Sep 20, 2010

Because Burning Man scares me

You've been put through a physical wringer, and emotionally just had highs and lows all week, and it's been a tremendous challenge to everything that you're made of.
-From Burning Man: Beyond Black Rock
Both documentary art film Burning Man: Beyond Black Rock and Confessions of a Burning Man address the question am I right for Burning Man?

One interview subject argues, if you're not 100% sure and have to ask the question then you probably can't afford it then no it's not right for you.

I wasn't totally sure BM was for me. At first the idea of going both terrified and excited me; maybe that's why I couldn't get it out of my head.

Then I realized my feelings about going largely paralleled my reasons for choosing India as my study abroad program. My first days in India were hellish and scary, even the most mundane task like going to the bathroom was fraught with strangeness and unpredictability. The most amazingly beautiful things could happen at any moment; you could be taking a cab ride through the city and find yourself in traffic stuck behind an elephant as if that sort of thing happened all the time and wasn't a big deal after all.


And that's when I stopped fighting it and gave in. In the end India was an experience that permanently altered who I am as a person and will continue to influence me for the rest of my life.

I know things are going to be nothing like home, that I'm going to have strange interactions and that wondrous things will happen around me without apparent explanation or reason.

I admit all that scares me a bit but I'm going precisely because Burning Man scares me a little bit, not in spite of it.


  1. You will lay awake at night, unable to sleep, terrified but exhausted from last minute preparations - the night before you leave.

  2. Relax and enjoy - if you forget something, someone else will give it to you. If you say the wrong thing ... you won't. No such thing. The fact that you're already working on an art project - so excellent. By taking the first step and making active plans, you've already joined the community. Welcome. Prepare to be delighted.