Will that Way: My Story to Burning Man

Oh, time – how you’ve seemed to escape me all too quickly. The 18th of September? My, my how fast these days have crept by. If you’re wondering, I made it to Burning Man.

burn2

My seven year dream of spending my birthday painted in flowers, frolicking in the dusty winds of the desert while dancing to the deep bass that blasted out of glowing art trucks positioned in the middle of the playa in Black Rock City came true. Hard.

burn3

After a 3-day pilgrimage of  five bus ride purchases left unused, hitch-hiking [not for the fainted-hearted], blown out truck brakes and being stranded on the Golden Gate bridge like hippies who had fallen out of the sky from a Back To The Future film, we made it to the ever welcoming and loving Mama Kabuke’s Big Tent.

burn8

If what intrigues you about this world are the things that involve the aesthetics of the soul, then Burning Man is a place you should implore yourself to visit.

In the short 36 hours that I was in Black Rock City, I met some of the most genuine, kind, beautiful minds this world has to offer me. I also saw art installations that still have me in awe, camps with names that I can’t even post on my blog due to the family members I have reading this that would get offended and watched my lovely friend Anna, as seen above to the left, roller disco diva herself in the middle of the desert at a skate rink that was set up seemingly just to make her dreams come true.

People mock Burning Man for its cult-like presence in the people’s lives who attend, but man would you just not get it until you have it experienced it in all of its glory. It’s good stuff. And I don’t throw that phrase around lightly. It’s. Real. Good. Stuff. Makes you remember why you’re alive and doing what you’re doing good stuff.

This is a simple, victorious- ‘YAY! I did it! Now, here are some pictures!’ post. But better writing, and travel/food information are to come.

burn5

Before. It was like Christmas morning. But my birthday. And even better than every other birthday combined. Times ten.

burn4

After. The burn, baby.

burn1

And that’s a wrap. See you next year.

Every now and then I fall a bit behind

Still running short on time to write a lengthy post. But listen to this song in the meantime.

Today I travel from Santa Rosa to San Francisco. Then it’s off to Reno to find those Burning Man tickets. Then….. home!

Before I get started…

burnman

…I must admit – One of my biggest dreams for the past 6 years of my life has been to go to Burning Man. Ahh, the mystery that is Burning Man – how I crave to crack the code this time ’round. As it falls on the start of school, and usually a summer seasonal job season ending – it’s been a tough one for me to get to. But this year, I’m conveniently on the West Coast and I have just ended my gig leading tours.

It seems the stars have aligned. So I beckon this question, do YOU know where I can find some tickets? [I need two.] Or can you offer any advice for how to score some tickets? I leave Thursday night for Reno with another Ohio gal. It’s also my birthday weekend. So the results will be great in any way, shape or form.

Either way, I expect to return with a story. Thanks in advance if you offer any information or positive vibrations.

Here’s to feeling that burn!

I’ll be seeing you….

SOON!

Life comes at you fast. Especially when you’re a tour guide of ALL OF North America working over 100 hours a week. I’ve met dozens of people from all over the world, driven THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS of miles and went to places I’ve never been before. It’s been quite the ride, I must say. Stories of epic proportions to follow, trust me.

And the inspiration to write a book has never been more right in front of my face in all of my life. What  I can’t wait for most is to start blogging again. And oh do I have tons of suggestions on recipes and places to go/nap at.

The back-to-blogging commences in just 2 short weeks. It’s like a back to school special! Lucky, lucky you.

IMG_4839

Life on the Road. A Visionary Tale.

I don’t have time to blog right now. Let alone have access to the wi-fi I need to do so. For now, when I get 5 minutes of wi-fi, I will be bringing you photographs that will have to speak for themselves. I would like to call this first post – LIFE ON THE ROAD.

Oh, and not to brag, but to definitely brag – I had the HONOR and PLEASURE of being a featured blog on one of MY FAVORITE site’s on the World Wide Wed, Refinery 29. Check it out, here. [Hell. Yeah.]

And oh oh, if you’re wondering – the passengers on my trips have been eating FABULOUSLY. Camping has never been so tasty. Salmon. Veggies. Garbanzo bean salads being chomped on behind the backs of McDonald’s in their parking lot. We’ve got it covered. Patience is a virtue. More recipes to come.

Now, for the pictures.

DSC_0026

Me. Unaware of where exactly I was flying to in California. But it worked out.

