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September 17, 2010


Out of the Burning Man Bubble


A friend asked me if I felt like more of a participant or spectator at Burning Man.  The question threw me and I ended up saying spectator.  Looking back I’m not so sure that was the case.



I didn’t go to many of the scheduled events, but really how much are you participating in them rather than watching?  I wandered most of the city,  stopped where I wanted to, stayed up all night (and the following day) twice, worked as an uninvited bartender 3 times, found old friends, made new ones, and enjoyed every minute there.  Tough to say I didn’t participate after all.

Do I Ever Sleep and What Am I Wearing?Do I Ever Sleep and What Am I Wearing?


Do I Ever Sleep and What Am I Wearing?


I left Burning Man 54 hours ago after spending 200 hours off the motorcycle and in its confines.  I still feel like I’m in a dream and will wake up back there any moment.  Reality is coming back and the feeling is fading, but two plus days of feeling out of place is a long time.

Honestly, the adjustment to Burn Man was far easier for me than that of coming out.  That probably has a lot to do with being on the road for so long already.  I know some get tired of the dust and sensory overload.  At least one group in my camp left early when the call of a shower and bed took over.  I was ready to stay another week if it kept going.

As an unintentional form of shock therapy I had 4 voicemails from friends when I finally turned on my phone near Reno that there was a great job opening for me in San Diego.  I returned the calls, but it was more than my mind could handle.  Even without BM that was the last thing on my mind and WAY too much for me to think about 2 hours after leaving.  I’ve put that on hold until I’m back in San Diego so at least I can give it some legitimate thought.

I met a friend and fellow burner in Reno for a night before his flight back.  Even the normal excitement of a casino was muted.  What could compare to an 8 day 24 hours per day rave?  Doing laundry was the only thing that felt semi normal and that’s because the only other people there were covered in playa dust also.

Night Art Car RideNight Art Car Ride


Night Art Car Ride


The following morning my BRC neighbors were leaving a note on my bike as I came down with my gear.  After we said our goodbyes me face-to-face ties to the event were cut off and I felt lost.

Another Cool TreeAnother Cool Tree


Another Cool Tree


Looking at a map to make an actual plan rather than a direction, south, took me to the east side of Lake Tahoe where it was cold and windy.  After spending a few unproduction hours on the internet there I began to look for a camp.  Going solo into a National Forest was when I finally began to feel semi-normal and find familiarity.  On finding a serene and secluded camp I knew right away I’d be here for two nights allowing me to walk and write my mind back up to speed.

Aside from the 45 minutes of panic when I discovered my camera fell out of my pocket it’s been just what I needed.  Of course this happened on a day where I was making my own way through brush and trees with no easy was to retrace my steps.  The only good thing was that it had only been 15 minutes since I’d taken a picture.  Maybe that was the playa’s one last gift to me of finding it in the brush.  I could strongly do without the spot on an inner lens that the playa left me though….

Great Place To Clear My MindGreat Place To Clear My Mind


Great Place To Clear My Mind


With my return to a familiar setting and a day solely on my own I can now I’m most of the way back on my own two feet.  I am still missing the other set of feet I wandered the playa with though.  I hope you can tell from my last few posts that I had a great Burning Man experience.  If you are at all considering going, DO IT!  Not only go, but get the most out of it – go early and stay late if possible.  It’s an experience you can’t duplicate and one I now have for the rest of my life.

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13 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sep 17 2010

    It’s always interesting to read about Burning Man. I love the concept and could probably really get into it. I just know the dust would really get to me. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one.

    Your journey to Alaska seems to be over so quickly! I’m sure it seems faster for you than it does for me.

    • Sep 18 2010

      Hi Sabina. Wow, the second half of the trip has really flown by for me. It doesn’t seem long ago at all that I was still on my way north. I know my changing plans is part of that, including going to Burning Man, but I don’t regret any of the changes at all. They all led me to new experiences I was looking for. Hope you get to Burning Man one of these years. I’m a convert.

  2. Sep 17 2010

    Never once did it occur to me that you might be a spectator at Burning Man. You jumped in with both feet and embraced it with your whole being. It’s left its mark on you, and you on it. You’re a participant in my book.

    (Not that I’m authorized to give out membership cards or anything 😉 ).

    • Sep 18 2010

      Like I said the question caught me off guard a bit and all I could think of at first was all the things I missed. Instead of all the great experiences I had. I think the swag you gave me (and I’m currently wearing) is a fantastic membership card!!!

  3. Sep 17 2010

    Coming out of the warmth and goodness of Burning Man was so incredibly difficult. Knowing I had such and amazing community behind me for the week and now going back into the “real” world without their sweet support was hard.

    I’m going to miss everyone and everything like crazy!

    You have been on my mind lately – sending good thoughts your way!

    • Sep 18 2010

      Totally agree Erica! Was so great meeting the people behind OverYonderlust. Aren’t you glad that your trip continued for another week after instead of going right back home? I don’t think my mind would have been able to handle such a drastic change of getting right back to the same old routine. Thanks for the kind thoughts, right back at ya!

  4. Sep 19 2010

    Ok, Burning Man is now on my list of places to visit! I just hope I can convince the wife.

  5. Oct 12 2010

    Burning Man seems like a crazy experience, I love reading about it. I’d like to go there myself some time and experience it, but like you, as a participant rather than a spectator 🙂

    • Oct 12 2010

      It really isn’t hard to participate. Each person finds their own way to do it and away you go. It seems like such a long time to be there before hand then the days start disappearing before you know it once you’re there.

  6. Jun 11 2011

    Still havent made it to the burning man but I really liked your report makes me want to go next year.

  7. Kirsten
    Aug 21 2012

    Sorry hon, didn’t mean to throw you for a loop with that question! I think I was projecting what I imagined my own experience would be. But I seem to remember you said you weren’t sure. Either way, I’m glad it was such a good experience for you.

    Not sure how I missed this post back then. I’m just checking if you are updating your blog now that you are back on the road. At least with some pictures!

  8. Oct 7 2013

    Burning Man looks really cool. I might have to check it out some time.


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