(After seeing the success of our first Why We Burn segment, I’m delighted to have spoken to Aaron & Honeybee. One a department head at a tech company here in NYC, the other a heart surgeon, they’re two people I look up to. Consumate professionals who work hard & play hard, I was able to get their thoughts on what it takes to venture out from the East Coast and why they keep coming back.) By Terry Gotham
1. How many years have you gone to Burning Man & how did you get into the scene?
Honeybee: 9 years in a row. In 2007 I realized I was really bored with my social life, I wanted to be thrilled by it. So I jumped on the computer, searching through Google, throwing in random terms committed to finding a group of people, a community that inspired me. That scared the living shit out of me. After hours of searching, I came across a photo of a guy sitting on a red velvet couch in the middle of the open desert and the floor was scorched black. In an instant the photo brought so much curiosity, I began searching for “Man Burning with Couch” ,”Man Burning Desert”, finally I came across Burning Man. My search was over, I found the community that I so desperately wanted. I immediately signed up to every list I could find, read every bit of information I could read and purchased my tickets a month later. I ended up going by myself and have been going back ever since. I was a main contributor to the art from 2008 – 2013, building large interactive art installations for Burning Man with an arts collective I started with two others, called the Animus Arts Collective.
Aaron: Although not as seasoned as Honeybee, I have been fortunate enough to make it out to the Playa the last two years. We all know that Burning Man is so much more than music but what actually got me into the scene was the music in the first place. Well, that and Honeybee herself. I was always really into the warehouse music/party scene in NYC and had been frequenting many over most of my 20s. I didn’t even really know that the crowd was so full of Burners and how heavily the culture influenced the scene.
Then, Honeybee and I met and started dating in early 2014 and she brought in the Burner culture and sense of community that I had mostly lacked. She was so surprised how much I knew about the music and I was surprised how little I did know about the community at large. Within a few months of us dating, she said to me that we were going to go to Burning Man that year and I immediately said ‘Let’s do it’. This is actually quite funny in hindsight because I remember saying in my early 20s that I would never go to Burning Man. Honeybee opened up a whole new world to me. We had so much fun planning and getting ready for the 2014 Burn and our love for each other blossomed as a result.
2. Do you have default world jobs? How do you earn the funds to make it to the playa?
Honeybee: Absolutely, I am the Head of Developer Relations for an amazing tech company which allows me to afford the trek to the playa from the East Coast.
Aaron: I’m a doctor finishing up my last couple years of training to be a heart surgeon. As a fellow, especially in NYC, the pay/work hour ratio is ridiculously low. But thats okay because I got myself a sugar momma (I just nudged her on the couch). So funding going to BM each year involves planning well ahead and saving accordingly.