DSC_0032 DSC_0042 DSC_0058

New neighbors, Canadians and friends. And then the combination of all three.

DSC_0065 DSC_0077 DSC_0089

Learning the ways of being a G Adventures CEO, love and the desire to live the life of a sea lion.

DSC_0113 DSC_0186 DSC_0193

Sail boats in San Francisco, Gary & Little Foot with a side of Julian cooking con moi.

DSC_0242

When being attacked by a dinosaur in Death Valley, I strike a disco pose.

DSC_0296 DSC_0320

And then this is where we mourned the death of Little Foot, as he fell off a cliff and into the Grand Canyon. At least it was a great sunset.

Let the fest in us, get the best of us

Not only is it road trip season, but it’s FESTIVAL season. The time of the year when we shed our button-ups and pants, and trade them in for headdresses and lightning-bolt pants.

Warm weather does crazy things to a winterized soul. Add the element of music, and you’ve got yourself a party. And fast.

Coachella, ULTRA and EDC Chicago/New York has given us enough foreplay that if you’ve even glimpsed [slash looked at 2.3 times, on average, per every 5 hours worked] at your cousins, boyfriends brother’s album showcasing the sunny, bug-eyed grinning faces of those living life in the world of festivalness, your anxiously awaiting the moment that you get to stroll into the pearly gates of [insert music-and-madness-filled event name here].

Ignite the fun.

fest6

So. What’s are to ‘to-know’s about festing, you may wonder. There are a few things to keep in mind, so I’ll be your ‘Call a friend’ feature and prepare you for the epicness that is about to be your musically arousing experience of the summer.

Which fest is the best?

max

Well, what are you looking for? My ex-curly haired, neighbor from college, Max [see above], sparked this topic as he confided in me for advice on which concert he should choose between two shows this summer. We both agreed that this depended solely on the type of experience you’re seeking. Do you want to send electronic, robotic-sounding DJ sets pulsing down your spine, while throwing your hands in the air like you just don’t care? Or do you want to lay on a lawn and lazily focus on the intertwining drones of a guitar and harmonic, celestial vocals? Do some research and pick your poison.

Fest1

If you want neon face paint and dancing til you pass-out, choose something like Electric Daisy Carnival. [ONLY ONE WEEK AWAY]. But if you’re looking for art insulations, music you’ve never heard and may never hear again while being surrounded by children of the flower, hit up Burning Man or a Phish show.

I can’t see regretting either experience. If it is fun you seek, fun will be had. Mentality is key.

Be that guy. 

fest3

[Picture by Jenny Rechnitzer - thanks friend of a friend.]

You know. THAT guy. The one who is dancing in the crowd all alone. The one who is wearing a unicorn shirt with cheetah pants and no shoes. Everyone likes that guy. Everyone wants to be that guy. And do you actually think that guy regrets being THAT guy? Hell no, he doesn’t. Live it up. Listen to the music. The rest will follow.

Money on the mind. 
fest4

[Picture by the ever lovely Erica Woodrum]

Ah, the Benjamin. The one guy who gets in our way of fun every damn time. You have your options though, believe it or not. If you really want to have the time of your life and see your favorite band or DJ jam out in the heat of the night with thousands of other people who will relish in that moment with you to the fullest extent, start saving your pennies.

You know those barely worn dresses you have in your closet, that old iPod, the ability you have to sell your photos as a freelancer? Resell, sell and research. I feel I can never stress our ability to access anything in the world by the touch of a finger. The 21st century allows you to find a way to use your niche skills on the internet and get paid for it.

If you have no marketable skills and nothing to sell on Craigslist, stop buying that Caribou Coffee every morning and going to happy hours that turn into triple digits at the end of the week. Learn to grill and drink cheap beer.

Mold yourself to the situation, the light at the end of the tunnel will guide you.

And finally…
fest5

No one cares what you’re wearing. Pack light. Go with a good mentality. But if your favorite band is playing on a stage at a specific time, don’t get lost in the moment too much. Get a festing buddy. And stuff cliff bars in your bra. If you’re on a budget – stick to it, or just make friends with the Ray-Ban wearing kids hovering over 10 party pizzas and a Blue Moon keg.

AND DON’T FORGET TO DRINK WATER AND PUT SUNSCREEN ON. [End Mom moment.]

