My Epic Journey Home

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Jax Dee
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My Epic Journey Home

Post by Jax Dee » Wed Sep 21, 2011 1:45 am

(To be told in increments, it's a long story. My apologies for any typos.)

I want to share the story of my journey to Burning Man this year. But for me the journey started all the way back at the
new year. So many things shaped the eventual way I got to and participated in the burn this year. So many people helped
me along the way. I want to tell this story as a thank you to all those people. And as a way for me to process all the
many things I experienced along the way as well. If you choose to take the time out of your day and read what I share
then I thank you as well.

My year began with a scary diagnosis. 6 hernias in my spine (3 lower lumbar and 3 cervical) as well as numerous other
problems. I think I handled it well. I cried for 5 minutes then went back to work. My life began to change in scary ways.
On the one hand was the happy news that I finally knew what was wrong with me and that my doctors now knew as well and
were taking me seriously all of a sudden. It was nice to not be dismissed anymore. On the other hand, I had to reduce my
hours at work and begin physical therapy. I had to begin using a cane and sometimes even a walker. I got a handicap
placard for my car. I had to ask for help sometimes even to get dressed or shower. The change that was hardest for me was
learning to ask for and accept the help that I so obviously needed. After 6 months of PT and little improvement I had to
face the fact that I couldn't work anymore. At least not as I was. I began to train my replacement and then finally in
June left on disability leave. It was painful and a relief all at the same time to leave that daily struggle behind. I
had spent the last 4 years of my life partly defining myself as an executive assistant though. What was I now?

I spent the first few days of my new work free schedule letting depression and anxiety rule my thoughts. I had been
planning since missing Burning Man 2010 (due to the as yet undiagnosed spinal injury and its side effects) to attend
in 2011. That hope was beginning to die. I continued seeing my doctors and was referred to a neurosurgeon. The surgeon
recommended a triple cervical fusion of the vertebrae in my neck. In July I was in yet another car accident and my
surgery had to be postponed until we could get the new swelling in my neck down and take yet another MRI.

At this point I decided I was going to Burning Man even if it killed me. I needed something happy to plan for. You see, I
have a deathly fear of hospitals and medical procedures. It is a phobia that grew out of childhood experience. At the age
of 11 I spent 2 years watching my best friend wither away in a cancer ward. She survived but the trauma never left me. I
knew that without a sufficiently exciting distraction that I would talk my self out of the surgery that I so desperately
needed. So you see Burning Man became an important step in my eventual rehabilitation.

I bought my ticket and began the long process of figuring out how to get there. I had little money. I had no credit card.
I can't drive for very long. Hell, I can't even sit up for very long. I researched flights. I posted ride shares. I talked
to friends and strangers alike about going with me. Each day that passed was filled with thoughts of the burn and all the
details that go into such a plan. I was happy. One day might just be writing a list. Another day, a trip to Goodwill. I
sold items I no longer needed on eBay. I did small jobs for my family, like babysit my nephew, to raise money.

I was constantly contacted by interested people for ride shares who would then not respond once I got back to them. My
funds were still too low. My disability payments were coming in sporadically and had to be first used to make my health
insurance payments. I was frustrated and really worried that maybe I wouldn't be able to go to the burn after all. I was
to my horror becoming quite maudlin and self-pitying. I determined to suck it up and just sell my ticket and not go.

Literally right after I made this decision everything changed. My brother and sister-in-law came to me and said that they
understood how important the burn was to me this year and knew I needed money. They gave me $600. My parents came back
from a trip during which I watched their house and dogs. I did this because they are family and I am happy to help. My
father proceeded to pay me $400. I literally fell to the floor and started crying when he gave me the money. All my items
sold on eBay and I netted another $160. I now had plenty of money, but no way to get me, all my gear, my clothes, and my
bike to the burn. I started to reach out to other people offering rides. I was desperate to go and just needed a ride. I
managed to get in contact with one of the Washington DC regional heads and he hooked me up with someone whose ride along
had just pulled out on them. I needed a driver and he needed gas money. It also turned out I knew this person as an
acquaintance. He was friends with many of my friends and I felt very comfortable after a few long talks about driving
across the country with him. Everything seemed to finally be working out.
May All Beings Be Well
May All Beings Be Happy
May All Beings Be Free From Suffering
-Buddhist Blessing

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goathead
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Re: My Epic Journey Home

Post by goathead » Wed Sep 21, 2011 6:43 am

Waiting for

The rest of the Story

:wink:

dam now I can't remeber his name???

