It’s Wednesday, August 20, 2008.

The Man burns in ten days.

In three hours one of your best friends will arrive from Australia. You have not seen him in two months.

In fourteen hours the person who your heart and mind and body desires most will arrive from Israel. You have not seen him in four months. He will be followed shortly thereafter by his father, who will arrive from North Carolina. You have never met him at all.

In three days you will all leave together, in convoy, for eight days in the searing, brutal and unpredictable Nevada desert, driving through the night to take part in an event so wild, so beautiful, so bizarre and so life-changing that your brain cannot yet begin to fathom the most basic aspects of it, let alone it’s myriad intricacies.

And you haven’t even packed.

Yes. You may vomit now.


Dano, your brother from another mother, arrives on Qantas flight whatever. Your excitement at seeing him is immense. Spastic jerking happy dances ensue at the airport. Once at home Dano carefully hands you the three precious containers of smuggled contraband you requested from the Motherland. You sniff the inky contents, dip a finger in the viscous tar, lick aforementioned sticky finger to ensure the purity of your prized black goo and, once assured, whisper with tremulous glee… “Ah. Vegemite. I love your work, son.”

Dano’s suitcase, when opened, looks like this….

It is an orgy of cuteness, a heaping of duty-free idiocy, a mess of koalas *.

* Made In China.

The fact that you have not yet packed or readied yourself at all is some bother to you. It is counter intuitive to your organized and somewhat busy nature. You like to be prepared. Fortunately, so does Dano, and thus you have both come up with The List.

Culled from websites and friends suggestions The List is a basic recipe for all of the ingredients you will need to keep you comfortable at Burning Man. It does not include foodstuffs (except for the most essential of all foodstuffs – something I assure you that you will crave if you don’t have it, even if you are vegan).

Without further ado… I give you….

ZOE AND DANO’S BURNING MAN LIST 2008

Essentials- DO NOT FORGET!!

BACON! (And none of that turkey bacon or vegetarian bacon, either. Bacon bacon only).
tent (unless you are a pussy and/or can afford an RV)
three-foot lengths of bent re-bar to hold tent in place (it’s a tad windy sometimes)
inflatable mattress and pump
sleeping bag/duvet
bike
camel pack (or a camel)
3 gallons of water per day
earplugs (no explanation necessary)
dust masks (again, no explanation necessary)
goggles and sunglasses x2
Ziploc bags (for everything, and I mean everything. If there were Ziploc bags with air holes you would want one for yourself, even though Ziploc bags with air holes would totally defeat their purpose.)
more bacon!!!

Basic stuff- TRY NOT TO FORGET!!!

umbrella/parasol
Leatherman/tools
plate/cutlery
toilet paper
blanket
pillow
towel
batteries
airtight plastic containers for clothes etc
garbage bags
lighter/matches
camera
extra camera bits
sun shower
coolers
WD40
bike repair kit
torch, personal and bike
head lamp
shade structure (it’s bright and hot out there)

Medical/Skin care-

sunscreen (STRONG)
unscented baby wipes (in lieu of showering. You will need plenty)
moisturizer
paw paw ointment
leave-in conditioner
foot cream
hand cream
first aid kit
electrolytes
mouthwash
toothpaste
toothbrush
sleeping pills
vitamins (5HTP)
painkillers
Dano’s anti-inflammatory pills
Something in case you get a rash on your botty

Clothing- (optional)

hats
boots
socks!!
beanie
gloves
scarves
coat
pants w lots of pockets
fluffy legwarmers
full body fish net- crotchless, of course
holsters
leather things
head-dresses
tutus
sulu/sarong
prom dress
tool belt
stilts
fluffy muff
frilly apron
lacy things
corset
anything that makes you feel beautiful, adventurous, free, comfortable, sexy, silly, regal, hard-core or just downright kinky.

The above portion of The List is fairly self-explanatory. The final section includes items that won’t necessarily aid in your comfort, but might certainly aid in your enjoyment.

Fun Stuff-

totems
flag
roo stamp and ink
kite
bike
stubbie holders (beer can coolers)
easel
whip
roll of paper and crayons
fake lawn

face paint
guitar
blinky things
journal
texta (sharpie) on a string
periscope
telescope
cow prodder
wig
pogo stick

And now you are ready. This is all you need and more. Feel free to take none of it and I’m sure you will be looked after. Remember that absolutely everything that you take in to Black Rock City must be taken out again. You can leave no trace. Remember that there is only one phone out there (not including the direct line to God) so chances are you will be out of contact with your Loved Ones for the duration of your stay. If this upsets you I suggest bringing your Loved Ones. If your Loved Ones are on the smallish side there is a camp called Kidsville where families congregate. Kidsville is Utopia for small humans.

