Monday, August 31, 2009

Burning Man. Fiery Woman?

There is a moment in everyone's life where they think. OK. Now what?

Last year, 49,599 people answered that question with. "I'm going to Burning Man."

from the mission statement:
Burning Man is radically inclusive, and its meaning is potentially accessible to anyone. The touchstone of value in our culture will always be immediacy: experience before theory, moral relationships before politics, survival before services, roles before jobs, embodied ritual before symbolism, work before vested interest, participant support before sponsorship.

The one person who would have made it 49600 apparently got lost along the way.

And for all of you who say... it's not the destination, it's the journey... blah blah? Well, I have on thing to tell you: Go for a long long long ride in my car with my family.
Trust me. It's ALL about the destination and how fast you can freaking get there and get out of the car.

Sure, sometimes along the path of life, one's destination changes- hey, I wanted to be a Stewardess and speak French to international travelers. They don't even have stewardesses now. In fact I can probably be jailed for even thinking of that term.

My destination was never to be a housewife and mother, but... BAM. There I was. Holy crap. Sure I've taken a few detours and some of them, like the roads in NH, are unmarked, littered with road kill and very very bumpy.

I know what you're thinking, and just so we can move on here let me answer that thought.
1. nope, not going to Burning Man this year
2. Nope, never been
3. Hell yes, I'd like to someday.

Thing is, the older I get, I tend to choose detours on my journey for totally different reasons than I might have in my past. For instance, the Burning Man weekend appeals to my love of people and experiences. If I went now, I would go equipped to interview and photograph and find a story. To absorb the feeling of the place, the reason "why." Twenty years ago? I would have gone for the parties and the music and the craziness.

When I backpacked through Europe, I went to one town because it was sunny, another because I was following a lady who said they had great chocolate and cheap beer there.
Then again, I was traveling alone, and you don't have to explain anything to anyone, especially why you chose to do something, when you're on life's journey by yourself.

Because when you take the wrong bus in Switzerland and wander streets looking for a hostel that no longer exists, you're not lost.... you're exploring. And when you pick a crappy restaurant and over pay for a meal you never ordered in Austria, you didn't make a bad choice, you merely experienced an alternative culture, and when you walk away from that nasty argument in Greece, you aren't thinking you've made a huge mistake, you're merely checking that mental road map for the next turn.
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