Burning Man Changed My Life: Burning Man Part 4

burning man changed my life

Reflecting back on my days at Burning Man, I can’t help but stand in awe of how amazingly surreal (and real at the same time) it was and how my heart aches to be in that loving environment again. Burning Man changed my life.

One of the things that is fascinating about the playa is the creation of the community. Every theme camp is different. You have camps with nerds (Orgribar anyone?), hipsters, hippies, travelers, furries, old, young, families, friends, dancers, fire spinners, DJs, drinkers, gay, straight, everywhere in between, black, white, purple – the diversity is fantastic! Everyone who comes to Burning Man is out there to help each other and experience life together. I have never been in such an open community and for the first time in my life, I felt like I was a complete part of the human race. We are all in it together. We are all here to love and experience beauty – even in the heat and harshness of the Black Rock Desert.

The workshops offered are so diverse as well. They offer anything from arts and crafts for kids to BDSM workshops for adults. There are poi lessons, massage workshops, and like our camp did, open advice to those looking for a more complete nomadic lifestyle.

Burning Man opened a part of my soul that I never want to close up again.

I danced until my knees were knocking and my feet felt like they were going to fall off.

I had a beer at 8am with some of my camp mates.

I helped create a tight knit community (Camp Nomadia).

I rode in an art car around the playa until 4:30am.

I went without a shower for a week and I didn’t freak out!

I started to make progress on my claustrophobia.

I made connections with people that will last a lifetime.

I became more accepting of my body.

I participated in a photography project that opened my eyes and allowed me into the personal space of the subjects.

I learned that I am more conservative than I thought I was (that one blew my mind).

And while I am able to relive some of my feelings of my days at the playa, I am still having problems completely reintegrating into my old life. How are we supposed to go back to dealing with the woes of humanity when we experienced a week of life when things were so good? How, when for a week, my mind was focused on the beauty of the human spirit, the creativity that lies within, and the love that can be felt from miles around?

burning man changed my life

burning man changed my life

burning man changed my life

These guys made us really happy. Hopefully Shaun and I will look like them one day. Shaun already looks like the guy!

Welcome to The Nexus… the jungle gym… for adults. Complete with DJs on in the inside.

If you look very VERY closely you can see someone trying to walk during a white out.

There was a Black Rock Disco skating rink around I swear!

***Looking for Burning Man supplies, costumes, and goodies? Make sure to head to our shop for the best in Burner supplies!***

44 Responses to “Burning Man Changed My Life: Burning Man Part 4”

  1. Kristina October 1, 2010 at 9:31 pm #

    I guess the actual experience can carry you for a while, but it’s what you take from it that will last forever.It sounds awesome! And the pink door was freaking brilliant!

    • Erica October 5, 2010 at 12:52 am #

      @Kris: I LOVED the pink door! Shaun wasn’t into it at all lol.

  2. dee October 1, 2010 at 11:17 pm #

    I had been meaning to ask you if they still had the thunderdome out there, so I was thrilled to see your last picture!! Beautiful pictures :)

    • Erica October 5, 2010 at 12:52 am #

      @Dee: Sorry about the late response! Sadly I was sick in my tent when they were actually doing the fights or I would have had more pictures!

  3. Jenny October 2, 2010 at 10:18 pm #

    OMG. You have so many amazing photographs of Burning Man. I really hope that I’ll be able to attend next year because this event looks epic! I don’t even really understand what it’s about, but I do think that it’ll be one hell of an experience.

    • Erica October 5, 2010 at 12:53 am #

      @Jenny: Thank you! I would really suggest checking out the main website, http://www.burningman.com – They go into philosophies and stories if you would like to know more about it.

  4. Globetrottergirls October 2, 2010 at 10:20 pm #

    Burning Man sounds like something we’d definitely love – intense, but what a great festival, so diverse! I like how you say ‘I felt like I was a complete part of the human race’. We hope we can experience it ourselves one day. The photos look amazing.

    • Erica October 5, 2010 at 12:55 am #

      @Globetrottergirls: It is an experience like none other. I suggest that everyone should go at least once in their life. I carry it with me daily.

