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Is this festival deep in the heart of the Nevada desert on your bucket list? I hope that after this post, it will be! I attended Burning Man for the first time in 2013, and then again in 2015. Burning Man is intense, y’all. In some ways, it’s taken me almost six full months to process my burn to the point that I’m ready to write about it publicly. Well, I’m almost there. First, I thought I’d kick things off with a photo essay of my fifteen favorite photos from Burning Man 2015 (and yes, one of them is totally a selfie).

This being my second burn, I felt a little less pressure to obsessively document. There were nights I left my camera back at camp, and days I journaled pretty briefly. Still, Black Rock City is one of the most creatively stimulating environments I’ve ever immersed myself in, and I revel in my time spent there behind the lens.

So about that bucket list — how many of you joined me in a breathless battle though Burning Man’s ticket lottery this Wednesday? Here in the Thailand time zone, it meant staying up into the wee hours of the morning, and in my case, ended in a mild disappointment. Disappointment because attending Burning Man has been one of the most awe-inspiring experiences I’ve ever had, and I’m greedy to have it again. Mild because, well — I’m excited for the 60,000 that did get tickets to experience it for themselves.

While many tickets will continue to change hands between now and the end of August, I’ve taken the fact that I didn’t land a ticket as a sign to take a year off, reflect on why I go and what I want, reassess the ways in which I interact and contribute, and save up money and energy for the following year. I kinda feel like Burning Man and I are in this for life now, and we’ve got that kind of relationship where we can go a while and pick back up right where we left off.

Now I’ve shared the snapshots. Next, the stories. Do you have a burning question about Burning Man? Something you’re interested to read more about? A topic that intrigues you? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll try to address it in an upcoming post.

In dust we trust, my friends.

Final Call!

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36 Comments...
  • Cate
    March 25 2016

    I would love to hear more about burning man, but really any of your posts delight and entertain me! Keep up the awesome work!

    • Meihoukai
      March 29 2016

      Definitely lots more Burning Man coming your way!

  • Rashaad
    March 25 2016

    What did you enjoy most about Burning Man?
    Rashaad recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      March 29 2016

      Hmmm, thought provoking and hard to narrow down! I’ll have a think and try to incorporate that 🙂

  • Christopher Gema
    March 25 2016

    Incredible photos. I hope to make it out there one year. Would love to experience the awesomeness of it!
    Christopher Gema recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      March 29 2016

      Thanks Christopher. Well worth paying the camera cleaning fee once back in the default world 🙂

  • Lauren
    March 26 2016

    I want to know more about the bartering system and what you have brought to barter with! (:

    • Meihoukai
      March 29 2016

      Hey Lauren! I actually dressed this in a previous post — the bartering this is a huge misconception. There is no bartering at Burning Man — only gifting! And I like that system so much better 🙂

  • Not going to Burning Man this year, but am (finally!) warming to the idea. Possibly because I need a ship shaped like a whale in my life (duh).
    Kristin @ Camels & Chocolate recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      March 29 2016

      Wow, that is exciting news to hear! I’d definitely share an RV with you!

  • Ijana
    March 26 2016

    I’m not really a festival person so never really considered attending Burning Man, but you and some other bloggers talk so passionately about it that I’d be interested in giving it a shot one day. I get the impression that it’s quite different from a a typical festival that comes to mind when the only ones you really have heard of are EDC and Coachella, as well as various folk festivals?

    • Meihoukai
      March 29 2016

      Indeed — those are really music festivals and Burning Man is more of a big planned city experiment! Personally I haven’t been to anything else I could really compare it to.

  • Julia Nix
    March 26 2016

    I don’t like mud, dust or heat where some festivals like to be. Nways, love your photos here.

    • Meihoukai
      March 29 2016

      Burning Man is definitely a festival that pushes my limits with the elements — the cold and dust can be pretty overwhelming, that’s for sure!

  • Kristina
    March 26 2016

    Besides your awesome stories I love the cost breakdown and logistical posts of how you planned and managed everything while you were there. Also I’d love to hear your take on who/how many people to go with to have the best experience. Can’t wait to read about it!

    • Meihoukai
      March 29 2016

      Hm, I hadn’t thought about doing another cost breakdown but perhaps I will do another to see how it compares year to year. Thanks for the suggestions, Kristina!

  • Ray
    March 26 2016

    I was also one that did not get an early ticket this year, but still plan to go. Love your pics, and greatly appreciate your writing about the experience. I very much related to needing some time to even comprehend what in the world I just experienced at Burning Man, let alone show people photos or tell them about it. Most have no idea, or terribly misinformed preconceived notions about the burn… Thanks!

    • Meihoukai
      March 29 2016

      It really is an experience that takes some settling in, and time to absorb. I’ve been around the world and back but I’ve never been to anything like Burning Man. It is quite hard to articulate… though I do keep trying!

  • Chris
    March 27 2016

    Looks amazing! I would like to go someday, although I don’t think it’s in the cards for this year. I would love it if you wrote a post about some memorable experiences/people you encountered during Burning Man. One of my favorite parts of travelling is learning about a person’s stories-both locals and fellow travelers.
    Chris recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      March 29 2016

      Oh, I like that idea Chris! Makes me think next time I go I should do a portrait series of the people I meet…

  • Dominique
    March 28 2016

    It’s not on my bucketlist because I’m not sure I could handle it 🙂 I’ve only been camping once in my life and I’ve been to four music festivals (which included camping as well actually). I like all of that, but I’m not sure I could deal with the dust and the dirt of Burning Man, let’s see what kind of tales you tell. I might be persuaded!
    Dominique recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      March 29 2016

      Believe me — that’s a huge factor for me, and I’ll be writing more about it. Stay tuned!

