Posted by: kerryalina | 19 April 2012

Challenge Class 57: Shattered Dreams

(This post has nothing to do with Bikram.  If you’re after your daily yoga fix, you should totally check out Bitching About Bikram instead)

Last year, a close friend and I spent days marvelling over Trey Ratcliff’s photos from Burning Man.  “We should go,” said my friend.  “It would be amazing.”  I laughed and dismissed the idea – I was pretty sure I’d love the experience (how could you not!), but it was just too far out of my comfort zone to be even remotely conceivable.  I kept looking at the photos though.  Then I read into the event.  And finally I realised the only thing stopping me was that it scary.  Which, in the end, seemed like a really crappy reason for not going.

So I said yes.

I spent the last six months researching and planning – organising RV rentals, hotels, flights… even pushbike hire.  I registered for the Burning Man lottery draw and breathed a sigh of relief when we were awarded two tickets in the first round.  We worked out an itinerary: San Francisco for a week, then Burning Man, then two weeks in New York.  We paid for our flights and put deposits down on everything.  It was the trip of a lifetime.

Then, last night, I got a phone call.  She’s decided not to go.

And my problem is this: Now, neither can I.

America, yes.  I don’t really have much of a choice at this stage – with (fully fixed) flights paid for and another friend meeting me in New York, I’m somewhat committed… although I can’t imagine it’ll be much fun wandering around San Francisco alone and gods only know how I’ll afford the accommodation by myself.

But Burning Man itself?  The impetus behind the entire trip?  As far as I can see, it’s off the cards completely.  What I have at this stage is a ticket to an event I can’t possibly get to.

Given the paucity of options in Reno (the closest city to the event), our plan was to hire an RV in San Francisco and drive to the Nevada desert – just over seven hours, according to Google Maps.  But even if I could afford the RV rental and gas costs by myself (hahahaha no), here’s the thing: I never got around to getting my licence.  While I’m hoping to sit (and pass!) my test in the next few weeks, there is no way I’ll be confident enough to drive a Winnebago for seven hours on the wrong side of the road… and then do it again coming back a week later.

So I sat down last night and tried to figure out my options.  The RV was obviously not going to happen… perhaps I could hire a car instead?  It would still be a hellishly long trip for an inexperienced driver unused to driving on the right, but maybe the less unwieldy vehicle would help?  …except that without the facilities provided by an RV, I’d have to purchase a tent, sleeping bag, mattress, cooking supplies – all of which (on top of the car rental) I, again, couldn’t possibly afford alone.

I could catch a ride with someone (and again, buy a tent/sleeping bag/mattress/cooking supplies… dumping them after the event, presumably).  But despite the warmth of the Burning Man community… as a physically unimposing woman travelling alone, I don’t hesitate to admit that the idea of carpooling with a stranger terrifies me.

So it would appear that I’m out of options.  And that my “trip of a lifetime” has turned into more of a logistical nightmare.  Rather than excitement and anticipation, I have shattered hopes, broken dreams and overwhelming disappointment.

Someone please tell me that if I look hard enough, there’ll be a silver lining in here somewhere?



  1. First of all I’m loving reading your blog!! I look forward to receiving your new post every day. Hopefully you will continue after Day 70!! I’m hoping to start my own Bikram type challenge at Prahran in the next coming weeks….

    Secondly – there is always a silver lining. You must get to Burning Man!! Oh my goodness what an experience!!! I look forward to hearing more.

    • Squeeeee another Melbournian! I lovelovelove the Prahran studio… but sadly, it just can’t compete with the two-blocks-from-home convenience of Richmond :)

      And congrats on committing to a challenge! I have one piece of advice (as well as, you know, everything I’ve written in the last two months) and that is to tell the teachers. Once they know you’re doing a challenge, they’re SO incredibly helpful and encouraging and it just makes a huge difference… but they rarely check the board so they won’t know unless you tell them :)

  2. oh my gosh ker i am SO sorry! i’m sure, like you said, that a silver lining of sorts will emerge – but my goodness! at any rate, i hope that while you’re in NY you might get to pop into a studio somewhere (i’m from there!) – maybe you’ll luck out and get a true American yogi experience complete with massages and essential oils! : )

    • Thanks hon xx And OMG YES YOGA MASSAGES IN NYC!!! I can’t wait :D

  3. Have you hung out on the Burning Man rideshare board at all? You could post and tell the truth, that you’re from out of the country and are wary of catching a ride with strangers. I’m sure that there are people who are also wary of GIVING a ride to strangers – especially other single female travelers that REALLY want to go but are a little freaked about going on their own, or just trying not to have to pay 100% of the gas. From what I’ve heard of Burning Man, you’ll probably make a friend for life. You can do it – there’s nothing like being free and wild and on your own in another country!

