Burning Man: A Life-Changing, Magical Experience


JoAnna is a globe-trotting, idea-inventing, culture-collecting creativity connoisseur with a global family of foreign exchange students and rescue pets. You can also find JoAnna at joannahaugen.com.

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19 Responses

  1. ian says:

    Great writeup Joanna. I think you nailed the true soul of Burning Man, which is a re-evaluation of yourself and the “way things are.” Why can’t they be different? We only need to courage to imagine it.

  2. chris says:

    sounds like an amazing trip to say the least. thanks for your post. very enlightening, especially in light of some of the things i’ve been thinking about.
    thanks, joanna.

  3. Cherie says:

    You get it 🙂

    It was awesome to have you as part of Camp Nomadia, and it was beautiful to watch your evolution over the week.

    – Cherie

  4. playadancer says:

    Is the second pic down of the octogon shaped structure on the 10:00 side in deep playa? In 03 I handed out Taoist quotes and spent lots of time alone in the spot where that structure was but there was nothing out there. I come back in 09, go to that spot and find the octogon structure (a taoist shape, like a taoist shrine) out there and I find one of my quotes written on the Man. My own energy manifesting itself and coming back to me.

  5. JoAnna says:

    @Ian and @Cherie ~ Thanks for being a part of my Burning Man experience. As you know, it is the people, the place, the moment that makes Burning Man what it is.

    @playadancer ~ This structure was a nest around the 10:00 area of the playa like you mentioned. There was a ladder on the back side that allowed people to climb into the structure. Isn’t it wild how, in such a vast area, each individual still has a space and an influence which creates Burning Man’s magic?

    @chris Thanks for stopping by. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Knowing what I do about you, I think you would get a lot out of the Burning Man experience. Maybe I’ll see you on the playa next year.

  6. Mark says:

    Awesome post Jo. Thank you for sharing your experience, sounds like a life changing event, one that we should all experience at some point.

  7. ReN says:

    seemed like a very real experience in a very surreal environment!

  8. leland says:

    very thoughtful….can’t wait to hear more…thanks for the post..

  9. Rebecca says:

    Sounds like a great adventure! Are there more Burning Mans in your future???

  10. Audrey says:

    Thanks for sharing your personal and honest take on Burning Man. We’ve been hearing about Burning Man since we lived in San Francisco in 2000 and our neighbor went each year with Hindu altars. Everyone talks about it being “amazing” but this is the best account I’ve read about why it is such an incredible experience. I hope we have a chance to experience it ourselves one day.

  11. Cory says:

    Burning Man seemed to crystalize some of the thoughts you had floating around in your head. I could not be more happy for and proud of you and the change that I see already.

  12. Gray says:

    Wow. This is so beautifully written, JoAnna. It sounds like the most amazing spiritual experience. I’ve only ever heard of Burning Man in the most vague and general terms, but now I feel I have a much better grasp of what it is all about.

  13. Chris Dunphy says:

    One of my favorite things about going to Burning Man year after year is watching the transformation in first timers.

    It was great to have you in Camp Nomadia, I wish we had had more time to connect, but I trust that our future roads will cross and provide that.

    Till then,

    – Chris

  14. Julie says:

    “I was upset about being me in this place at this moment in time.”

    I love this line– it describes every single moment where we just feel out of place.

  15. Sean says:

    Thanks for sharing JoAnna!

  16. Pat the Digital Vagabond says:


    Thanks for sharing your transformation online and your sweet company on the Playa. I hope that Burning Man has stretched your horizons forever. I expect it has. I hope to see you out on the Playa next year as a dust eating and breathing Vet.

    Be Well and keep Living Large.

  17. Andrea says:

    Really enjoyed reading this. I’m still kicking myself for not making it to Burning Man when I lived in San Francisco. I really want to get there some day.

    • JoAnna says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed it, Andrea. If you get the chance you should go as soon as possible. There’s a lot of talk that it’s become more commercialized and mainstream, and while I don’t know if that’s true, it’s definitely becoming more popular.

  18. Travelogged says:

    I love reading about Burning Man and seeing photos, but I don’t think I’m brave enough to go!

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