Burning Man was an amazing experience! It was filled with new friends, new adventures, and new discoveries about myself. Burning Man has a lot to do with the people, but to me it’s a spiritual journey and unlike anything else, anywhere in the world. This was my second “burn” and it was exponentially better than my first. This trip I went for a full week (which I highly recommend), stayed with a camp of fellow Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, and felt like a “true burner” the entire time. The best part about being a Burning Man veteran is teaching the new burners about the culture, and I felt like I did a good job of sharing my version of “the playa” with them.
My trip started out with a 10 hour drive to Reno, Nevada where I met my friends Ben and Rocky and stayed a night. It rained heavy Sunday and into Monday, so Burning Man was temporarily closed and we spent a night outside the Burning Man grounds at Lake Pyramid. Lake Pyramid was beautiful, but it was only a prelude to the amazing things we’d soon see. After another 5 hours driving Tuesday morning we were in!
And the adventures finally began! This year I stayed at Bao Chicka Wow Wow, which was in and of itself incredible. The dues were reasonable, the people and camp were amazing, we had an awesome art car, and a great playa gift – serving 1,000’s of Bao Buns (which are delicious steamed barbecue pork buns served with hot tea) to hungry burners. Bao Chicka Wow Wow was located at 2:15AM near sound camp, which I worried would make it hard to sleep, but I ended up staying up all night and adventuring every night anyways.
This year I stayed in an air-conditioned “Yurt” (highly recommended), which me and a dozen others built for weeks leading up to Burning Man. Together with 13 other yurts we made up Yurtville and it was incredible. The sun and sand were not a problem at all, contrary to popular belief. I do wish I brought a blow up bed like some of my yurt neighbors however. In total there were 85 people in my camp and a lot of time was spent getting to know them. Meeting new friends and experiencing the events of Burning Man together was priceless time. Conversations started off normal, but quickly became personal as the days went on and relationships deepened, barriers went down, and ultimately we became a playa family.
Yurtville at Camp Bao Chicka Wow Wow
During this burn I spent about 50% adventuring alone and 50% with the group. I cherish my solo time, because it’s the only time I’m free to do whatever I want free of any inhibitions. In a culture where everything is accepted and you can do what your heart desires, the only rational thing to be is yourself! My favorite workshops this year took place at the Sacred Spaces Village. I took part in workshops on “channeling my spirit animal,” and “love + acceptance meditation.” I also had a blast at gong meditation, playing on a trampoline with kids, trying the swing course at Swing Camp, and playing God to anyone who picked up the phone in front of Red Lightning “Hello my child, this is the big G O D.”
The Coolest Kids in Camp
God Phone Booth; I Answered
For group activities, a lot of my time was spent rocking the ‘art car’, an ice-cream truck retrofitted to be an Ice-Berg called Titanic’s End, and serving Bao Buns in the deep desert. It took the whole week to figure out how to master the sound, lighting, and location required to be a cool art car. It was definitely trial by error, but by the end of Burning Man we had 100’s of loyal fans flocking to our car, eating Bao, and being weird with us in one awesome mixture of what can only be described as a dream.
My favorite personal night this year was Thursday. That night I spent 3 hours at the Disorient Dome in deep thought about my life and the person I want to become in the future. Then I met the most incredible people from the “Superheros and Villains” camp and danced around with them for 3 hours. I took a dance workshop with my friend Ted earlier in the year and all the lessons definitely paid off! Then I wandered for 3 more hours, walking the deep playa, running into some old friends (Mike, Connor, Dilan, & Moses) and making some new ones (Bao… o sweet Bao). The night ended in the daytime, watching the “Embrace” art installation burn. I didn’t get a photo, but luckily my friend Eric was seated 8 ft above me on an art piece and shared this photo with me when we had sushi a few days ago. At the time I had no idea it was Eric sitting above me, but that’s the type of incredible serendipity of Burning Man.
My favorite group night was the Man Burn, which I spent with my friend Apoorva. There was something special in the air that night and it seemed like everything was perfect. We started riding around on bikes, continued on foot, ventured from art car to art car in what could have been a music video, but was closer to some sort of epic journey. We watched the sunrise at Robot Heart, the most epic party each night on the playa. My childhood friend was working the entrance and got us on-stage, along with all the DJ’s, gogo dancers, and entertainers. It was just that kind of night. By this point we had definitely ventured into some foreign fantasy land and to top things off I danced go-go for a few hours in front of 1000’s, hanging off the art car by one hand as the DJ played deep house and the sun clawed at the night’s door. Putting all of my experiences into words is difficult as Burning Man is truly an experience you need to see for yourself and not just read about.
Burning Man 2014 ended like it began, with lots of hugs, bright ambitions for things to come, packing, and ultimately driving home. I decompressed in Reno, ordering room service, showering, shaving, and enjoying the luxuries of our “normal” world. Life for me has definitely forever changed after this burn. The friendships, the experiences, the clarity into what/who I want to be. I can’t say enough… only that I know for sure I’ll be back next year and I hope you will join me!
Camp Bao Chicka Wow Wow