Exodus At Burning Man 2022

This is is part of my live-learning series! I will be updating this post as I continue through my journey. I apologize for any grammatical errors or incoherent thoughts. This is a practice to help me share things that are valuable without falling apart from the pressure of perfection. 

Episode Summary

– You may have seen the pictures
– 9-hour exit for our camp to leave Burning Man
– We left on Sunday afternoon at 2:00 PM
– Finally got on the road at 11:00 PM
– Experience waiting in Exodus
– Connecting with others in line
– Mix of fun and frustration
– Final rush to get into one line
– Comparative to the lost girl in 2017 that stopped Exodus



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Burning Man Project on Twitter: “Exodus wait time is currently around 8 hours. Consider delaying your departure until conditions improve. If you must leave now, drive on L Street to prevent traffic jams. Drive slowly, watch for road debris, follow directions from Gate staff, and listen to BMIR 94.5FM.” / Twitter

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YouTube Video


Automated Transcription

Alright. Hello. Hello celebrity here. Hope everything’s going well. I have safely returned from Burning Man, which is a feat, and recording a couple of videos on it. It was gonna be 1 batch video and like, I gotta separate this into different topics because otherwise this is going to be unruly. Long video where I’m just rambling on. And so in this video specifically, I wanted to talk about the exodus at Burning Man, which you may have seen some pictures. This was a pretty wild experience and so I this is my second burn in 2019. We laughed on Sunday after the temple burned, like very quickly. We had already packed up and were like, we want to really see this. This means a lot. I’m so glad I stayed for experience. One of the best moments I’ve ever had at Burning Man. And then we quickly bike back to camp and made our way out. And, you know, in my mind, I’m trying to think of what that Exodus was. I’m thinking it was an hour and a half at most. And so my experience around Exodus had been very, I guess, good. And then in this year.

In 2022. What happened we left on Sunday in the afternoon before the temple burned. Was sad to leave before then because I think it is such a meaningful part, but we had to get the RV back and it was a long journey here. And so we left around 2:00 PM and we saw a little bit of build up on the way out of vehicles and I didn’t really think of much of it. And as we started getting a line with it, we are not moving what’s going on sort of heard through the rumor mill of it and also the Black Rock City sort of radio that there had been three vehicles right near the end of the exodus. Line that had broken down, blocking the exit and so all of a sudden this backlog of people leaving and this was a very popular time to leave apparently.

Started to, it started to build. And what that led to is these images that we’re seeing here, which are, you know, thousands and thousands of vehicles lined up to go out of Burning Man. I think at one point you’re sort of like 14 lanes of cars. And then what needs to happen as you get in this is sort of as it rounds out and starts to go, or actually I think this is the opposite, this is coming out of the city and then it’s coming this way. Yeah, that makes more sense. You need to condense down to one row, one line to then turn left.

On a road which is, you know, the only Rd in two Black Rock City, the the desert here. And you know, and so you’ve got quite a condensed contention. I don’t know if that’s a word that needs to happen. And so here we go. Here’s a here’s a really interesting image. They also use this sort of technique called pulsing, which basically instead of you inching up one by one, they will put you in groups. And So what you can see here is there’s a gap, these people are stopped and then this is actually where people are then turning onto the road and so they.

That this sort of all these people turn onto the road and then the next pulse would start. So maybe you know here they would let this group then go and then they would start going. So instead of inching one in time leaving your car vehicle on, moving forward slowly, they do this and So what you’re sort of sit there for 45 minutes in a pulse at a complete standstill at this point a lot of people get out of their vehicle. I think I have image was from a previous year but turned you know something like this. Where people sort of get out, they talk, they party, we were throwing Frisbee, we were listening to music, we were using the binoculars and overall just trying to make the best of the time there.

But I would say, you know, generally what people, you know, this was a much longer line than what people expected. I think maybe people expect a few hours, 4 hours, whatever. That’s relatively typical. We ended up I think. We got in line at 2:00 PM and I think we got out of actually turned onto the road around 11:00 PM. So we go 9 hour wait time and definitely, you know, towards the end I think started taking a toll specifically in our camp, but you know, a toll on everyone. I think there was actually a lot of really good, you know, camaraderie and happiness at the start, you know, at the end of it. This is part of the Burning Man experience. This is part of the the fun, this is part of the whole thing towards the end of it as it got.

Later and I think people started to feel some tension around I I need to get my RV back or I’ve been waiting so long or there’s only one or two drivers here and we’re really sort of sleepy and tired and we need to drive throughout the night now where we thought we were going to be able to drive in daytime, there definitely started to be some more, at least in our personal experience or what I sort of, you know, felt was some tension towards the end and the way and that was then accelerated or amplified the most in this final pulse where you needed to go from again these sort of 14 lines down. Into just one line and, you know, at one point I’m like, man, Burning Man is over. People are not being very friendly in this moment. Everyone just wanted to get out, get home. And so as that condensed happened, I didn’t see necessarily any crashes, but I saw lots of cutting off, lots of, you know, maybe words exchanged and some of the, you know, the community of Burning Man, you know, sort of finally hitting, you know, getting getting towards the end of their rope.

As they were finally getting onto the road and luckily, you know, our whole camp, we made it safely. I was actually the one driving on the way out here and was able to sort of navigate sort of patiently and safely throughout to the final, sort of to the road. And then, you know, with that road there’s a huge line of vehicles going out. And so you’re sort of moving slow on the way out. You’re seeing cops pulling people over, ripping stuff out of vehicle. It’s like people brought drugs in. I’m thinking most of the drivers are gone. So why are you, you know, why are you doing this?

