I’ve been to Burning Man three times now. All three times without my wife and two kids, 14 and 16.
This was for some practical reasons. Until recently my wife was teaching and the new school year starts at the same time. The kids would miss the first day or two as well. There are the sometime challenging conditions that only the right attitude can overcome. And the exposure to… well everything.
It was also because I wanted to see what I would do at Burning Man when I didn’t have them to worry about. Or have to worry about their reaction when I did them… experiment with being a different me….
But what I learned is that I don’t want to be a different me, I can’t be a different me, without also trying to bring them along.
I won’t go into details here, but some things that played a role in this realization include: letting the godling statue go… and then leaving without it returning…. Trying to figure out how to relate to some friends I made…. And considering my relationship to the event itself as embodied in, and contrasting with, one of my neighbors.
So as soon as I got home (ok, the other home where the wife and kids were waiting), I told them that next year I wanted us all to go.
But this journey is about more than just that… it is also about integrating the discoveries of the experimental me into the rest of my life.
Burning Man changes people. This change, as challenging as it may be, is the best gift I can give my family.