Inspired by some wonderful pictures of art
in the desert and reading about different people's
Burning Man experiences I really wanted to go.
When I found out a friend already went and
wanted to go again, I knew I would go.
I was anxious tapping the ticket button on wonky wi fi in
a cheap hotel in Vegas when the tickets went on sale
in February. Waiting in queue watching the bar go from 45
minutes to 6 minutes and back to 50 minutes. Painful.
But a couple of month later I received 2 shiny
tickets and a fireball in the mail. I would definitely go. Yeah.
I asked all my good friends (the extra fun ones) if they would
like to come along, but timing, life and other challenges hindered them.
I considered taking my husband, but he was just mildly enthusiastic
about camping in the desert in summer as he hates hot temperatures and
my plan was he would take care of our kids,
after a friend offered to watch them for the week but then fell
down her stairs and ended up in a nursing home all summer instead.
Then August came and we went on our big family road trip to
beautiful mountain ranges, waterfalls, rivers, ink pots, wildlife.
I still wasn't sure who to go to BM with a week before and considered selling
my extra ticket. I just needed to find someone to help me drive
our '83 Vanagon back home for 14 hours by the end of the week.
We made our way down from Jasper all the way to Nevada
for my Burning Man visit. When we arrived in Klamath Falls we
checked the weather report and found out the daily forecast was way
below 100 for the entire week, so I told my husband we all should go.
My kids loved going to the Regional Burning Man and were thrilled to
hear they could come along after all.
He was still meh until he found a great hat for himself at Goodwill.
And a full body bacon costume for the 9 year old. He also got a
construction worker outfit and shaved his head. It was on.
Went to Walmart for some boots, bandanas, camp food, a supply tent,
cooling stuff, lotion, walkie talkies, and more stuff. Draining.
The next day we stocked up on water and organized our many many bags, ziplocs
and containers for the desert in a nice little hotel with private hot springs in Paradise Valley
just 40 minutes from BRC. The room was perfect and we spent hours soaking
in the hot tub. Taking in the beautiful valley. Heaven. We didn't want to leave.
The next day we packed up, and in no time arrived at the gate.
The greeters were a little stiff and not as bearly and huggy as
the awesome dude at the Regional but we got ice cream and the
kids got super excited. We made it to Kidsville, found a nice
spot, set up camp, had tuna tacos and popcorn for dinner,
removed about 40 thorns from our bike tires and enjoyed a good
At night we were really surprised how quiet the camp was.
Totally different from the regional where we slept to a
blasting bass til 5 am.
Tuesday we went out to explore. S was a
little freaked out by a swarm of about 10
bee people dancing around her in circles buzzing.
A friendly lady at the Hulahoop Camp invited
her in to calm down and make her own
customized hulahoop. We lost our boys
but knew they would have a good time
nevertheless. We made some new friends, saw
some cool art, S adopted a painting, found 2
little matching bracelets in a princess tent,
one to give her new little friend, one to keep,
chatted a bit with the peeps at UH5. S was
very happy, all smiley and cheerful. Made me happy.
We prepared some food for the Taco Potluck at
Kidsville and prepared to go on a Playa boat ride
on the Monaco to the Planetarium right after.
Cruising on the Monaco over the Playa was
pure magic. Everyone was so happy. All the
kids had a blast. The sun just went down and
all the art lite up. A PB&J cart pulled up in the middle
of the desert to serve us a late evening snack.
A guy climbed up the Monaco and told the kids
about rocks and gifted them little meteorites.
It was like a dream and I felt complete fulfilled
and almost floating at the peak of this moment.
I was so happy I brought my family with me on this
incredible adventure. Happy we would have something
to remember and share.
After our cruise I biked like a maniac to meet up with my
friend on time at a bar that did not exist and ended
up exploring art and music by myself for a bit instead.
I felt lonely and accomplished, adventurous and
vulnerable, intimidated by all the mind blowing creations
and grateful to be there totally in the moment, a little pissed
that things didn't work out as planned,
but also happy they didn't and I got unexpected time for myself,
which is rare and most needed,
time to explore on my own time, in my own pace
just as I had imagined all these months before.
Wednesday morning I was woken softly by my family
preparing breakfast outside our supply tent I slept
in. I opened my eyes but couldn't see. Panic
overcame me. I barely made it to the Port-A-Potty.
I felt awful. Sweaty. Stinky. Sick.
I then spent the next hours between 2 camping chairs
trying to get comfortable. Unsuccessful.
Also trying not to throw up the little rest of liquid I
had in me while my very understanding husband
took the kids out to give me some rest.
The sun was burning down hot on the
sides of the canopy I was under. The wind was playing
with the tarp. Up and down constantly.
The tarp my dear husband put on the side to
protect me from the sun.
The dust blew over and under me and
by midday I had another panic attack that
this whole environment might not be safe for
us, my family. I had a hard time breathing.
I felt we need to leave immediately. After
some more time exposed to the elements,
barely able to move or see, I moved inside
our bus to get a break from the dust but
then had to deal with the heat that built up
inside. Hanging on to the magic cooling
towel, throwing up water in a ziploc bag
(leave no trace!). I was really done. This wasn't
fun. Battling the elements. Battling my own body.
By the end of the afternoon my sight came back.
Also, perfect husband came back and
I told him I was done and asked him if he would
mind leaving today. He said he really enjoys himself
and could imagine staying some more days but
also doesn't mind if we leave. The only
problem, S was on a Art Car with her little
friend and we would have to wait for her.
The Art Car did not come back after an hour,
and not after two and another panic attack
hit me. Something bad might have happened to her.
I am usually a very practical, reasonable person,
but something switched over night and I was
Then the Art Car finally came back to
Kidsville and we told S we would have to leave and
she started crying really hard. It did not
make sense for her at all. She was in her
magic kingdom. With her new friends. Where
everyone was great and open and giving. She
was home. She did not want to leave. I felt terrible.
We put her in her car seat in the fully
packed van and searched for the exit road.
Another stormy dust storm just started and
we could not see much at all. I felt sorry I took
S away from her magic. I could not say proper
goodbyes to my friend either.
When we hit the paved road I felt a huge relieve but
also pain and regret and guild and disbelieve.
This adventure would be over way to soon.
Like someone woke me up from a dream.
All the anticipation. All the planning.
All the money. All the gifts. All the things that
weren't explored yet. I also felt great love for my
husband who is clearly the greatest guy and
the easiest person to get along with.
The past 18 hours where really intense for me.
So many feelings. So many impressions.
It clearly was a cabinet of mirrors that
opened and closed for me. I still couldn't
really grasp what happened to me between
taking in all the greatness of the Playa one moment
and waking up in a tent blind and sick the next.
Freak Show. Illusion.
Optimistic, curious, human bee.