2013 marked my fourth year at Burning Man, and also my fourth year attending as a burner traveling from Bushwick. Throughout the years the high Nevada desert has gifted my eyes spectacle after spectacle, my heart internal warmth, and has been the building block on how I want to shape my perspectives. I’ve loved it, hated it and carried part of this annual ritual with me since I first attended. Yet, I’ve grown in Bushwick too. I’ve lived here for part of its growth and participated in its awesome community. Bushwick is its own color pallet, filled with carefree people who shine bright against the concrete warehouses. So why make the trek to Burning Man?
Each year I see more and more burners from NYC relocating to Black Rock City for a week. And that makes sense, New Yorkers need to leave and come back. But it’s certainly not easy for an east coaster to make their way out to Burning Man. Serious(!) planning is involved. When you add up camp, flight, baggage and rental car fees, plus water (2 gallons per person, per day is the recommended amount), food, costumes and those glitter gold fish earrings you had to buy in San Francisco, the trip can easily add up to $2,000. (You can read more on how to survive the harshness of the Black Rock Desert here). But if it’s an adventure you seek, it is, without a doubt, most certainly worth it.
Every burners experience in Black Rock City is 100% self-made. One can be out there for eight days and still not see some devilish art car your fellow campmate was ranting about last night at 3am in the kitchen. No, not the octopus one. Burning Man is what you make it, whether that be a spiritual retreat, sorting through a midlife crisis, a 24/7 party or to reunite with old pals.
I’ve camped with camp Yummy RUMInations for three years. We have roots in NYC, Los Angeles, Miami, Seattle, Chicago, and more. We, at some point or another, started out as strangers and have bonded over camping stoves, narly boogers and lazy afternoons under a shade structure listening to New Orleans jazz. For me, one of the best parts of Burning Man has been experiencing the comradery and friendship that exists in Camp Yummy. It’s real, tangible, it’s home.
Did I mention Burning Man is glamourous? You are a drag queen in the desert and the fan is always on. Sure, you have dust-stained hands and smell like that guy, but you learn to embrace it. When you’ve reached the burner summit and are actually there, riding your glowing bike under the stars dressed as a yeti, a sense of accomplishment washes over you. There’s something to be said about paying so much to be in the middle of nowhere, totally unplugged. It takes a lot to go nowhere.
Check out the pics below, and look out for some familiar Bushwick neighbors!
If you decide to go to Burning Man, take the lessons learned out there and bring ’em back to Brooklyn, or wherever you live.