  5. Emily @ Maiden Voyage October 5, 2010 at 4:05 am #

    Such amazing pics! That first one of you and Shaun is too cute. It’s amazing how much dust is in the air…it looks so eerie. It’s amazing to hear how transformative this was for you! Glad I get to see these pics and live vicariously through you :)

  6. Jason October 9, 2010 at 8:24 am #

    Thanks for the great images Erica, they have inspired me to one day make the trip to Burning Man. They remind me of a trance festival I went to in Outback Australia many years ago, for a total eclipse.

    • Erica October 12, 2010 at 12:53 am #

      @Jason: Thank you! Honestly, the pictures do not give it justice. I really think that if it remotely strikes your fancy, you should definitely go!

  7. Ayngelina November 8, 2010 at 2:15 pm #

    I love the large format photos, really beautiful work.

    • Erica November 9, 2010 at 11:02 pm #

      @Ayngelina: Thank you! I just made my blog a bit wider so my horizontal pics are as small. The new black formatting makes everything look pretty. <3

  8. Laura November 8, 2010 at 4:45 pm #

    Great photos! I can only imagine the interesting characters you came across at Burning Man.

    • Erica November 9, 2010 at 11:03 pm #

      @Laura: I met some of the most amazing people. It was so sad that I had to leave my community at the end of the week.

  9. Federico November 12, 2010 at 8:03 pm #

    Superb photos! For the first time I now get and idea of what BM lookis like…despite the dust! Was it windy all the time??

    • Erica November 14, 2010 at 8:40 am #

      @Fede: We were lucky this past year and no white outs showed up until Wednesday night. After that it was quite windy and dusty most of the time. I think I was the only fool out there busting out their nice camera lol!

  10. Abby Tegnelia November 13, 2010 at 10:21 pm #

    I never knew much about Burning Man wow. It reminds me of a week I spent camping in Spain during the Running of the Bulls. All the groups had themes, and it was one big love-fest, in the best possible way. I was so young though. This got me thinking!

    • Erica November 14, 2010 at 8:43 am #

      @Abby: The whole experience is still with me. I still am trying to contemplate about what even happened during that period of time. It was, literally, a “utopian” society for about a week. Amazing! I never knew that the Running of the Bulls had a community like that!

  11. Margo November 14, 2010 at 9:52 pm #

    Wow! What an amazing experience you had. I love your list of things of things you did…. And then I got to the fantastic photos. I too never really “got it” with the Burning Man and you have done a great job making it come alive. I don’t think I could stand all that dust for very long, but I would love to go!

    • Erica November 15, 2010 at 8:39 am #

      @Margo: Honestly I can’t imagine that Burning Man is for everyone so I’m glad I could give a preview for those who are curious. 😛 The dust really got to me and for a while and I thought I was going to lose my mind.

  12. Sankalp Agarwal December 30, 2010 at 8:29 am #

    The pink door is pretty awesome click. Came to know about Burning Man project in Black Rock Desert after reading your post. The pictures and the blog describe it really good.

    • Erica December 30, 2010 at 7:39 pm #

      @Sankalp: I love the pink door! It made me happy. :) You should check out the festival, it is amazing!

  13. dtravelsround January 20, 2011 at 8:33 pm #

    WOW. These are simply amazing.

    • Erica January 21, 2011 at 7:05 pm #

      @D: Thank you! I have quite a few that look amazing in large format but I don’t want to Burning Man people out. 😛

  14. Cailin August 25, 2011 at 10:52 pm #

    Very cool!
    I was hanging out with Josh Johnson recently me and he was getting me all excited about burning man. I would really love to go sometime! Fingers crossed next year! :)
    love your photographs, that pink door was really cool! :)

    • Erica August 25, 2011 at 10:58 pm #

      @Cailin: Josh is a really awesome guy. I was checking out his vids from the year prior. I wish we had video capability during that time. I could have captured really amazing things. If you are into camping and extreme weather then BM is for you. It is super hard some times but the people, experiences, and art installments took my breath away. I get weepy knowing I’m not going to make it this year.

  15. dtravelsround August 26, 2011 at 12:55 am #

    Yeah … I still love these pics!!

    • Erica August 28, 2011 at 11:53 am #

      @D: Thank you for commenting! ♥ This is one of my favorite posts.

  16. Stephanie - The Travel Chica August 27, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

    What an incredible experience! Love all the photos.

