Heading to Burning Man in four hours. The first time I went was in 2006. I'd been going to burns for just over a year. I had been to Transformus twice and PDF twice and that was it. Alchemy and Camp Science wouldn't exist for another year.
Jump forward to today... This will be my fifth time. The most important thing I'm doing is trying out to be a Ranger. It's not easy. You have to have been to Burning Man twice before. You have to do a full day of training. You have to do a try-out shift, called an "alpha shift." I did all that in 2012 and got "bonked," which is their version of "not good enough." I was told I wasn't outgoing enough. Understandable, since I tend to close up around big groups of strangers. On the other hand, my alpha partner was a cute 25 year old hippie girl who was the volunteer coordinator for a northern burn. She was as outgoing as five normal people. Next to her, i seemed like a cardboard cutout of a person. Still, I got bonked, and I've gone through training again, and have a few Black Rock Rangers on my side. I truly hope I make it. It feels like the thing I am supposed to do out there. I saw an interview with Danny Trejo, the actor. He's an ex con who now spends his free time trying to help addicts stay clean and kids stay out of jail. He said "Everything good that has ever happened to me has happened as a direct result of helping someone else. Everything." That's what I think I need to be doing too. So I want to wander around in the desert with a clear head and a radio and help people.
I've got friends all over the playa I hope to see. I've got a bag full of cameras. I want to make Ranger. But most of all, I want to walk along the playa, experience the city of Black Rock and see things I would never imagine I would see.