My Hero’s Journey

My first Burning Man experience was the single most transformative event of my life. But I was at a lost when trying to convey just how profound it was to me without sounding crazy. Suddenly I was no longer an atheist? Suddenly I believed in love and magic? And what’s this about a giant rubber duck?

I realized that I needed to tell the whole story. Who I was, how I came to Burning Man, and how that’s made all the difference — essentially, the story of my life. It’s become rather important to me, something I plan to rewrite and recite for the rest of my days. Below is an audio recording of it. Enjoy, and please share if you like it.

by Jordan Nguyen

About the author: Tales From the Playa

Tales From the Playa

Tales From the Playa are dreams and memories of events that took place at Burning Man, as told by participants. Submit your story here.

14 Comments on “My Hero’s Journey

  • Jennifer fagan says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. As I sat here and listened tears flowed down my face. I truly relate to experience in the default world as well as being “home”. Seems we were both virgins the same year. I too stood at the top of the man and my life changed. I went to burning man at the last moment that same year alone. I never thought I’d have the experience I had that week. It did CHANGE MY LIFE! Thank you once again for sharing and taking me back it that moment in life…be blessed. Peace and love, Jen

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  • Rennie says:

    Beautiful. Congratulations. Thank you.

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  • johnnyg says:

    Thank you, Jordan.

    Your hero’s message is inspiring indeed.


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  • burnthemost says:

    What a beautiful speech! Well spoken! Brings tears to my eyes. I don’t talk much. Not doing so and not following the crowd I’ve become the outcast from groups of people I’ve associated with over the years. I came to burning man last year (2013) as a virgin and my experience there was the best week of my life. I truly felt at home in in the desert and I was fortunate to enjoy my stay with the most loving woman I have ever met in my life. I never knew of burning man before I met her and without her I would not have been introduced to such an amazing atmosphere. I love you all and I thank you for being there to open my eyes to a place this world has never offered me before. The hugs, the creation, the love, just feeling welcome everywhere I was and the spirit of burning man that invited my soul in a society without any judgment awakened my spirit to burn the most. I love you all!

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  • Nik says:

    Thank you, Jordan – you are a hero indeed. It’s because of you that I go to burning man every year.

    I’ve been there quite a few times now and every time was different. But this video, this speech, tells me right now exactly why I go – because meeting so many people like Jordan there, normal people, who just WAKE UP when they’re there, it is something that lifts everyone up and no matter who you are you will not be able to help it. You will get lifted up.

    Each year has seen transformations for me but just this, it was from my second year there: At the end of a crazy week in the desert I was in Center Camp Cafe on Monday, after the last burn, as camps were broken down and people were moving out everywhere around us. I was doing some impromptu acrobatics with friends, we were playing like children really. I got exhausted and took a break; I sat down and looked around. And what I saw was that every single person there was just so beautiful. These dusty folks were quite literally the most beautiful people I’d ever seen in my life. My calculating mind set in – what are the chances that of the 50-odd people here, every one of them is a supermodel in the default world? Impossible right? And I realized the physical beauty I was witnessing was their true inner self shining through – and me, able to see it! This is who we really are!

    I love you too brother. Please come back next year. :)

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  • Alice says:

    Utterly amazing. I’ve been desiring to go to burning man all my life and this year I am finally fullfilling that dream. It’s still months away but I stay awake at night, excited like a child on Christmas eve, unable to sleep. You audio recording has only made me more excited and facinated by the wonders of Burning Man. I please my imagination by the idea of being welcomed home in a place I’ve never been. I’m excited to be able to call the fellow burning man attenders, that I may grow a bond with during that time my family. Fellow human beings, truly beautiful people. You’re story truly inspires me, and despite if only a few people are inspired by your action. Feel pridefull because you just just change a few peoples lifes. You changed their entire lives and that is so much more substantial than anyone will ever imagine. Stay golden my friend.

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  • $teven Ra$pa says:

    Thank you for sharing your story and state of being, Jordan. With “the freedom to live” comes an unspoken responsibility to support and offer to others the environment and conditions that helped you achieve your self-liberation. With the tone of your message you are rising to that responsibility beautifully! To that I say “HIP HIP HOORAY — with a rubber duckie on top!” I also offer these three small gifts wrapped in silly string and joyful tidings: 1) remember that you are not alone in what you know and feel–even though you will forget this from time to time; 2) Love is in the loving and if you love all creatures, matter and energy well, you will not need love but discover you are loved beyond your wildest dreams; and 3) “Home” is wherever you go in this world when you are in the powerful and infinite state of being you have expressed here–what’s more, you are the welcome mat at the constant threshold to yourSelf and that which has no need for name or language.

    Welcome Home, my friend! …wherever you go from here! (squeak…squeak!)

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  • tzipora says:

    Beautiful !

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  • Alison says:

    Thank you for sharing your vulnerability which allows the deepest human connection. You are amazing, brave and an awesome hero and I wish you love, light and blessings beyond your wildest imagination. See you at Burning Man next year!
    And by the way… you do and did make a difference!

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  • Gerry says:

    I agree with and Loved the part about “This is my life to live” So real!

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  • Anne says:

    I love you too Jordon. I cry every time I think about my greeter saying “welcome home”. That’s the one expectation I had of Burning Man….and it’s true. We were HOME! Now we bring that beauty and love and community into the world, so we can be home wherever we are. I love you too.

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  • Tammy says:

    Thank you for your message of love. I needed to hear this today, was having a little trouble from getting hooked into a negative thought process. Your words brought me right out it. Thank you Thank you Thank you

    Love you

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  • Daniel McGouirk says:

    Love is forever – I understand the pain you had – just know that hate and pain is easy but to love and show it … well, its just so much FUN

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