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ygmir
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Re: My Epic Journey Home

Post by ygmir » Wed Sep 21, 2011 6:49 am

Paul Harvey.

Jax Dee:

This, starts to be an engaging, and inspirational story.....please continue, and, thanks.
YGMIR

Unabashed Nordic
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Drawingablank
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Re: My Epic Journey Home

Post by Drawingablank » Wed Sep 21, 2011 6:56 am

Yes, please continue.
Savannah: I don't know what it is, but no thread here escapes alive. You'll get 1 or 2 real answers at minimum, occasionally 10 or 12, and then we flog it until it's unrecognizable and you can't get your deposit back.

Yet Another Crappy Birgin Guide

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theCryptofishist
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Re: My Epic Journey Home

Post by theCryptofishist » Wed Sep 21, 2011 9:13 am

Bwahahaha! You're "installment plan" plan has them hooked!
The Lady with a Lamprey

"The powerful are exploiting people, art and ideas, and this leads to us plebes debating how to best ration ice.
Man, no wonder they always win....." Lonesomebri

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Elderberry
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Re: My Epic Journey Home

Post by Elderberry » Wed Sep 21, 2011 9:34 am

LOL True.

But actually,it's better this way. I often just pass over stories that I have to scroll to read. Cliff hanger is a much better way of presentation.
JK
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http://www.mudskippercafe.com
When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle.
Then I realized that the Lord doesn't work that way so I stole one and asked Him to forgive me

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Jax Dee
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Re: My Epic Journey Home

Post by Jax Dee » Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:47 pm

(Part 2)

We began our trip on Thursday, August 25, at 2:35 am. We needed to reach Reno by Sunday. I had driven to his home the previous afternoon and we had spent
all night packing. I use this term lightly because you see, though I was packed neatly, and all my items obsessively labeled, he literally just threw a bunch of stuff
in the car on top of mine. He packed barely any clothes and no shelter, but he brought a full computer, extra screen and all his photography equipment. I understood
that he was working as a photographer for the burn but his apparent unpreparedness worried me. He seemed very erratic and easily distracted. He told me he had PTSD and ADD. He had a prescription for Adderall. But he also seemed very sweet and intelligent. Who am I to judge anothers issues? I am bipolar after all. It tends to make me very tolerant of other people's oddities. So we began our trip.

It began well enough but went down hill quickly. We drove and drove until nightfall again and somewhere in Missouri I
decided we needed a good night's sleep, so I paid for a motel. I woke up the next morning to find him still awake having
not slept at all. We got on the road and I continued to watch in concern as he also wasn't eating. I began to be a little
uneasy as he kept popping more and more of his Adderall. On no sleep and no food. In Kansas right before we hit Nebraska
the car broke down. I wasn't alarmed because he rationally figured out that the oil change he got before we left must
have been done incorrectly. You see he has a turbo and the car was acting like it had regular oil in it instead of
synthetic. This causes things to gunk up and over heat. When the car cooled we got back on the road and headed to our
hotel we already had booked in Nebraska. We knew we would have to get the car looked at the next day. I thought the issue
was decided on. I went to sleep.

