burn virgin

I went to Burning Man and it was even crazier than I expected

Like Mad Max. With Barbie cars.

BURNING MAN 2015 officially started last Sunday

Even as photos of this year’s festival have started trickling onto social media, many are still baffled by what exactly goes on at the week-long event.

Two years ago, I went to Burning Man for the first time.

While I had attended many different festivals previously, Burning Man was unlike anything I had ever seen.

Burning Man, as the website proclaims, is “an annual art event and temporary community based on radical self expression and self-reliance in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada.”

The year I attended, so did more than 61,000 other people, many of them in the tech industry. This year, more than 70,000 people are expected — myself included.

While many people go for the full seven days, I previously did only four, so my experience may have been different from that of others. But the beauty of Burning Man is that all attendees can have whatever kind of experience they want.

For me, I loved biking around during the hot desert days looking at all of the beautiful art installations constructed in the middle of nowhere and taking advantage of strangers’ generosity by way of wine tastings, zip lines, and fried chicken.

For others, the festival comes alive at night. As the sun goes down, the lights of Black Rock City come up and the pulse of the music keeps people awake until well into the following day.

Since most people who haven’t been to Burning Man seem to be confused by what it actually is, here are some photos that sum up my trip two years ago…

1 Upon arrival in Reno, Nevada, the closest airport, I hit a Walmart to grab last-minute necessities such as jugs of water. Walmart was clearly prepared for all of the "Burners" driving from Reno.

2 Just two days after the festival started, shelves were incredibly picked over.

3 After a two-hour drive, I approached "The Playa" — what people call the land where Burning Man is held.

4 I was greeted by veteran burners. Being a "burn virgin" myself, I had to get out of the car and roll around in the dust, as is customary for all first-timers.

5 Everyone stays in tents or RVs.

6 There was a communal tent filled with pillows, blowup couches, and chairs where everyone could hang out together.

9 Ornately decorated bikes are used to get everywhere.

10 It's useful in the middle of desert dust storms.

12 But there are a few other ways of getting around, including Segway scooters.

14 It was beautiful at sunset.

16 This art car filled with Barbies looked fun.

19 And the parties continued even through the dust storms.

- Aly Weisman for Business Insider

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