  17. jade August 29, 2011 at 6:09 pm #

    Awesome shots! Holy crap- love the ones looking down!

    • Erica August 29, 2011 at 9:09 pm #

      @Jade: Thank you! There was so much to shoot!

  18. Candice August 30, 2011 at 5:12 am #

    Aggggh, Burning Man posts make me so envious!

    • Erica August 31, 2011 at 12:15 am #

      @Candice: I am so incredibly depressed we’re not going this year. Like, I feel like part of me is missing. :(

  19. Christy @ Ordinary Traveler August 30, 2011 at 1:38 pm #

    We have a good friend who goes to Burning Man every year and we have still not been able to coordinate it with our schedules. It seems like we already have another trip booked by the time we realize Burning Man is coming up. Your photos make me want to go! I don’t know how I would feel about all that dust though. lol

    • Erica August 31, 2011 at 12:19 am #

      @Christy: It is actually quite hard to coordinate everything to head out to Burning Man for sure. It is something that requires the year ahead just planning for that one week. Especially when it comes to buying the right supplies, making costumes, picking out your menus, decorations, etc. The dust really made it hard, I’m not going to lie. That is one big reason everyone doesn’t go. I saw people leaving left and right.

  20. Seattle Dredge September 20, 2011 at 12:45 am #

    I’m sure someone already asked this… but HOW on Earth did your camera survive that?! haha. AMAZING photos 😀

    • Erica September 20, 2011 at 11:28 am #

      @Seattle: It partially didn’t. I had to pry off my UV filter from my 50mm lens due to the moisture and the sand making a hard clay glue. Other than that I tried to keep it in a bag and away from most sand storms. I think it was worth it – just needed a bit of cleaning when we got home. 😀

  21. Batangas City Houses September 23, 2011 at 1:15 am #

    I envy you! I’ve never been into camp, and i can see that it is really enjoyable. I love your photos, you blog and your experience as well. Really great shots you got there. Now i have to congratulate you :)

  22. Caroline Lewis April 8, 2013 at 2:17 pm #

    Hi! I just came across your blog. Me, my kiddo, and my husband live in Austin and we are leaving in Nov/Dec for a year of travel to Central America. It’s pretty awesome that I found an Austinite that is doing the same thing we will be doing. Are there more of us in Austin?!? We are thinking about starting our trip with Burning Man and then going to Costa Rica right after. It may be our only chance to experience Burning Man, but I’m not sure I want to start traveling during the rainy season. What do you suggest? Should we wait? Feel free to send me links of posts that might answer my questions. In the meantime, I will continue browsing your site. Also, it would be great if you could put us in contact with travelers or burners in Austin.

    • Erica April 8, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

      Hey Caroline! It is nice to e-meet you! We are currently hanging out in Guatemala for a bit (what can I say? We love this place!).

      Okay, let me try the best I can with your questions.

      1. The Couchsurfing community in Austin is a great source of information in Central America. Many of us have done it.
      2. The longer BM goes, the harder it will be to get tickets. Go if you have the chance.
      3. We spent 10 months in rainy season. It can be a bit of a bummer sometimes but there is no one there and everything is super cheap (AND EMPTY!).
      4. If you go to the search bar on the top right corner, you should be able to find articles based on most countries in Central America.
      5. Look up Flip Side. It is the regional Burning Man (that we are going to in May) in Texas. There are THOUSANDS of Burners in Austin. Even if you don’t go to FS, it is a great community to hook up with when talking about BM plans. :)

      Hope that helps out!

  23. Caroline Lewis April 8, 2013 at 3:16 pm #

    Yes, Flipside! I found out about it just recently. Thank you for reminding me. I will try to get tickets.

    We keep going back and forth about our departure day and Burning Man. It will def be an extra expense. We usually travel to Costa Rica in the rainy season and we love it, but I’m afraid we might not enjoy it as much since we won’t be vacationing and staying at nice hotels. However, I do like the idea of getting green season discounts. Decisions, decisions! :)

    Thanks for getting back to me so quickly! Looking forward to having a new blog to read!

  24. Priya July 19, 2016 at 6:55 am #

    Wow! What an amazing experience you had. I love your list of things of things you did…. And then I got to the fantastic photos. I too never really “got it” with the Burning Man and you have done a great job making it come alive.

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