Anyways that’s that’s part of it all and then the other part I found was that because you’re at a standstill and then everyone starts sort of you know ripping, trying to get out a lot and then we were sort of that was happening concurrently while a little bit of a dust storm came in. So in that final pulse as we got out really limited visibility and I would say actually a bit scary to see the mix of large RV, smaller RV’s and then small vehicles all sort of inter you know mingling and changing trying to get out onto this. Road and at least start the journey home. So, so this was, you know, definitely quite an experience. There was a moment where because of lack of sleep and everything where I was like, why again, like, why am I here? Why am I doing this? This was the moment where I’m like, I don’t think I’ve ever going to come back a little bit later after I got some sleep after. I’m like, alright, this was fine, I dealt with it. But I definitely, I think a lot of people probably had that experience towards the end as they you know, as they made it through the entire week and then the expectation was a relatively clean.

You know, exit and exit in that Ben did not happen. And I think that’s a coalescing lesson that I’ve, you know, had it Burning Man is like when you have expectations and those expectations are not met. That is when suffering happens, that’s when annoyance and frustration happens. And so you can’t have that. So just do your best to enjoy the experience. I think at the start there was definitely a lot of a little bit of frustration part way through. There was a lot of fun and stood on top of the RV with binoculars, met a bunch of people, talked to people, had a lot of fun, really enjoyed that, learned, you know, other people’s experiences and that and then towards the end after.

You know, we got to our eight, then a little bit more frustration and tiredness crept in and I think, you know, we did a good job our whole camp, our whole RV, sort of adhering to the principles of Burning Man and being the best versions of ourselves that we could. But it was definitely pretty intense and a final, you know, a pretty wild final rush to get into that one line and onto the road from the experience that I had talking to people in that, in that exodus there was. On these sort of a comparative time in 2017 where there was a lost girl and then basically shut the entire line down and so no one could leave and created that sort of 10 hour line and that that was in 2017 and then this was the one in 2022 which I think will be remembered and I think it will be remembered because you know I was. You know, it was actually covered quite wildly as this Toronto star. It was front page on Reddit here. You can see some of that here. Go a couple of the videos here. I hadn’t actually seen this video, but you can see you can see this line and that it was pretty, pretty wild. And yeah there’s there’s footage we we started off with about a two hour time and then again ended up we were about nine, 9 1/2 hours before we were actually leaving. I’ve got some links here to the images I’ve got some links to the.

You know, the articles here, apparently after we left, there was some stuff, I don’t know if this is true, is that there were something to do with COVID and some other sort of reasons that it was stopping. And then the other part, so it was again, people, what we found as well as people were not prepared for this. They didn’t have food and they didn’t have food. They didn’t have enough water to make it this far. And So what was really nice was a beautiful thing was that people were sharing food, sharing water, making sure that everyone was taking care of, even sharing gas. And that was pretty, you know?

Attention, especially people who were in small vehicles that I’m sure that was a pretty wild experience. We were luckily to be in an RV. We could turn on the air conditioning, although we were low on gas. And so there was definitely nervousness the entire time. So we didn’t have the AC running and we were, you know, I think this is where the pulse is really valuable because you know better obviously for climate and sort of not idling and everything. And you’re also not wasting gas sort of moving up slowly one at a time, so.

You know people, yeah. Still not after 13 hours. The wait times are no joke. And then lastly, like, because we’re low on gas, we then needed to stop in Gerlach, which was like sort of the first city out, and then had to wait another hour and a half lying there to get gas so we could make it to the next stop. And add that pump, they were charging about $6.20 per gallon compared to, you know, generally 430, which we’re repaying. And I talked to the guy like, why are you doing this? And he’s like, we’re the only ones open. This is supply and demand. This is the way.

That were doing it. And so apparently, look, we were lucky there was there, but apparently it actually ran out of gas. And so I’m sure that there were some people who were stranded there. So there are people now, I think. You know, I think there are people who are sort of saying, hey, like, how can we improve this? I think that was jazz with the general consensus. That is not my area of expertise. I’m just simply sharing my experience of Exodus overall. You know, while it was pretty wild, a long time, intense, I will look back on it and sort of, you know, smiling, thinking of all the good parts of it all, even the intense parts, all the wild parts, thinking that this was part of Burning Man 2022 and what makes it so challenging.

Experience, you know, beautiful and and worthwhile. So this is my quick video which ended up being longer than I thought. 11 minutes on the exodus at Burning Man. I hope that you are out. I hope that you have maybe had a quicker experience than me, but if not, I hope you did your best to enjoy it. Would love to hear you know how it went for you. If you have any thoughts, anything that I missed that I should have talked about or anything else around Exodus that you think you think is worthwhile. So this is been telling Brian coming back from Burning Man 2022.

Made it. We made the RV back in time, we made the flights, we cleaned up the RV. Everything was good but definitely a while and to a wild week and I hope I did a good job sort of representing that experience if you were part of it or at least sharing some insight if you are watching from afar thinking how did this go? Alright, this is Tyler Brian. Hope you have a wonderful rest of your day. I look forward to sharing a couple more videos on Burning Man and and then I would love to hear hear from you if you went or if you didn’t. Very exciting time no matter what.

And I will definitely be returning, no matter how dusty, no matter how hot, no matter how long the exodus lines. Bye bye.

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