groceries. You can never be fully prepared which is why you lean on your community once you get there. Can anyone spare a double-A battery?
After planning a destination wedding, I just can’t imagine going through the Burning Man planning this year. I don’t have the energy. Besides, I’ve been going for so long I know I can’t half-ass it. There’s the coordination, figuring out the camp logistics. How am I going to get my pink kiddy bike to the playa? Who should I offer a ride to? How much shit can they fit in the trunk? Are we sure we have enough cases of wine? That’s only the preparation stage.
Once you’re there after seven hours of maniacal driving with barely a pit stop, you collapse on the camp futon and enjoy a cocktail that someone kindly makes you. But you have to setup your tent before it gets dark. Unless you splurged for a coveted spot in an RV.
It’s a chore. It’s tiring. But I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t love it. I am so very sad to miss it this year. Happy 25th birthday, Black Rock City.