Why I Decided To Burn

written by Stephanie Rosa
(Originally posted in 2015 on SightsNSoundsWithSteph.com)
Why I Decided to Burn

For thousands, Burning Man is called “Home”. Some groups spend an entire year planning their journey to “The Playa”. They build communal structures, hexayurts to dwell in for the week, and plan activities for other Burners to take part in.

And then there are those who simply cannot fathom why anyone would want to take part in a week of dust, sweat, different levels of nudity, and no cell reception.

Since 1986, Burning Man has grown massive in attendance and in popularity. The festival prides itself on its 10 core principals including:

  1. Radical inclusion
  2. Gifting
  3. Decommodification
  4. Radical self-expression
  5. Radical self-reliance
  6. Communal effort
  7. Civic responsibility
  8. Leaving no trace
  9. Participation
  10. Immediacy

Click here to read more in depth about Burning Man’s Core Principles.

Burning Man Art. Photo Credit: Evan Cudworth

Burning Man Art. Photo Credit: Evan Cudworth

I personally have known about Burning Man for several years. Since hearing about the festival, I always thought it was an interesting concept for a festival, but not a festival I could see myself attending. Over the years, I have grown a lot as a person. I have learned to think outside the box, I have learned to appreciate art, culture, and diversity. As I grew and matured, I found myself considering Burning Man more and more. Finally, in 2012 I decided I wanted to go, but was unable to make it happen due to my work schedule. Taking off an entire week in sales can be like taking off a month, and with limited time off, you need to choose your time off wisely. At that time I wasn’t sure that Burning Man would be worth it for me.

In 2015 my life has seen the most amount of change. The beginning of the year was a struggle for me, as I moved through the lowest points of my life. As I began to work through my demons, plan my international journey and build this blog, I realized that this was the year for me to burn.

The festival is said to change everything for you… the way you think, your perception on the world, and serve as a life-learning tool. You just need to enter with a completely open mind. After a 4-month venture into the world on my own, I will be ending this trip with Burning Man.

I have done limited reading on Burning Man, although I am prepared (or so I think) to be in the middle of the desert for 7 days. I am choosing to walk into the festival with an open mind and an open heart and ready to embrace it all.

To me, Burning Man means leaving everything behind. For one week, I will be in a world where anything can exist, where someones wildest dreams can come to life, to a place that could never be replicated because it only exists in the moment.

I am fortunate enough to go with a group of 35+ people from around the world. I do not know anyone in my group personally, but I am beyond excited to meet them. Dubbed Champagne Chandaliers, we will be located at 4:45 and Freakshow. The group located in San Francisco (although our group is coming together from around the world… literally) have taken charge and built a large communal dome. They have planned to wire electricity through it so we can hang chandeliers. On Wednesday evening, we are throwing a champagne lingerie party for anyone on La Playa to attend. In addition, we have several workshops including a language workshop on Monday and an improv workshop on Thursday.

Simply hearing about what my group wanted to plan has blown my mind. I had no idea this was Burning Man…. And if this is just our theme camp, I cannot even imagine what else will be out there this year.

So why did I choose to burn? Because I want to challenge myself. Because I want to see what other people have been dreaming of. Because I want to grow. Because I want to learn. Because I want to see the creativity of the world. Because I am ready.

My DSLR and GoPro are charged. I cannot wait to see what lies ahead for me on the Playa.

XO Steph

PS. Thanks so much Evan Cudworth for letting me borrow your excellent photos!

Sunrise on La Playa. Photo Credit: Evan Cudworth

Sunrise on La Playa. Photo Credit: Evan Cudworth

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