Headed to Black Rock )'(

The 'Man' burning.

I am on a roll with checking things off my bucket list lately, but the one I am about to check off is my first BIG adventure. Soon, 'go to Burning Man' will no longer have an empty box next to it, but instead it will hold a bunch of memories (hopefully all good!). I am headed to Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada on Wednesday afternoon accompanied by Alix, Ashely, Kendyll, Jill and Shelby -- all girls I went to the University of Nevada, Reno with.

Freshman year at UNR. Philosophy 101 -- shoot me. I'll never forget it...a boy sitting next to me said he was from some weird town in Nevada. I looked at him confused -- he explained to me it was a little tiny town on the way to Burning Man. I was still confused. That meant nothing to me -- I don't speak Nevadan, sorry pal. I quickly learned what this event was and became very interested -- sounded right up my alley...well, at lease the music and art part! Camping, ehhhh....No cell phone service, or internet?!?! No facebook or Blog?!?! Oh my!!!! Well, it should be good for me. I depend on that stuff WAY to much.

I have told myself for the last 3 years that I was going to try and go, and that always turned into 'next year....next year'. Well, next year as come. I am going. Back in the spring I sent in a small essay/questionnaire for a student ticket ($110), verses the normally price of $350+ish. I got the ticket -- my friend Alix and I had talked about the event for days. Planning, and planning and planning some more.

I know a lot of people have been wondering what Burning Man is....well....let me explain. Burning Man was started in San Fran back in the the 1980's by Larry Harvey and Jerry James. It is/was an experimental communication based on self-expression. Burning Man has tremendously expanded from the gathering of a few men to burn an effigy into 40,000+ people gathering in a Nevadan desert rather than seaside. For those of you Crested Buttians Burning Man is VERY similar to Vinotok -- except for there is no grump, but instead a large wooden statue which this experiential community of 'burners' (the campers) burn on the Saturday of the event. Yes, it is a big party essential, but it also is A LOT more than just that.

Of course, the music and art scene are insane! Art is translated through everything, from what people to wear, to how the live and what they eat and crazy artistic sculptures (yes, there is A LOT of nudity -- it is considered self-expression-- of course I will be clothed). I have always been fascinated by the photos of artwork that I have seen from previous years -- I am so pumped to get to see it in person and take in everything I have only been able to 'dream' about. Everything is about art! Mimosa and Bassnectar are playing on Friday night!! It is going to be awesome, of course that is not even a fraction of the amazing beats that I will get to hear throughout the event -- those are JUST two out of the 30+ playing at 2:00 & Detriot (the location).

The city is basically in the shape of a 'C'. You navigate through the city by the innermost road being the Esplanade, and then the radial streets are set on a clock like designation...then, other streets are named based on the theme of the burn -- this year is Metropolis: The Life of Cities. We are not exactly sure were we are camping yet -- but where ever it is I am sure it will be fun! I have a list of locations that all my other friends will be camping that way I can try to meet up with them. Of course like I said earlier, Burning Man is a pretty big party, it has a rap for being a 'drug culture', but I am approaching this as 'IT IS WHAT YOU MAKE IT', therefore, you don't have to worry about me participating in any mind altering substances that may be out there....it is not my thing -- I'll pass. No thank you. There, that is out of the way. The Playa is patrolled by various law enforcement throughout the week long event -- so, everyone is safe.

You have to always worry about the dust storms and other weather. BUT -- I am full equip with some stellar goggles, and dust masks and an Oscar De La Renta umbrella (which I bought from the thrift store in Truckee today for $4). Everything gets dirty, butttttttttt we have a surplus of baby wipes -- and I have enough hygiene products packed to clean off a small army after they have been rolling around in the mud all damn day. I have a bunch of clothes that I have made specifically just for burning man -- I have pictures and plan on taking a gazillion more so you can see the outfits I fixed up for the playa (my own personal expression)! transportation is also another part of the accessories for burning man, I picked up a child sized bike from Savers a few weeks ago. I named her Sheryll, she is looking mighty fine after some modifications I have made to her. Don't you worry...I have a lock -- Sheryll isn't going ANYWHERE! There are no autos allowed on the Playa -- you are allowed to drive and park and that is it. Everything else is done by foot or bicycle. Of course, there is always the 'mutant vehicle' which is motorized and has been approved to driven on the Playa by the DMV (department of mutant vehicles -- ha ha ha ha ha!).  There actually is an airstrip now on the Playa, where Bryan (who flew me around Tahoe last week have flown into previously and is gearing up to do it again this year if he hasn't already).

We are all set with water and food. I hear people say 'you can never have enough water out there', so, hopefully we do! I bought some more tonight just because I was nervous after hearing that statement so many times. Another interesting piece of advice I got from a fellow 'burner' and ski plan Sarah Lyman was 'always wear underwear'. ha ha ha! Oh, I plan on it! Other than that I haven't really gotten toooo much other advice except for 'go into this with an open mind, and be prepared to learn a lot about yourself', how fitting since I am preparing for a huge transition in my life soon. We have a few large tents that we are going to set up and camp in. A big thing on the Playa is theme camps, we don't have a theme -- but, I am SO excited to see some of the different camps! I have a few in particular that I am interested in seeing because other friends are creating them -- these theme camps act basically as different subcultures for the experiential community.

Something I am really interested in is that there is not money transactions, everything is done through trading! Of course there are a few things that you can buy like coffee, ice, etc. I have filled up a GIANT box full of things that I am bringing to trade (silly bandz, kaleidoscopes, razors, Ramen noodles, candy). I think it is important to learn how to trade on a different level, and see how not spending can still result in a system of sharing/trading.

A really cool part about Burning Man is the LEAVE NO TRACE policy. By the end of the event there should be NOTHING left on the Playa. To the point where you cannot even tell that 40,000+ people just made this their home for the last week.

I am so excited to go to Burning Man. I really only hear positive things happening at Burning Man -- it should be amazing. I can't wait to share my stories and pictures with everyone! I have a note book packed with the hope of writing down things over the next few days while I am there. I take off around 1 or 2 with Jill and Kendyll from Reno, we are meeting the other girls there! I can't wait to get to BLACK ROCK DESERT! I feel so lucky to have this experience......finally!



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