  • Daisy Wong
    March 29 2016

    My boyfriend and I got tickets to Burning Man last week. I read all your post about Burning Man.

    I am not sure about joining a camp, or even how to find one that I would connect with. Also, did the dust damage your camera? We are thinking about bringing our Cannon.

    I am not a big camper and I keep hearing from people that we should get an RV or else we would be miserable?

    Too many things to think about, would love to hear your thoughts!

    • Meihoukai
      March 30 2016

      Hey Daisy! You’ll definitely have to invest in a professional cleaning when you get back from the playa. Even so, there will probably be some dust in your lens after. There’s no escaping with zero camera impact, I’m afraid, though you can minimize it by being super careful. It’s a tradeoff!

      I would recommend an RV if you are financially able to swing one. It’s 100% what I’ll be doing for my next burn — more on that in an upcoming post.

  • Robbie
    March 29 2016

    Such a unique event, unlike any other. I imagine there must be some very quirky sights! I’d love to go one day. Great pics.

    • Meihoukai
      March 30 2016

      I’ve certainly never experienced anything quite like it…

  • Christine burns
    March 30 2016

    I’m one of the fortunate who did get tickets this year. My first burn. I’m taking a UK friend of mine who is traveling the US for a year. The burn will be my kickoff to my upcoming travel blog, Two Bitches on the Road. I’m setting foot to travel the world with my Basset Hound, hence the “Two Bitches”. Since dogs can’t go to the playa, I’m taking my friend instead. I see that you recommend an RV…I can’t swing that, but will bring a tent instead. At this time, I don’t have a vehicle pass,so will likely bus it in. From what you witnessed when you were there, what type of tent do you think is the best to withstand the elements, yet provide some type of comfort and moving space when a gal just wants to get some shut eye, stash her stuff, escape the crowds, etc? BTW…your blog is an inspiration, so thank you!

    • Meihoukai
      April 6 2016

      Love the idea of traveling long term with your pup! As for the tent recommendation, unfortunately I am totally clueless in that arena. One piece of advice I can give though is to have two tents — one small cozy one to sleep in and one to store your stuff in and use as a staging area. And check out the Burner Express for transit! I’ll be writing more about it in future posts.

  • Mel
    March 31 2016

    I’ve never thought about going to Burning Man before. In fact, I’ve never really been to any festivals before, but I’m going to Primavera Sound this summer. Seems like you’ve been to a bunch of festivals which is really cool! Hopefully I can be as experienced one day haha

    • Meihoukai
      April 6 2016

      It’s become a very recent obsession! Checking off one or two every year, it seems 🙂

  • Chris
    May 29 2016

    I think I’d love to get there some day, just not so sure a week in the desert combined with freezing nights will really float Sarah’s boat! 🙂
    Chris recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      May 30 2016

      The nights definitely kill me! Next year I’m bringing snow pants!

  • Emiley
    July 19 2016

    Hi there! My husband and I got tickets this year, and are beyond stoked to lose our burnginity. I have a million questions, but I’ll narrow it down to a few things I’d like to hear more about, if you’re game. I have been reading up on the “Couples Survival” and would appreciate a bit more of your take on that aspect. As for costuming, I know to avoid anything that could have pieces falling off and becoming MOOP, but do you have any other suggestions for do/don’t? Will I be shunned by the “burnier than thou” if I don’t wear something outrageous every day? Finally…if you’d like any of your costumes to make another appearance on the Playa, I’d be thrilled to escort them, and send them back to you with stories 😉

    • Meihoukai
      July 25 2016

      Hey Emiley! I’m not sure what advice specifically you are looking for in terms of burning as a couple but personally I loved it. I read all the warnings and advice ahead of time, but had no drama! We had time together and time apart, and overall Ian was a rock for me throughout the week — I loved coming home to him in our tent! So I guess my advice is don’t let the warnings wind you up 🙂

      I’d stay away from feathers (some people wear them as I think they are technically no longer banned, but I didn’t really feel comfortable when I did as some people were a little focused on them), but otherwise don’t stress. I brought a lot of costumes because I love them, but I also brought basic comfortable clothes that I could do yoga and run around in. Let me know if there’s a specific costume you loved and are eyeing 😉

      • Emiley Carey
        August 2 2016

        That’s great advice; my husband and I have been traveling together over the last year and a half, and I think we had a pretty solid philosophy on independence/connection while we were abroad, so I am confident BRC will be a success!

        I’m working on a variety of costumes, ranging from wacky to comfy. I absolutely adore that sugarskull play suit!! The Rio leggings you posted recently are pretty rad too. The man burns in 32 days (!) so I totally understand if you’d prefer not to, but let me know if you’d like to see any of your gear on the playa again. I would send you some fun pics as well as return your costume and something of mine to add to your collection.

        Again, no sweat if you’re not into it. I’m hooked on your blog and IG regardless!
        Emiley Carey recently posted..

        • Meihoukai
          August 3 2016

          Hey Emiley! Oh man I would have LOVED to have sent you those two things (I hate when things get dusty in the closet waiting for their next appearance) but I just left Albany where my costumes live and won’t be back until mid-September! Next time? 🙂 Can’t wait to see your pics from the burn!