Burning Man changes you, but often in subtle ways. This festival is unlikely to supply answers to all your life questions. Whilst every festival, and certain life moments can and do change you, Burning Man is special, as it does possess an uncanny knack of giving you just what you need. For some it’s breaking away from a boring office job for others it’s about experimentation or acceptance. For me Burning Man was about fun and this is what I loved most:
1 Ritual fires burning through to your heart
The Festival is called Burning Man not without reason, but there’s more to see than the climactic lighting of the wooden man. The Trojan Horse, The Temple and a host of other small works of art located around The Man are also ritually burnt every year. As the festival progresses, bigger works of art and fireworks are lit. Tension increases with fire breathing and drumming burners allocated at the sites.
Thousands of strangers gather and chat. Flames reflected in our eyes dance between us and cheeks begin to glow. Hands meet and people embrace. The heat feels amazing and the fireworks here are the best I’ve ever seen. After minutes a statue collapses and people collectively gasp, both aloud and in their hearts and then this moment together is gone. This moment is so unique; you feel calm, warm, dangerous, loved and connected at the same time.
2 Living the now together in full force
On arrival you receive a booklet listing the workshops and artworks Burning Man has in store for you. This booklet reveals a very diverse program with something suitable for everyone, but as you begin to pick workshops and head towards them you quickly notice a pattern: you’ll never make it on time. On your way you are always distracted by beautiful sights, gorgeous people and impressive, playful or soul touching works of art. You’ll soon learn to ditch your watch, the program and start enjoying the now.
Whilst cruising around most people write something in the temple for their loved ones – whether near, far or cherished in memory – climb the Burning Man for a spectacular view and dance or talk with strangers as they pass by. Loosing your way here is a celebration; it connects you to new people, new insights and exciting places. You constantly feel like you are on an adventure, but never alone. There is always a helping hand or a smiling face.
3 Enjoying a precious picture book with a golden glow
The first few days are especially intense. The Burning Man festival by day and by night, are two completely different experiences. By day, you’ll conquer dust storms, which make it impossible to see anything within one meter. By night, the desert feels just as fast as during daytime, but far more romantic and cosy. Once you’ve seen the desert sunset and twilight, they will stay with you forever.
Under the golden light, man-made objects acquire a unique glow. You won’t see plants or animals and the ground is cracked and bare. The Nevada dessert will turn green long after you leave the festival and the rains come, but even as a nature lover, Burning Man will lift your spirit. This is a place where you will be one with nature. Where people are grateful and leave no trace.