I woke up the next morning to find him still awake after obsessively spending the entire night researching his engine
online, calling his mother to yell at her about the oil change (she's the one who took the car to the mechanic for him),
posting inflammatory and histrionic statements on facebook, and then finally getting a call from his father and yelling
at him too for "taking his mother's side". I managed to get him calmed down and in the car but it was 1:00 pm at this
point. I was getting seriously annoyed but kept it well hidden so as not to antagonize him further. We took the car to
jiffy lube where I paid for an engine flush and fresh synthetic oil. The car fixed, I now turned my attention on my
driver. He was unkempt, wild-eyed, and rambling at this point. He continued to pop Adderall like vitamins. Again on no
sleep and no food. He was convinced we could push through and hit Reno by Sunday evening. After a heated argument in a
parking lot we got on the road. He kept occasionally accusing me of saying things I hadn't really said, starting irritating yet small arguments.
I humored him to shut him up. I just wanted to get to Reno. It became a mantra in my head. Reno. Reno. Reno. I thought he was just obsessing
about this as well and would calm down and get some rest once we hit Reno. I had never wanted to see a city more.
May All Beings Be Well
May All Beings Be Happy
May All Beings Be Free From Suffering
-Buddhist Blessing

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tattoogoddess
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Re: My Epic Journey Home

Post by tattoogoddess » Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:04 pm

More More!!

Damn this is better then All my Children!
maladroit- Burning Man is like a second job, except you pay to work there.
Burning Man is just the pre party for exodus! - fellow burner during exodus

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The CO
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Re: My Epic Journey Home

Post by The CO » Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:05 pm

Damn cliffhangers!
M*A*S*H 4207th: An army of fun.
I don't care what the borg says: feather-wearers will NOT be served in Rosie's Bar.
When I ask how many burns, I mean at BRC.

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Minxy
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Re: My Epic Journey Home

Post by Minxy » Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:13 pm

Oh, wow, Jax. I can't wait to hear the rest. I'm so glad you made it to the burn. I wish I'd gotten to meet you. <3 <3
"If I moop your head, I shall be very displeased." - Savannah

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Jax Dee
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Re: My Epic Journey Home

Post by Jax Dee » Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:23 pm

Let's take a moment to recap to far.

In five days time I have:
gathered the gas/travel money I raised through the kindness of my family
packed all my items which are extensive because of my disabilities in one large duffel and a plastic bucket
tracked down a ride/driver from Virginia to BRC
waited while he took 7 hours to pack a car with almost nothing useful for Burning Man
traveled with said driver over halfway across the US
listened to him ramble about the most random and crazy subjects non-stop in the car
waited while he took pit stops and literally disappeared for an hour or so into a truck stop or walmart
hid my annoyance with his disappearing acts and erratic behaviour
tamped down my worry over his drug abuse, non-sleep, and non-eating
watched a storm approach on the horizon as our car broke down at sunset in nowhere Kansas
listened to my driver verbally abuse his mother on the phone for 3 hours
paid for his car to be fixed
listened as he accused me of saying things and then start arguments with me over them
talked him out of driving off the road near the salt pans to test out his"performance vehicle"
done all this on no pain pills as they make me terribly car sick even though my pain level is prolly a 9 at this point
May All Beings Be Well
May All Beings Be Happy
May All Beings Be Free From Suffering
-Buddhist Blessing

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Minxy
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Re: My Epic Journey Home

Post by Minxy » Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:25 pm

Mooooooore! Jax, you are my hero, although I know that's not what you're going for here. I'm so glad you're posting this; this is an epic adventure. =)
"If I moop your head, I shall be very displeased." - Savannah

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ygmir
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Re: My Epic Journey Home

Post by ygmir » Thu Sep 22, 2011 6:20 am

enthralling, interesting, intoxicating...............can't wait........such, the seeming adventure.
Thanks, JD.
YGMIR

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goathead
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Re: My Epic Journey Home

Post by goathead » Thu Sep 22, 2011 8:58 am

waiting, waiting, waiting

But I did get a good nights sleep, and am enjoying a morning cup of coffee.
:D

What twists and turns await?
:shock:

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ygmir
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Re: My Epic Journey Home

Post by ygmir » Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:31 am

goathead wrote:waiting, waiting, waiting

But I did get a good nights sleep, and am enjoying a morning cup of coffee.
:D

What twists and turns await?
:shock:
[youtube][/youtube]
YGMIR

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lucky420
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Re: My Epic Journey Home

Post by lucky420 » Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:52 am

oh I am just LOVING this story. Please maam, may I have some more?
Oh my god, it's HUGE!

