Burning Man is an annual art event and temporary community based on radical self expression and self-reliance in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada.
Ok, what does that mean?
Well, after my 6th burn, I’ve learned to sum it up like this. A city built by people for people for 1 week to express and enjoy themselves in any way, shape or form that they can. No matter what you like or are in to, you can find it at Burning Man.
Located in the unrelenting Black Rock Desert in Northern Nevada, one of the most incredible things about the burn is seeing the amount of effort people make just to get out there. Let alone the amount of work that goes into setting up camp and living in the unforgiving desert for a week. However, it’s totally worth it.
The beauty of the barren landscape is breathtaking all on it’s own, I like to say it feels like being on Tatooine. But even more impressive is the city that is built by perfect strangers from around the world for all the rest of the citizens of Black Rock City to enjoy for a whole week, away from the hustle and bustle of what burners call “the default world”. Want to roller skate? Check out Black Rock Roller Disco. Need to send or receive mail? Head on over to 1 of 3 official post offices that can be found on the playa. Feel like jumping on a trampoline at 3am? Did your bike chain fall off in deep playa and you need a bike shop? It’s all there!
I like to tell people that it’s summer camp for adults. Losing track of time, dancing and spinning around like kids, climbing stuff, wearing silly clothes and eating food from coolers for a week. It’s total freedom to whatever degree you see fit.
From the insanely creative theme camps to the awe inspiring art cars and installations you find across the playa, there is no shortage of Wows! and OMGs! all week long. I happen to love swinging on a swing set in the desert while a giant roving duck with a firey mohawk drives by full of people dancing to awesome beats. It’s what the kookiest dreams are made of.
While BRC and its citizens are great, getting there is also part of the fun.
Living in Southern California, I feel like I’m one of the lucky ones who can drive to Burning Man. People fly from all over the globe to commune here and I really love the drive up (full of anticipation) and the drive back (full of reflection and decompression).
My favorite route is CA-395 that you can catch in the Mojave Desert and takes you all the way to Reno. On the way you drive past the most fantastic All-American small towns that make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Towns like Lone Pine, Big Pine, Independence, Bishop and Lee Vining, located on Mono Lake and right by the Tioga Pass that leads into Yosemite National Park. Plus, my favorite American Ghost Town, Bodie, is just a stone’s throw from Lee Vining! It’s such a great way to prepare for the week or your entrance back into real life by just soaking in the quiet majesty of the mountains and lush forests of California and Nevada.
Reno is the big pit stop before heading into the desert so be sure to check out my write up on where to dine in Reno for next time! As the area casinos catch wind that burners bring big money to the area before and after the event, be sure to book your in and out hotel ahead of time to get the cheapest deal and ensure you have a place to rest your head and shower before and after!
So if this has enticed you to try out Burning Man for next year, be sure to download my Burning Man Must Haves list to be fully prepped in time! But either way, get there if you can and see you in the dust!