Two weeks since I’ve left “home”, aka Burning Man. (“Welcome home!” a greeting term used as you enter the playa.) And it’s literally taken me this long to gather myself, my thoughts and feelings of the entire experience.
At times, I find myself still processing the event. Putting them into words hasn’t been easy. I didn’t know how and where to begin. Until an experienced burner explained to me, what I was going through is called decompression. I thought to myself, “There’s such a thing for Burning Man?”
No one had ever spoken to me about it before, not even Peter.
2018 VS. 2017
My first burn was in 2017 (here’s the post). I spent four amazing days as a “virgin burner”. Taking it all in with whatever came my way. I was ready to learn, explore, create, connect, participate and cultivate; a few guidelines from the ten principles of Burning Man’s community and culture. To say the least, it was humbling and mind blowing all at the same time. A life changer!
My immediate thoughts were, “Wow! I can’t fucking wait ’til next year”.
Fast forward to 2018……. Let me just tell you, it was way better and very different than last year in so many levels.
First of all, I was stoked to go for seven days, the full week of the event. That meant I had more time to feel the full burn-effect vs. last year, which was just a teaser.
Days leading up to the trip, I had butterflies fluttering in my stomach. That kind of giddiness you get when a kid goes to Disney for the first time, except this was for adults. With the extra days, Peter and I paced ourselves, to make sure we had time to see and participate. We visited friends, art, checked out theme camps, watch THE MAN burn and have “HELL YES DAYS!”
*Yes days” basically means saying “yes” to all experiences you are presented with.
Peter and I spent two days exploring the city looking for our friends. Mind you there is little to no cellular service in the entire desert. Leaving only fate to lead you. Everyone has their own “playa time”, or schedule. So the intentions of finding them were just wishful thinking.
When we found a few, we were all so happy to see each other, like long lost friends. You feel a new appreciation for friendships. Deep down inside, we knew how much effort and commitment it took to get to Black Rock City. Then to have a common goal of letting go and feeling the freedom to be ourselves, to be free of judgment and let live. There was a mutual level of understanding between all of us.
Anything goes at the playa. And I mean it when I say that. All walks of life young/old, tall/short, super rich/not so rich, musicians, tech nerds, booty shakers, aerialists, strippers, (you get my drift?) attend the event. Can you imagine the crazy shit I saw?
A few highlights:
Food + Fun:
Foam Against The Machine: With limited showers, there come desperate times when Pete and I would love to be dust-free. Even just for a few minutes, before we get covered up in dust again. This camp packs in 60 people into a clear plexi glass room, the size of a commercial truck. Sprays foam and then hoses you down with clean water, while throwing a giant party. Being completely naked in front of hundreds of strangers was optional. We decided to roll with it and got naked! It felt so LIBERATING! Completely took me out of my comfort zone. Hell yes!
Fastest Pizza Stand: Food comes by ever so often on the playa. We passed by the pizza stand and the smell had me at a hard stop on my bike. When you haven’t eaten well the whole week, a slice of pizza in the desert sounds like a really awesome idea! The camp leaders are from NYC. My homies!!
Preservation Society: The preservation of mind, body and soul by providing sick beats and full bellies. We had friends that ran this camp. They invited us to a delicious roasted pig dinner one evening, and hell yes they fed our soul. So good! When you’re in the desert with limited source of food, turning it down would be sacrilage.
Thunder Dome: Inspired by the movie Mad Max Thunder Dome, strangers or friends can use this to settle disputes on the playa. Peter and I didn’t have much to dispute, but we were entertained by burners battling each other to a duel.
Orgy Dome: The title says it all. While the infamous “dome” may sound intimidating, it is really a space that focuses on a consent driven sex positive environment for people to engage with one another. There are two sides of the space offering “Just for Us” or “Open for more”. Can you guess which side we went??? (Wink!)
Distrikt: One of the biggest day parties offering free drinks. Gorgeous people, dope house music and thriving scene. You can always count on them for a good time. #goodvibes all around.
Big Imagination: A stripped down immobile Boeing 747 airplane, “landed” on the desert throwing evening dance parties with laser lights and DJs spinning beats. This year they were able to roll the plane out to the deeper part of the desert. When they depart, they need to remove the entire plane, according “Leave No Trace” principle of Burning Man.
Robot Heart: Ah….my favorite bus invites some of the best DJs in the world to play the craziest sunrise sets. Carl Cox, Diplo, Fleetmac Wood, Blondish, Jan Blomqvist and Lee Burridge, just to name a few. The double decker bus drives out to deep playa providing incredible views of surrounding mountains at sunrise. And there were many sunrises on the bus this year!
There were tons of new art scattered throughout the playa this year. All brought out from different parts of the world. Some burners even came early to build the installations. There were ones that lit up at night with transcending LED lights; Ones you can climb on to be part of the art piece. Although all were breathtaking, the one worth mentioning was the ORB, an inflatable silver ball (see above photo) reflecting the city giving a new perspective. Wow!
Reuniting with old friends was special. Making new friends brought new meaning. I connected with many new faces. Some were strangers to begin with and others I’ve known about, but finally spent time with. I left Burning Man with family that I look forward to seeing every year. Until we meet again LOVES!
We continued celebrating our 10th year wedding anniversary by renewing our vows at the playa. The thought of being in a remote dusty land with a bunch of strangers and cool art, while confessing our LOVE sounded rad. If you haven’t noticed, Peter and I like to do things a little different……
On a warm Friday five o’clock in the evening, we dressed-up in our wedding vow rituals. Beautiful words were exchanged to each other, while weeping in front of our camp mates. The touching messages and support we felt, brought emotional tears. For that matter, we reconfirmed what we had was something special and irreplaceable.
Burning Man reconnected and rekindled our LOVE again. To my surprise, I didn’t think falling in love with my husband can happen all over again. I was WRONG. With no distractions from our everyday life, we were able to give full attention to each other’s needs and wants. Taking our time to talk, care and listen to each other.
Our love BONDED, THRIVED and PREVAILED.
The most beautiful part of it all, we brought the same practice back home with us. Or at least we try. When we catch ourselves getting back to old habits, we stop and get out of it immediately. We’re not the same couple as when we left Seattle. We continue to be in love…..everyday.
The event doesn’t fix everything, nor it suppose to. For us, it reminded us how we used to be, when we were dating. When it was just the two us. It taught us nothing else matters, as long as we’re strong together. #justyouandme
*Custom wedding corset bodysuit made by Kirsten Currie.
UNTIL THE NEXT BURN
I left the playa being grateful for all the simplest things in life. Running water, warm food, hot shower, air condition, clean clothes, electricity and my loved ones. It’s easy to take those things for granted, until you spend seven days in the desert to fend for yourself. #selfreliance
Next year, I hope to have a different experience. Burner friends have said, each year is special and none of them are exactly alike. As long as the spark is still there…I look forward to returning.
Overall, I had one of the best times of my life. What seemed to be just “a-thing-do” on the bucket list, has become a once a year “reset button” I make an effort to go.
It’s hard to quantify Burning Man because everyone’s experience is different. Every year is not the same. I can tell you endless stories of how crazy it was. At the end of the day, if you want to tell your own story, you’ll have to go experience yourself.
Trust me. You’ll want your own story.