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burner von braun
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Re: My Epic Journey Home

Post by burner von braun » Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:00 am

*sits down on the floor next to other folks, eyes wide, and passes the popcorn down the row*

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deutlich
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Re: My Epic Journey Home

Post by deutlich » Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:33 am

*pops popcorn in prep for the rest*

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Lassen Forge
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Location: Where it's always... Wednesday. Don't lose your head over it.

Re: My Epic Journey Home

Post by Lassen Forge » Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:42 am

Grabs a round of beers and settles down...

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Dr Helix
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Re: My Epic Journey Home

Post by Dr Helix » Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:46 am

I admit it. I'm hooked.
"Love, Rockets and write when you get work"

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theCryptofishist
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Re: My Epic Journey Home

Post by theCryptofishist » Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:58 am

(I'm just waiting for my cameo...
The Lady with a Lamprey

"The powerful are exploiting people, art and ideas, and this leads to us plebes debating how to best ration ice.
Man, no wonder they always win....." Lonesomebri

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graidawg
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Re: My Epic Journey Home

Post by graidawg » Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:58 am

AAARGHHHHH! WHAT COMES NEXT?
FREE THE SHERPAS
Burners with torches is right and natural and just.-fishy.
CATCH AND RELEASE.

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moonrise
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Re: My Epic Journey Home

Post by moonrise » Thu Sep 22, 2011 11:02 am

Jax, did we meet at the MnG? (I'm a bit foggy after meeting sooo many eplayans all at once, arg, :oops:)

Juicy stuff....please continue, there IS something to see here!
I'm the MAN in a truck, burner who is stuck, you're in luck! I'll whip out my BIG tow chain and not charge you, not even one lousy buck!

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snake
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Re: My Epic Journey Home

Post by snake » Thu Sep 22, 2011 11:09 am

you tease!! keep it coming!!

btw, i like your writing style, straightforward, emotional, but grounded.

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Elderberry
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Re: My Epic Journey Home

Post by Elderberry » Thu Sep 22, 2011 11:36 am

:)
JK
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http://www.mudskippercafe.com
When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle.
Then I realized that the Lord doesn't work that way so I stole one and asked Him to forgive me

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ygmir
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Re: My Epic Journey Home

Post by ygmir » Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:04 pm

[youtube][/youtube]
YGMIR

Unabashed Nordic
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maryanimal
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Re: My Epic Journey Home

Post by maryanimal » Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:37 pm

Hi everyone! I'm here with the pizzas!! So anything new?? Not yet? Dammit! I had the pleasure of meeting this awesome young woman at the M & G grai! She is such a sweetheart! *sits with everyone else as the lights go down for another chapter*

HEY! Who's hands are that on my legs???
Sometimes I'm confused by what I think is really obvious. But what I think is really obvious obviously isn't obvious.

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ygmir
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Re: My Epic Journey Home

Post by ygmir » Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:54 pm

guess:

Image
YGMIR

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Elorrum
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Re: My Epic Journey Home

Post by Elorrum » Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:16 pm

oh, I think I have time for a quick trip to the market... anybody need anything?
"Ask again later." - Magic 8-Ball

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maryanimal
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Re: My Epic Journey Home

Post by maryanimal » Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:28 pm

How about some buffalo "wangs"! yummy! And some mixers. I may have a small drink tonight. But I won't be able to drive tonight.

ok Yggy, which set of hands are yours?? LOL
Sometimes I'm confused by what I think is really obvious. But what I think is really obvious obviously isn't obvious.

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