Fall in love, find yourself, lose yourself, find yourself all over again just in time to lose your friends and make new ones. Confront your fears and insecurities. Give them away. Blow your mind and heart and soul wide open. Dance. Get dust in your eyes and nose and ears and bits. Discover Playa Boogers. Look after people, just as others look after you. Serve. Explore. Be stimulated. Be tested. Survive. Grow. This is Burningman. Before I experienced it I would roll my eyes at the people who claimed that it was indescribable. It IS indescribable. In the most wonderful way.

Perhaps you’ll know what I mean some day. I really hope you do.

BLACK ROCK CITY, NV-

Your boots are white with dust as fine as talc. Insidious stuff. Your legs, your arms, your face, whatever clothing you have decorated your body with – all are white, silty and dry. Your skin reacts to the alkaline, shrinking, drying, withering, trying to escape it. But there is no escape. The dust is everywhere – in your eyes, your lungs, your ears, in every nook of your body, in every cranny, in every fold of fabric that adorns you, everywhere you look… your world is white. And so you trudge across this white world, this wide expanse of nothingness, bracing yourself against the whirling-dervish winds, staring blindly into the invisibility that surrounds you. You are cocooned in the nothing, strangely safe and yet completely assailable.

You have never felt more alone, more surrounded by love, or more alive. Your vulnerability is your greatest strength.

This post-apocalyptic landscape strengthens your resolve and buffers your sense of self.

You are at The End of the Earth.

Welcome Home.


You catch a glimpse of moving structures and beings through the whiteness. A creature looms, a fluffy rabbit drives by helmed by a renegade cast of characters, a half-naked hula-hooper spins into view and vanishes again, a goggled and masked humanoid passes on a feathered bicycle and disappears into the cloud, something indescribably weird happens and you can only shake your head in wonder. There is much that is indescribable here. Indecipherable, unimaginable… you know that you will have a hard time convincing others of the perfection of this very imperfect place and you shrug. You are not, nor will you ever be, a missionary.

Noises abound. The wind howls over whoops and yells. There is music everywhere. Guitar screams, thumping bass, a violin…. a violin? Nothing you expect and everything you could ever imagine – if you were insane. For this is madness. Barely organized chaos. Insanity. The bizarre, the beautiful, the grotesque, the amazing.

Onward you move.

As the light fades so does the wind. The roar and force abates but the madness doesn’t. The power of nature is replaced by the power of humanity and technology as a whole new world reveals itself to your eyes.

The white-out is over.

You remove your dust-mask, your goggles, your methods of protection. You look around and, in the fading desert sunset, in the dusky twilight of the Nevada gloaming, this is what you see-

Magic.

All around you are lights of every color. Red and blue and gold and green. Static, flashing. The lights belong to structures that pump sound out into your environment. You are far from these lights but they surround you completely. You are in a womb of blinking neon.

A pirate ship on wheels passes by. A silver Sphinx crosses its path in a near collision. The fluffy rabbit returns. Someone waves and smiles. You return the greeting.

A rocket approaches and the feeling you are having of being a traveler to another planet intensifies. Perhaps you are on the set of a science-fiction epic? Perhaps you are a warrior on the barren plains of another world? Perhaps you are a god or goddess, a king or a queen, a survivor of the apocalypse… one of The Last?

Or maybe you are just you and you feel different? Bigger, stronger, more alive…. more capable and inspired. Your reality is altered.

The possibilities are endless.

In the distance you see your destination. Your bunny-ears twitch and a smile illuminates the twilight.

Look!

Your feet skip a dance to a tall Moroccan tent filled with laughing people. Cocktails are poured, trays of food pass under your nose. You partake, feasting, drinking, soaking it up.

The person you love is grinning. He/she looks beautiful, radiant, alive and very, very dusty. You have never loved more deeply or with more detachment to an outcome.

Your heart is full.

Your friends are happy.

Small worries fade away.

A new perspective emerges.

Your life seems suddenly complete.

You have evolved somehow and a strange new sentiment is birthed within you.

“All is as it should be.”

You know you will remind yourself of these words in the near future whenever a cab is late, a drama unfolding, a person pushing your buttons or things not going your way. You know you may temporarily forget these words, but that they will come back to you more and more, and that from this moment on you are changed.

You have become lighter and happier and less touchable by Stuff.

You have survived the storms, transcended yourself and walked through fire.

You are at Burning Man and your world will never seem the same again.

If you would like to see a video of our time at Black Rock City, Nevada then please click the following link. The movie was made by Ron Kurti and stars himself, his father, our friend Udi (who took all of these beautiful pictures) and yours truly.

BURNING MAN 2008

It is a perfect memory made into a whimsical and beautiful little film. Please enjoy and feel free to leave a comment on either of our pages. Hearing stories of your own experiences on the Playa would be wonderful and if you have any questions which might inspire you to go then I’d love to help answer them. xx