This is an ongoing reprint of the articles Nick has written as North America’s first Gay Travel Guru!
I’m being crushed under 7 flailing, smiling and laughing people, MIA’s “Paper Planes” is booming on two solar-powered speakers, marinara sauce wafts through the air, and it’s wonderful. These are the moments that are too rare, friends that are too hard to find. But somehow, Burning Man always delivers.
Year after year, Burning Man anchors my existence, bringing me some of my most life-changing experiences and cherished relationships: I danced naked for the first time there, I’ve bonded with lifelong friends over breathtaking sunsets, and I discovered my soon-to-be husband shirtless in a bowtie there.
For those who have no idea what Burning Man is, at its basic, it is an annual music and art festival in the desert. It is held in the Black Rock Desert, north of Reno, and brings together over 50,000 people in a temporary city called Black Rock City, the fourth largest city in Nevada for one week a year.
“Isn’t it just a bunch of naked people running around on drugs in the desert,” people often ask. There are plenty of those, but for every one of them there is a couple taking an erotic massage class, three people making free margaritas for strangers, and five putting the final touches on their five-story fire-breathing iguana art project. Burning Man is beyond labels, and is perfect for us gays. It’s a place for radical self-expression, with mountains of pink fur rubbing up against handmade loin-cloths and elaborate headdresses.
There is a gayborhood, with camps like Comfort and Joy serving up some sexy times, Pink Mammoth dominating the daytime party scene, and Pigmalions shaking up delicious Bloody Marys with bacon in the mornings.
Art cars – vehicles transformed into moving pieces of fantasy – are the only motorized vehicles allowed. Pimped out bicycles are the principal means of conveyance. A smiling “hello” is the default greeting. Public art installations are everywhere, encouraging fresh adventures every day. You can get an eye treatment, go dancing under water canons in the middle of the daytime heat, find fresh smoothies in the middle of nowhere, and so much more.
I once walked up to a woman and hugged her. Without a word, she began to sob. I held her for 10 minutes, and then we parted ways. This is the power of Burning Man, so beware. Once it sinks into you, you will be forever transformed!
*Ask us any questions below and we will gleefully answer them! Would you like to go to Burning Man this year?