Skip to content

A Burner Lexicon: On A Mission

Posted in A Burner Lexicon, and Burning Man

Constantly surrounded by startling beauty, it can be difficult for Burners to stay on task. Black Rock City, 2009. Photo by Michael Holden.

On A Mission, The playa is noisy, fiery, sexy, chaotic. Normally it’s almost impossible to go in a straight route from point A to point B at a Burning Man event without being distracted by dozens of things along the way.  Even a simple trip to the porta-potties and back can turn into an hours-long adventure.

The exception is when a participant is “on a mission.” Instead of the usual meandering, wide-eyed stroll, they move quickly, even speed-walking toward their quest. This is the only way to keep from being stopped by something remarkable or a friend who just has to share some fabulous new discovery. The mission might be anything from a quest for food to a search for a ranger.

When on a mission, a Burner will always refuse your offer of a fresh grilled cheese sandwich, unless perhaps it’s cooked on a flamethrower, laced with LSD, and served by boys in bikinis. Some distractions are just too exciting to ignore.

With even spontaneous trips capable of turning into long adventures, some Burners can take an hour or more to get ready to go out for an evening of deliberate wandering. Sometimes multiple trips back to camp are required to retrieve forgotten but essential equipment like water backpacks, blinky lights, lighters, costume accessories, etc.

Find more entries in A Burner Lexicon at