    As for going to San Francisco, try to stay in a hostel at least once to see if you can handle it. It’s a great way to make instant travel buddies (plus, it’s obviously much cheaper than hotels the whole trip). Also, I’m assuming you’ll be trying at least one Bikram class – maybe you could find a suitable studio and drop them a line to say that you’re travelling to San Francisco alone and would love their recommendations for must-see non-touristy stuff. Yogis will always hook you up with good ideas :-) Yay, I’m so excited for you!

    • I’ve looked into rideshares, I really have… but I just think about it and I start to hyperventilate. I think I watched a few too many “stranger danger” films as a child :)

      Also, thank you so so much – emailing a local Bikram studio for must-see recommendations is an utterly fabulous idea and one I never would have thought of!!!

      • Good luck!

  4. Kerryalina! That is such a depressing story! I hope your friend has a REALLYYYY good excuse for not being able to go because if not, I’d be PISSED! I agree that you should try to find another FEMALE companion to travel with. Is there anyone else that you could ask to go with you from home? Maybe since its a little last minute you could give them some sort of the break on the cost, but they’d still be helping you out…right?

    Good Luck!!

    • Hey Erin! I know, I’m totally bummed. The decision was hers to make though, irrespective of her reasons – if the alternative was her coming along and hating every second of it, I’d definitely prefer that she stay home!

      I’m trying to find someone else to go with… but with flights from Australia standing at around $2,000 plus Burning Man/RV expenses during and accommodation/spending money before and after, it’s a lot to ask even if I could somehow cover their $500 ticket to the event itself.

      I’m sure things will work out though…? Somehow? *crosses fingers* :)

      • Best of luck!! I hope you find someone to come with and/or find someone here in the US to hook up with! Maybe this has happened for a reason and its your chance to break through your barrier of being shy? Either way, I hope that you find someone to come with and you have a fantastic time!

  5. My vote is to not give up yet. And… embrace the uncertainty?

    Also, if you’re in NY, maybe a trip over here to Boston might be fun!!!

    • OMG! Is Boston near NY? That would be AWESOME!!!

    • Duuuuude. I googled it and realised it’s still a bit of a trek. NY is harder because I’ll be there with another friend – I don’t think I can ditch her for a day or two to head to Boston :( But I’ll definitely see what I can do – I’d lovelovelove to actually meet you!

      • Dude, I would totally come to NY! It’s a 4 hour trip that I can sleep on (on the bus) and they run 24/7. We can MAKE IT HAPPEN!

  6. Don’t give up! This is totally doable. And I live in Northern California! Sacramento, actually, right on the way to Reno from San Francisco. I don’t go to Burning Man (I attend a different festival in July every year and that blows my festy budget) but I have friends that do. My brother lives in SF and I go there frequently.
    Email me ( and let’s see what we can do!

    Hey – maybe we’ll actually be able to meet in person and not just be blog buddies!

    Traveling by yourself is amazing. I promise you you’ll have an amazing time. And San Francisco is one of the best cities to do it in!

    I’m really excited for you! Silver linings everywhere!!

    • Hey hon, it would be fabulous to actually meet you!! I have someone who’s currently trying to sort out his leave and see if he can come along to Burning Man with me… I’ll definitely drop you a line when things are a bit more concrete.

      • Please do! It’ll all work out – as I know you know by now, you can’t work this hard at something and not have it work out!!

  7. You can’t change your mind! I’ve travelled a bit in California. You can do most of it by greyhound bus which is cheap. It’s really friendly there and people will be very helpful.

    You could explore San Fran by yourself, there is loads to do and if you get a hostel you will meet other people. You could get the bus to LA and go to one of Bikram’s classes if you don’t fancy Burning Man.

    Since you love Bikram you could write to a studio and see if you could volunteer there in exchange for classes. At least you could go to class, to keep you occupied. You could do some other type of volunteering if that doesn’t happen. Hope it works out! X

    • Oh dear god, I didn’t even think about Bikram’s classes – how wonderful would that be?! I think I’m just too used to thinking in terms of Australia, where it can take two full days to drive between capital cities :)

  8. I Am sure SOMEONE wants to go

    • Hahahaha, hi KS! I know someone wants to go… but has he worked out his leave???

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