ALSO: I’m currently on a job training trip with G Adventures as a North American CEO. Check out all of the great things G does, here. And keep up-to-date with my adventures, pictures and NA factoids through my Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram [all accounts are Organic Gelly and can be located at the top of my blog!]. 

Your Summer Road Trip Essentials & Peanut Butter Protein Fudge

Tomorrow I leave for a summer that will be spent completely on the road and living out of a tent.

I. Don’t. Have. One. Thing. Packed.

Naturally.

As I sit here in my bath towel, unable to foresee myself getting anything grandeur accomplished before mere hours of my departure, I procrastinate further and bring you one last blog post from the comfort of my home. While it’s filled me with great anxiety that I didn’t have time to write more prior to my leaving, moving from Chicago to Ohio and then Ohio to California is one hell of a job.

Saying goodbye to Chicago was bittersweet. While I’m beyond ready to start this new job/adventure, when you meet people you click with – parting is always such sweet sorrow. As they say, your last impression is your standing impression. Truth.

But, it’s road trip season, and that’s the name of the game in my life right now. So, kids- you’re about to embark on a road trip post-grad, you are planning on going cross country just because or you’ve now read this and decided to throw the towel in, quit your 9-5 and blaze that Ford Fiesta up and down this country [good girl!]? Here are a few things you should make sure you have with you. Just ’cause, trust me. You need them.

Camelbak

camelbak-rogue-12-hrs

[Not my pic. Obviously.]

You’re a human. You need to stay hydrated. The worst thing you can do is find yourself in a broken down car in the middle of New Mexico with only a bottle of Diet Dr. Pepper.

Purchase. Fill. Drink. Repeat.

Camera

roadtrip1

Last year I went on a road trip of the West Coast states. I only had an iPhone. I’ve been given a second chance, by the graces of God. Don’t make my mistake. Buy a nice camera. It’s worth it. And if you are a writer, this will give you more leeway on finding freelance travel writing opportunities [you know, so you can make extra cash on the road.. thus allowing you to travel for EVEN longer]. I just spent the last of my money on a Nikon D80. I expect it to be WORTH. EVERY. PENNY.

A miniature bottle of wine

roadtrip2

Now, I don’t like to encourage vices, but if the person driving the car is driving you loko, you just hiked up one of Colorado’s 14ers or you are about to embark on night 26 of tent sleeping and you just can’t fall asleep, chances are you’ll be pumped as hell you stashed one of these babies in your duffel. Medicate. Celebrate. Dream.

A Map

You’re a 21st century kid. You have a Garmin, Siri and Google Maps – what could you possibly need a map for? Well, when you find yourself in the middle of Death Valley with cell phone reception miles upon miles away, you’ll be glad you can follow your route with your finger on a map. [Same goes for mixed CDs. You'll lose that playlist. And maybe the CD, too. But, creating the chance of you finding said CD years down the road creates that auspicious feeling you can't walk away from.]

Snacks. No. Healthy Snacks.

fudge

Oh wait, you thought that McDonald’s Fried “Real” Chicken Sandwich was going to get you through the next 8 hour leg of your cross country trip? While you’re lagging through the part of your trip that you’re suppose to be kickin’ back and jammin’ out to that 90s playlist you made last minute, you’ll learn an important life lesson.

Don’t eat gas station snacks, fast food, energy drinks or any of that crap that comes in packaging.

Driving takes so much out of you. Don’t feel like hell when you get to point B. Pre-make banana bread muffins , veggies or make your back seat a fruit basket. Who doesn’t love a good chunk of watermelon on a hot, summer day? Get a cooler. 

When leaving Chi-town for Ohio, I made a quick batch of peanut butter protein fudge [as seen in the aesthetically PERFECT picture above... I PROMISE it tastes better than it looks in my driving hand] and it not only warded off excessive hunger, but it was better than any stale candy bar I could of ever come across.

Recipe here:
3/4 cup natural, fresh peanut butter
1/2 cup raw, natural honey
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 scoop protein powder

Place coconut oil in skillet with peanut butter and slowly melt and stir together. Next, add honey in the middle and mix completely. Place this mixture into a small plastic Tupperware container [I used my Whole Foods peanut butter container] and put protein powder on top. Stir. Place in fridge for at the very least 1 hour, cut and wait for the hunger to set in.

This obviously isn’t the complete list of everything you need, it’s just a good start. But, the dryer to my last batch of laundry just went off, so time’s a tickin’.

Here’s to an unbelievably charming summer.