It was ten years ago this month that I first heard about Burning Man. I was in high school and I was driving to Lansing after work on a Saturday afternoon. It was part of my typical weekend routine: get off work at 3pm, hit the road to go on a date or to meet friends, listening to Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me on NPR. After the show ended I usually changed the station because I didn’t want to listen to Car Talk. But on this particular day there was no Car Talk and instead a segment came on the air about Burning Man, which was about to kick off. The piece portrayed Burning Man as this mysterious gathering in middle of the desert of Nevada, a place where tens of thousands of people gathered to express themselves, free their spirits, and form a temporary but almost utopian community.
Over the last six years I’ve met dozens of people that make the yearly pilgrimage to the Black Rock Desert during the week leading up to Labor Day. Everyone from coworkers and friends of friends, to ski cabin mates and strangers at the bar. The more people I met the more I learned and the more intrigued I became. Eventually the intrigue turned to an interest in going.
Lots of reasons.
The art, the creativity, the challenge of braving the elements. The music, the dancing, the opportunity to be someone else for a week… or maybe to be your true self.. And of course the sexuality.
Tomorrow I hit the road for my first Burning Man.
For the last month my life has been consumed with preparation. Getting ready for this adventure in the desert has required a lot of time, planning, organization, patience, determination and not to mention money. I don’t think I’ve worked so hard to get somewhere in my life. I’m not taking about in just the last month and I’m not talking about just the physical destination. It’s taken me years to get where I am today and where I’ll be tomorrow.
I feel blessed to be going and to be under the watchful eye of some very loving people. For that I am grateful.
I depart with an open mind, limited expectations and the intention of fully embracing the experience.
See you on the other side.