Did you miss Burning Man? Yes I missed it this year, but I did not “miss” it.
Did you wish you had gone? No, I didn’t wish I had gone. It was always my plan to skip it this year.
Did you get a ticket? Yes I got a fucking ticket. Of course I got a ticket.
I thought the hardest part for me would be seeing people’s pictures and getting nostalgic, feeling sad about not making it. But as the albums slowly started populating on Facebook, I felt it so genuinely, I’m glad I wasn’t there.
For me, Burning Man is an annual ritual, much like a family reunion that takes a full year of planning that culminates in a week-long celebration camping-style in the desert. Picture your family reunion taking place on Halloween day at a Disneyland located in the Sahara. Year after year, and almost certainly after 10 years straight, you’d consider vacationing elsewhere.
Burning Man is not a relaxing trip. You don’t just pack a carry-on bag and let the vacation fall into place. It takes major preparation: figuring out your transportation, getting your car fixed, either setting up a tent, dropping almost $1,000 to share an RV, or paying to have a trailer dropped at very specific coordinates, planning your meals, transporting your bike, bringing batteries, costumes, lamps, water, coolers, locks, keys, an extra set of keys, sleeping bag, el wire, camera, wet wipes, radio, garbage bags… When the ‘reunion’ is over, you have to get your ass back home, decompress, wash your car, the RV, clothes, backpack.
It’s really not the event you miss, but the people. That was the hardest part for me. While I am friends with my fellow volunteers and see them regularly, it’s the ones who do not live in the Bay Area that I miss out on seeing—the ones who live in Reno or the East Coast or Canada. I missed them the most. What made it easier, too, was all my Burner friends who decided similarly to take this year off. Off the top of my head, I can count 15 Burners who skipped this year. These are not Burners who have missed the past couple years. These are Burners who attended in 2011 but did not attend this event.
Clearly there was a huge contingent of newbies in 2012. I gifted my ticket to a friend of mine who went for the first time. He called me after he returned, “HOLY…… HOLY……….”
“Pretty bad ass, huh?” I asked
Hearing his genuine absolute excitement and emails from friends telling me they missed me, that’s what made me happy. I love Burning Man. I work hard for Burning Man. But was so grateful to be able to take a break this summer and do something different and get energized. Because there’s work to do for 2013!