Taking My Mom to Burning Man

IMG_9934A little over three-weeks ago I set out from Toronto, Canada in the Hippie Van with my friends Yana and Germaine as well as my Mother.

Over the past three weeks I have probably heard the exclamation, “You’re bringing your mother to Burning Man!?” at least a couple dozen times. Some inquirers were amazed my mother would want to come to Burning Man and others were amazed that I would want to bring her along.

After my first Burn in 2011, I told both my parents that I wanted them to come to Burning Man the next time I went. In my post What is Burning Man Anyway!?!? I mention that Burning Man has something for everyone. And I truly meant it. So I invited both my parents.

Unfortunately my father had been dealing with kidney stones during the month or two leading up to the burn and he decided to opt out this time around. However my mother dove right in, and decided to hop in the hippie van and come on the first couple weeks of the adventure with me.


Although my mom and I bumped heads on a few things (mainly her back-seat-driving), it was great to have her along for both the first couple weeks of the road trip as well as Burning Man. She didn’t get naked (that I know of), but she had no problem finding lots of activities at the burn to keep her engaged and entertained. We even did a bunch of things together like the Balinese Monkey Chant circle, sitting in on a few talks, the burning of the man, our camps communal dinners, a few other events and even an electronic dance party at the infamous Distrikt sound camp.

My mom hanging out at our camp
My mom hanging out at our camp

After the burn we drove to San Francisco and stayed with my cousin for a few days before I saw my mother off to the airport so she could fly back to Toronto. I am now riding solo for the time being.

All-in-all I think we both took a lot away from the experience and I think I have a new found appreciation for my moms open minded attitude and willingness to try new things. If I can pull any advice from this experience, it would be to try and include your parents in events you might not typically think to include them in. Not everyones parents are going to be up for something as crazy as Burning Man, but I think a lot of parents would love the opportunity to be included in some of there young adults activities. I am truly grateful for having this experience and hope to have many more in mine and my parents lifetime.

by Aaron Neilson-Belman

(Originally posted on Aaron’s blog)

About the author: Tales From the Playa

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7 Comments on “Taking My Mom to Burning Man

  • Katy Tahja says:

    My daughter brought me to Burning Man 3 years ago and I return every year now! Burners can be any age….

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  • V-Taur says:

    This was my 4th year and I brought my mother for her first time. It was very interesting to say the least. She was Soooo awesome to be with. It was inspiring to see her glow as she took in the beauty of BRC. I can now say I’ve gone solo twice (one time single), with a lover another time and this year with my mother. The tough part is to try not to worry when she disappeared for 12hrs after the temple burn…. Lol. We found her!

    I love you momma bear
    Thanks for the wonderful memories!

    Kris Toe-Fur Keene (V-Taur)

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  • metaKim says:

    For the record, BM is not just a young-adult thing.

    Sure, from the Internet pictures you could get the idea that it’s an uninterrupted sea of nearly-naked 22-year-old yoga instructors bouncing to EDM 24-7.

    But according to the Census, about a quarter of the population is over 40. It’s consistently this same way in our large theme camp population, too.

    Contrary to the pictures, at the actual event you will see Olds everywhere, doing Burnerishly twisted versions of things Olds like to do. (Especially if you are a Dayburner like me – up and out in the morning!)

    So if you are thinking about taking your mom (or grandma!), you can rest easy knowing that they will find plenty of age-appropriate companions, perspectives and activities that will rock their world. So bring ’em already!

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  • Barbara says:

    I’m Aaron’s mom, whom he took to Burning Man. Great experience and I would encourage anyone no matter what their age is to go. For sure, it is what you make of it. The journey with Aaron across the country was worth the price of admission:-)

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  • Monte says:

    Well this will be our 20th consecutive burn but 10 years ago 3 of our 5 kids give it a try… well we’re all burners now. Although we don’t always camp together, we spend a lot of time working on art projects, mutant vehicles, dining and just having fun together. Hopefully one of our granddaughters will join us soon. At 74 and mom 67 we can’t imagine not burning! See ‘ya in 219 days.

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  • melody meyer says:

    I had fantasized about attending Burning Man since the first article I read about it in National Geographic magazine. When my friend from high school Kevin invited me to join him in Black Rock City in 2003 I was amazed and delighted to learn that Kevin’s dad, Chuck, who and Chucks friend Jackie had been attending Burning Man for several years. In 2003 Chuck was at least 65; Jackie somewhere near 65 (my mom taught me NEVER to ask a woman’s age). And Chuck and Jackie don’t just attend Burning Man, they participate!! And enjoy every minute of it!

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  • x says:

    Campmate brought his parents a couple years ago and I had a great time with them! (Mom’s “oh you look like you could use a coffee and a bagel” when I first woke up was 100% amazing)

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