The decision not to go this year came rather naturally. The thought of packing up & prepping, of spending a lot of energy making the most of that week, and then the immense clean-up after felt daunting. We do a lot of small camping trips and outdoor events...and with Burning Man being the biggest commitment, I realized I wanted a break. I don't want to start resenting Burning Man, and felt taking a year off would be refreshing.
However, as I explained to people who are in disbelief that I'm not going, I realized I have other reasons for not going. After 9 years, I've changed and matured. Since going to Burning Man non-stop, with more or less the same people, I haven't really considered why I go and what I get from it. I love Burning Man, so of course I go! But I don't go to Burning Man just for fun. In a documentary interview I was in a few years back, I explained that I keep coming back to the playa because it reminds me what is important in terms of being true to myself, being open, and building communities. Now that Dav and I go to other niche events, I don't need to go to Burning Man for these things. Plus, in a few weeks we're going to Symbiosis which I'm very much looking forward to.
I'm not sure what I'd want differently next year, but I want to start afresh. And to do so, not to go this year will provide a nice break. I'm looking forward to a quiet SF during that week! I will, however, miss the beauty of the playa, the sunsets, the sunrises, the incredible dust storms. That can't be experienced anywhere else, and to me Burning Man is defined perfectly by the natural environment it takes place in. I was cleaning out the RV a bit back and came across a playa dusty item. Oh, how I miss that playa smell and feel. I will truly miss the playa.
p.s. Dav will go for just a few days early in the week. He will take minimum stuff and run around exploring as he pleases. This is good for him - to get to do exactly what he wants without family and camp responsibilities. So we're both doing something very different this year, and I imagine will make us excited to be back on the playa together next year, with Tesla who will be at an age to take it all in : )