I’m playa bound (and signing off for 8 days)

Tomorrow is one of the most anticipated days of the trip to date.  At 9:00 a.m. we leave for the drive to Black Rock City, Nevada, to hook up with 68,000 of my closest (new) friends at Burning Man.  

You won’t find Black Rock City on the map as for about 48 weeks of the year it’s barren land.  The organizers of Burning Man are granted a permit each year to host the event on land controlled by The Bureau of Land Management.  The maximum occupancy for 2014 is set at 68,000 participants.  It was a complete sell-out within hours of tickets going on sale.  While there is a mechanism to resell a ticket, you can only do it through the organization and only at face value.  You are essentially “transferring” a ticket to another person, hence there is no ticket scalping.  

I have hooked up with a group out San Feancisco and together we will share the cost of the bus, several hundred gallons of drinking water, and all the food and equipment required for communal cooking.  We are each taking our own tent, bike, and all the clothing and supplies required to survive 7 days and 6 nights on what many have called “the most inhospitable 4400 acres of land in the lower 48.”

There is no internet or cell service about 100 miles north of Reno, Nevada, so don’t expect ANY contact until next Tuesday or Wednesday at the earliest.  I should be back in San Francisco by the evening of Tuesday, September 2, but will almost certainly be looking for a hot shower and a decent bed before I even think about editing photos or writing about my experience.

I was telling a friend this afternoon that it feels like the first day of high school in that I’m nervously looking forward to meeting new kids, dealing with new rules, and learning about new expectations of me, etc.  Thankfully there are no home room teachers at Burning Man so I won’t have to deal with Mr. Sutton.

I will post some background info on Burning Man for those who are curious.  Whatever you’ve read, or whatever opinion you’ve formed of Burning Man, it’s probably half correct and half “spin”.  It’s not all sex, drugs and house music, although all of the above is available if you want it – and just as in any city of 68,000 people, there will be many who do.  I promise that I’ll provide an unbiased account at some point.  For now, back to the laundry and packing.  

T-minus 10 hours until I’m on the road.







Burning Man Founder Larry Harvey wrote the Ten Principles in 2004 as guidelines for the newly-formed Regionals Network. They were crafted not as a dictate of how people should be and act, but as a reflection of the community’s ethos and culture as it had organically developed since the event’s inception.

Radical Inclusion
Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.

Burning Man is devoted to acts of gift giving. The value of a gift is unconditional. Gifting does not contemplate a return or an exchange for something of equal value.

In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience.

Radical Self-reliance
Burning Man encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources.

Radical Self-expression
Radical self-expression arises from the unique gifts of the individual. No one other than the individual or a collaborating group can determine its content. It is offered as a gift to others. In this spirit, the giver should respect the rights and liberties of the recipient.

Communal Effort
Our community values creative cooperation and collaboration. We strive to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction.

Civic Responsibility
We value civil society. Community members who organize events should assume responsibility for public welfare and endeavor to communicate civic responsibilities to participants. They must also assume responsibility for conducting events in accordance with local, state and federal laws.

Leaving No Trace
Our community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.

Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic. We believe that transformative change, whether in the individual or in society, can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation. We achieve being through doing. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. We make the world real through actions that open the heart.

Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in our culture. We seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves, the reality of those around us, participation in society, and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience.

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