call to adventure


Dearest Newly Sparked First Time Burners,

Congratulations on saying YES to this life-changing adventure. I am ecstatic to share with you something I love so much. If you haven’t already, start getting really really excited for the RIDE OF YOUR LIFE.

You’ve got some work to do in order to get yourself ready (BM is August 28th-September 4th), but it’s part of the journey and in my experience, worth every second / penny / ounce of energy!

I’ve organized this Starter Kit into three parts:

1.     INTRODUCTION – what is Burning Man? and what’s your why?

2.     INSPIRATION – what others have discovered on the playa 

3.     PREPARATION – what to do and how to get there


What is Burning Man?

Burning Man is many things…it’s a blank canvas of infinite possibilities, it’s a catalyst for never-before-seen creativity, and it’s a sacred container of radical self-expression and wholeness. Every Burner will have their own unique experience and different reasons for WHY they come (or don’t come back) every year.

The way I like to describe Burning Man is this: Imagine a call was put out to the most creative tribes on the planet, a call to build your dream civilization for a week in the desert. No government, no capitalism, no constraints. Now imagine 60,000 people answered that call and gathered all their most treasured gifts and potent energy to share in this once-in-a-lifetime experience that happens every year.

And finally, imagine one of those magical, wonderful, beautiful, lit-up and fully alive people is YOU.

Now before you get down and dirty with the details, start with clarity on your WHY.

  • Ask yourself WHY am I going to Burning Man?

  • What is my intention?
  • What is my desire?
  • What within me is asking to be revealed or ignited?
  • What am I willing to let burn away?
  • Who am I willing to be or let go of?
  • Why spend all of this insane time, energy, and money to willingly roll around in the blazing hot and freezing cold barren desert for a week of my precious life?

Only you can answer these questions so before you get into the thick of planning, take the time to clarify your vision and your why. Everything is energy and if yours is pure and true, it will make the manifestation and preparation process so much smoother and more enjoyable.

Now it’s time to soak in more of the Burner culture and get inspired by other’s why’s.



Spark Trailer - "The portraits here offer West Coast idealism and conviction coupled with an extravagant aesthetic vision. Since we can't all attend Burning Man, we can be thankful for "Spark," which is probably the next best thing."





  1. TICKET – There are multiple ways to get a ticket. Directly from Burning Man Ticket Sale is always best but you can also get lucky and manifest tickets through friends or friends of friends. I haven’t been able to get tickets directly from the BM Sale. The first year I didn’t decide I was going until 2 weeks before and the tickets came. The key here is COMMITMENT to going as well as a willingness to SURRENDER to that which is not in your control. Create a vision, set an intention, put out your feelers, and then let it go! Note: typically people start to bail 1-2 months out of BM and there are often a FLURRY of extra tickets and Vehicle Passes. Trust and hold true!
  2. CAMP – There are hundreds of camps at BM and while you can go on your own, I recommend joining one. Every camp has a unique offering and different requirements. Ask Burners you know who they camp with and see if you can join one of their camps. You can also go rogue and get your own parking pass and post up in an open spot. I know many self-sufficient people who prefer this. In the past I've camped with IDEATE out of SF and now CAMP WALTER based out of Phoenix. 
  3. ACCOMMODATIONS – There are so many ways to live out there and I’ve tried a few, I’ve stayed in an air-conditioned shipping container (NICE!), an airstream (also NICE!), and I’ve pitched my own tent (not as nice but much easier!). Other people build yurts, rent ice-fishing tents, or take RV’s. I have some research on this in my packing list.
  4. TRANSPORTATION - I’ve gone up a few different ways, I’ve caught a ride in an RV, caravanned in an airstream, and taken the Burner Express. If you’re self-sufficient, low-maintenance and coming from San Francisco or Reno, the easiest and fairly inexpensive route is the Burner Express. If you decide to drive in via an RV or otherwise, you'll need a Vehicle Pass.
  5. FOOD & WATER – For me, I don’t go for a foodie 5-star experience. I take the essentials and some favorite goodies. Your meal possibilities also depend on your access to electricity and power. I don’t fuss with a generator, I bring a pop up stove, lots of soups, and then things like hummus, salsa, chips, avocados, apples, oranges, etc (see my full packing list for details). Water! Important. Bring 1-1.5 liters/day and YOU MUST MUST have a Camelpack. That is your lifeline out there, stay hydrated with electrolytes.
  6. BIKES - In Black Rock City, people get around primarily by bike or art car. Many Super Burners (experienced burners) have other cool means like segways dressed as sea horses but bikes are the norm. I recommend an inexpensive bike with big tires, a mountain bike or beach cruiser will do. I got mine at a Bike CO-OP, it's a used kids mountain bike for $40 - can't beat that! I recommend you also get some kind of horn, squeeky toy or noise maker of some sort (great when you can't see during dust storms but you can hear!) also a lock to keep it safe and a golf ball to put on your kick stand so it stands up easily. 
  7. PACKING – BIG note about packing, I always seem to overpack and over-prepare, which later feels like a waste of time and money. What I’ve learned out on the playa is you don’t really need much. Yes, you need to survive but it’s amazing how little is TRULY necessary. Also, in the moment, I usually forget that I even brought half of what I have. KEEP IT SIMPLE. That said, I’ve put together an extensive list over the years that I’ve adopted from another Master Pack list. This is my Updated Pack List (same one I've listed previously).
  8. GIFTING - Gifting is a huge part what makes Burning Man amazing. This is an opportunity to get creative with a meaningful gift that you'd like to share with the community. I've made hand-stamped intention bracelets and received mini Burning Man dust globes. This article has some good information about gifting. 
  9. OVERALL COST - This will be dependent on your needs but I suggest putting aside about $2,000 for your first go. $400 for the ticket, $1000 for transportation and accommodations. $600 for food, water and supplies. I've seen people spend upwards of $10,000 and others on a minimal low end of $1,000. Though you won't be spending any $ when you arrive, the cost to get there is another story. This may trigger you and feel like a bunch of privileged bs and I would say you're right but BM has also activated in me more power and energy than I could possibly describe. And if it's calling you and you can afford it or even if you can't, figure it out, GO!
  10. POST-BURN DECOMPRESSION - Here is an amazing Post-Playa tips list from BM. For your decompression, if you can take 5-7 days off after the Burn, you'll thank yourself for it. I've not given myself this time and space in the past and really regretted it. Be kind to yourself and allow for a smooth and gentle integration. The culture shock is real. A lot of people go to Tahoe or Reno after the burn. There are also a number of post-burn events, like the Dust-Off and official BM Decompression in SF.

