I’m going to Burning Man this year.

Ten days in the dust and the wind and the heat and the cold and the chaos. Ten days of thumping base and lunacy and love. Ten days of…. I have no idea what.

Many conflicting words and feelings spring to mind- solitude, isolation, adventure, companionship, evolution, degeneration, transcendence, freedom, inhibition, self-consciousness, self-expression… the list goes on.

I’m a Burning man virgin and (due to a recent compulsion to drive myself completely mad) over the last few weeks my excitement levels have waxed, waned, teetered, tottered, disappeared entirely into a pit of anxious fear and then returned, tentatively, dressed up as clowns and hookers.

Perhaps I need to explain…


Several years ago I had a depression that almost beat me. It’s a long and arduous tale and something I try to make light of as much as possible even if the residue is sometimes sticky and dark. The illness changed me. When the hopelessness receded I was a nicer, more empathetic and gentle person, but I was also more timid, I had become frightened of putting myself in situations that I would once have embraced without caution. Now I sometimes have The Fear. Adventures that I would never have thought twice about have become things I have to consider. Plans have to be made, things have to be clear and understood and there is little room for spontaneity in case I am ill-equipped to cope.

Or so I imagine.

So I let myself believe.

At some point in the last few months my Burning Man adventure turned dark. The Fear crept into me and the over-thinking began. I rationalized my over-thinking as ‘being responsible’ and, as a consequence, thought longer and harder about the myriad possibilities for disaster and became more and more tormented. Should I go? Could I go? Where will I camp? What about this? What about that? But, but, but……..

A few days ago I decided to put a stop to it.

Enough already.

A wise woman I know gave me the gift of a beautiful and clear metaphor “…If you were planning a trip to, say… Thailand… would you spend the whole time worrying about getting home safe? Or would you just go and enjoy the adventure?”

The answer was easy and it applies to everything in my life. My love, my work, my creativity, my soul.

In the last year, despite my worried efforts, locks and bolts (or perhaps because of them) The Fear has crept with insidious stealth through the bedroom window of my heart and left a big steamy poo on the fluffy white flokati rug of my soul.

It’s time to clean it up.

How do you clean up a metaphorical dump on an imaginary carpet?

Why that’s simple, boys and girls, you just… relax.

And so I went to Shmoo’s house.

And together we went hiking up Mount Tam in Marin County… in our Burning Man outfits.

What follows is a pictorial of our adventures. I hope you enjoy.

THE DAY SHMOO AND LADY BANDIT CLIMBED A MOUNTAIN AND LET IT ALL HANG OUT. A NINE STEP PROGRAM WITH GUARANTEED RESULTS-

STEP ONE. Find the perfect hiking outfit. Take your time. Be adventurous.

STEP TWO. Get in the car and put on some thumping beats.

STEP THREE. Get thee to a place with really big trees….

… and beautiful trails.

STEP FOUR. Look at the magic that surrounds you.

Soak it up.

STEP FIVE. After an hour of happy meandering reach the bottom of the trail. Think “that was easy!” and sit down for a minute….

… then start to climb back up.

STEP SIX. Stop a lot to catch your breath. Feel free to use the excuse ‘I’m just looking at the view’, it is, after all, a really nice view. It’s hard to see views if you’re always climbing up and puffing a lot.

STEP SEVEN. Admire yourself along the way. You’re doing good!

(Even if you are feeling like an old lady with lungs the size of pine nuts).

STEP EIGHT. Get to the top. Realize that for all your huffing and puffing and sweating and wondering if you were going to make it…. that you actually did. Celebrate it.

STEP NINE. Keep on walking. One foot in front of the other. Alone or together. On different paths or shared tracks. In bare legs or crotchless fishnet stockings…. just keep on walking.

It’s good for you.

But always remember this cautionary word from your sponsor.

When trees attack…

… just hug them.

THE END. x

TAGS: , , , , , ,

ZOE BROCK was born in New Zealand and raised in Australia. She has lived in more cities and on more continents than she can count (truly, she's a model and can't count) and is currently residing in the deep fog of San Francisco. Her true home lies on the dusty plains of Burning Man where she feels safe and challenged and truly alive. Zoë once had a very popular blog on MySpace and writes everything from awful poetry to truly delicious dark satire, and all sorts of sexy things in between. She has appeared on the cover of Elle magazine, inside the pages of Vogue, Cosmo and Marie Claire, to name a few, and is working on her memoir, an expose of 'growing up model'. Zoë is also a certified yoga teacher. Yes, that means she's bendy.

2 responses to “Hiking In Neon Crotchless Fishnet Bodystockings Should be Mandatory Therapy for the Fearful Among us – a Pictorial”

  1. the art of war…

    …He wrote that . . ….

  2. […] that she went to Burning Man.  And wrote about it.  Or that she prepared for it by hiking in neon crotchless fishnet bodystockings. Or that she digs the Diceman. Or that she writes dirty […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *