10 Reasons Why Burning Man Is the Most Amazing Place on the Planet

"So how was Burning Man?"


I'm still struggling to answer that question. "Indescribable", "life-changing", and "unbelievable" immediately come to mind but even those words fail to grasp the magic that is Burning Man.

At first, I thought I would blog about my day-to-day experiences living in Black Rock City. I realized shortly after it would be impossible to do. Life in the desert was just so intense. I saw so much, did so much, and felt so much. No journal entry could capture my time on the playa. 

So instead of chronicling my daily adventures, I want to try and show you what Burning Man is all about. Here are 10 reasons why Burning Man is the most amazing place on the planet.



1) You can be whoever you want to be





Radical inclusion and radical self-expression are fundamental principles of Burning Man. What happens when these concepts are put to use on the playa? They create an environment where acceptance, love, and belonging are the norm. Citizens of Black Rock City can be whoever they want to be and do whatever they want to do. No judgements or discriminations here.




Burning Man is brimming with love, happiness, and freedom. It's a magical place where people let go, show their true selves, and are accepted with no questions asked. I know I sound like a total hippie right now but honestly, the world would be a much more peaceful place if people put radical inclusion and radical self-expression to use in their daily lives.

2) The parties are out of this world


"So Burning Man's like a festival right?"

WRONG. It is so much more.




Carl Cox and Diplo played B2B at the Sacred Dance "white party" hosted by Opulent Temple

It doesn't matter if it's 12am or 12pm; the party never stops in Black Rock City. You can't pass by a single street without being pulled in by flashy sound stages, dancing partygoers, and thumping bass. On the open playa, DJs take control of mutant vehicles to spin their favourite tracks. Burners of the night dress in the most elaborate of costumes and don't stop grooving until the sun comes out. 





I think I spent at least 70% of my week dancing. I just couldn't help it! The music was so infectious and enthralling. Artists played for hours and hours, giving them enough time to take you on a complete musical journey. I loved that. I wish more events allowed artists to play longer than an hour or two.





Some of my fondest memories took place at the legendary Robot Heart sound stage. Dancing with great friends, taking in euphoric deep house sounds, and watching the sun usher in a new day are moments I'll never forget.

A night not soon to be forgotten 🌅 After hoping around from sound camp to sound camp, we rode as a group across the Playa and followed the beat to Robot Heart. We parked our bikes and made our way into the crowd which quickly grew as we inched closer towards the sun rise. Word began to spread that none other than Lee Burridge would be providing the soundtrack to this morning's sunrise, and when he began his set everything was perfect. We stayed and danced for hours, immune to the cold because of all the body heat from the magical crowd. When the sun was fully up, we rode back across the desert to get a couple hours sleep so we could spend our last day exploring the art we missed in the previous days. Our last Playa sunrise 🔥🔥🔥 @onezie @thechroniclesofwanderlust @mathew_orosz #burningman #robotheart #leeburridge #playasunrise #talesfromtheplaya
A video posted by Stephanie. (@stephcerratti) on





3) It's a society based on gifting 




Contrary to popular belief, Burning Man is not a bartering society; it's a gifting one. I was gifted everything from tequila slushies to fragrant bath salts to artistic post cards to bear hugs. It was fun receiving gifts but the real joy was giving back. My friends and I gifted freezies to sweaty Burners on a hot day. And you know what? It felt GREAT gifting things. We got to meet loads of new people and everyone was so appreciative of our frozen treats.


Decommodification is another important Burning Man principle. Black Rock City has zero advertisements, no commercial sponsorships, and frowns upon consumerism and excessive consumption.  In short, money is no good here. The only items you can purchase are ice and coffee. You're on your own for everything else.



Not relying on my wallet felt strange. Receiving gifts felt even weirder. But at the end of the week, I understood why Burning Man promotes decommodification. I interacted with more strangers at Burning Man than I do in a month. I stopped valuing physical objects as much. When money has no worth, we become more unique, more priceless, and more human.

4) The open playa at night is absolutely mesmerizing




Think of the most impressive city lights you've ever seen. Is it Times Square? The Las Vegas Strip? Perhaps it's the Hong Kong skyline? Whatever it is, picture it in your head. Now multiple that image by 1000. That's what the playa looks like when the sun goes down.


















Enchanting is the only way I can describe biking through the open playa at night.

Dazzling art cars packed to the brim with partygoers zip by you while blasting the funkiest of tunes. Fireworks illuminate the sky. Bikes coated with vibrant el wire zoom past you. Burners rock light-up tutus, vests, backpacks, masks, and shoes. Fires crackle and glow on every corner of the desert. Twinkling art installations cast a spell on those who walk by.








5) The sunrises will leave you speechless


The dust storms this year were brutal. I got lost so many times because I couldn't see a metre ahead of me. Sunrises were the only part of the day where everything was absolutely still. At sunrise, you're able to see across the entire playa and just take everything in.






One night, Dan and I left Robot Heart and cycled out to the deep playa. We parked our bikes, took a seat in the dust, and sat in silence. The sun slowly crept up from beneath the mountains. Beams of pink, yellow, and orange painted the sky and illuminated the gorgeous landscapes around us. What a sight that was to experience. It was then I realized that Burning Man is about enjoying the little things we take for granted everyday.








6) You're surrounded by an endless amount of art, creativity, and beauty


This point needs no introduction. Scroll through the pictures and let them do the talking. All I can say is, I saw things at Burning Man I never knew could exist.
















7) You'll meet the most kind, radical, eccentric, and intriguing characters







Burning Man attracts a vast array of people from all walks of life. Despite where they're from, what they do, or how old they are, all Burners share a few common traits. They're tough, radical, open-minded, loving, creative, and full of intrigue. Without the citizens of Black Rock City, there would be no Burning Man. The people are what make the event so significant, unforgettable, and extraordinary.



8) Living off the grid is liberating




Burning Man preaches immediacy. It's all about living in the moment and being present right here, right now. My phone was off for the entire week. I cut myself off from Facebook, phone calls, email, and all that jazz. And guess what? I felt free. Completely free.







The amount of time we're glued to some sort of screen is sickening. Whether we're watching TV, working in front of a computer, or scrolling through our Instagram feeds, we forget to take a step back and savour the now. If Burning Man taught me anything, its to be more present and to stop worrying so much about the past and future.




9) You can let your inner child run wild





Got an itch to climb an art installation? Go for it! Yearning to prance around in nothing but a tutu all day? All the power to ya! Feeling like busting a move on top of a school bus? Why not? Want to grab a cocktail at the naked tiki bar? Nobody's here to judge. 


Burning Man is about surrendering everything you know and listening to your heart. It's a place where you can let your inner child run totally wild. It's pretty much Disneyland for adults!

Being a grownup takes its toll. You have a job, obligations, responsibilities, and others to take care of. At Burning Man all these things get tossed out the window. For a week, you get to focus on nothing but you and your happiness.



How did I let my inner child roam free? I partied until the sun the came up. I biked and explored every corner of the playa.  I drank my fair share of questionable cocktails. I clambered on top of countless art installations. I hugged too many strangers to count.  And the list goes on. At the end of the week, my inner child was beyond content.

10) The sense of community is incredible 



Burning Man isn't a festival. It's an experimental community. Every year, 70,000 participants make the pilgrimage to Nevada to build Black Rock City from the ground up.




Communal effort and participation are huge aspects of Burning Man. No one is a spectator and everyone is expected to pitch in. The Burning Man organization doesn't supply any entertainment or host any events. We are the entertainment. We are the events.

That means all the shows, musical acts, workshops, lectures, art, and classes are put together by the people for the people. This creates an extremely close knit community where everyone is invited to create, play, and share.







Want to go to Burning Man next year?


Burning Man is one of those things you won't understand until you experience it for yourself. If you're interested in attending next year, make sure to check out their website. It's loaded with preparation tips (read the Survival Guide), more information about the 10 principles, and ways on how to contribute to the event. If you want to get in touch with Burners in your area, look into the Burning Man Regional Network. Regional communities help Burners connect with each other. They also help bring Burning Man principles and culture to life through year-round events and activities.

Melissa Li

I’m a Canadian girl on a quest to step foot in every continent before I’m 30. You’ll most likely find me chowing down on Japanese ramen, partying at a music festival, hiking to the top of a scenic lookout, cuddling with cats, or chilling out at the beach. I’ve visited over 60 countries so far and hope to inspire you to do the same.

1 comment:

  1. Burning Man sounds like such an amazing experience and I love the idea of gifting things and devaluing money. I hope to get there in the near future :D

    ReplyDelete