Having just inhaled all of that, take a moment to breathe...

I imagine you’re feeling a range of emotions from ECSTATIC to OVERWHELMED. I get it. You don’t need to read all of this or do all of this. I’ve put this together after three burns and I don’t follow it all. But it’s there to support you and so is the entire Burning Man community.

So be kind and gentle with yourself.

Remember your WHY.

Have a little faith and trust in the process. After all, we’re not in control, the Universe is the master orchestrator and it supports us in all ways.

Final note and special shout out of gratitude to the majestic Jeremy Watson who assembled the original welcome email that turned into this Starter Kit. Thank you to Jeremy and many other Burner friends who have contributed to my experience year after year. Your generosity has been unbelievable, THANK YOU 🙏🏽❤️🙏🏽

Big love x light and see you all in the dust!



Koh Phangan, Thailand via Hagai Peled

Koh Phangan, Thailand via Hagai Peled

I’m on the verge of my next big leap.

Risking leaving a good life for an unknown but potentially remarkable one.

I’m planning to spread my wings to Koh Phangan, Thailand in April for the next several months, at least until Burning Man in September.

It’s scary to leave when I’ve built such an amazing life.

When I left Phoenix for the San Francisco Bay Area three years ago, my Dad asked, “Why leave? You’ve worked so hard, built up so many relationships, you could do anything you want there, why leave?”

I couldn’t give him a reasonable answer; I just knew I had to do it.

I had to pursue that next dream. I had to take that leap of faith. And in this case, yes, I’m risking losing the life I’ve built over the last three years.

  • Risking a loving heartnership with a good man.
  • Risking a lovely little home and future together.
  • Risking a freedom-centered job that pays me to be myself.
  • Risking the relationships I’ve built in communities from SF, LV, LA, NY to PHX.

"You won’t lose what matters," you’ll say. Yes, I agree with you AND I still don’t know what the future holds. But who does?

Koh Phangan, Thailand via Soul Sista, Ann Liu

Koh Phangan, Thailand via Soul Sista, Ann Liu

I’m moving to an island I’ve spent a week in and a country I’ve spent a month in. 

And yet, I know I must go. In fact, it’s already in progress and to stop it would be like fighting gravity, swimming upstream and resisting the force of nature, my nature.

Based on the life I’ve been living and the way I've been traveling so far, many people think I’m constantly on vacation. My stepdad asked my Mom, “when is Kelsey going to stop being a gypsy?”

What I’ve learned so far is that it's less about caring what other people think or say and more about living YOUR truth. 

As my world-traveling friend, Troy says, “what’s normal for me isn’t normal for others.”

Once you accept that, you release your attachment to others opinions and you live life on your own terms.

For me, I hear the call. I’ve heard it for years and slowly but surely I am learning to slow down and listen.

I know there is a Divine power and something I can only describe as MAGIC out there. There’s a me beyond the me I know now, yearning to be cracked wide open. There's a deeper purpose and WHY.

Koh Phangan, Thailand via Soul Sista, Ann Liu

Koh Phangan, Thailand via Soul Sista, Ann Liu

Troy also said to me, “You don’t have the itch. It’s under your skin. You’re in it. It’s in you.”

And I know he’s right.

So here goes everything.

Ticket is being booked. Things are getting in order: living situation, visa, budget, health, storage, remote work schedule etc.

Final rounds are being made (NY > SF > LA > Tucson > PHX > LV? > SF)

I’m scared but I can feel the LOVE and I’m willing to be BRAVE. I must be Brave.

Thank you all for your love and support through this time of great change and GODSPEED on pursuing your dreams and callings! Let me know how I can be there for you in your journey.

With brave wings she flies,

Kelsey Lotus Wong