‘Burning Man isn’t your usual festival. It’s a vibrant participatory metropolis generated by its citizens.’
… And I’d have to wholeheartedly agree.
Burning man is not an event you go to; it’s an event you create, you and your fellow burners.
This was my first time and after hearing only incredible reviews, that all still seemed rather mysterious, I was very excited to experience it, and now I can share some of that with you.
If you’re interested in going, the first thing you need to know is that you need to be prepared. It’s not something you can just rock up at almost by accident. To acquire a Burning Man ticket is your first challenge. I know many people who tried to get tickets but were unsuccessful, due to the enormous amount of demand for this world famous event. Now I’m going to let you in on the best kept secret… Low income tickets. These are released in February, before the main release yet you have to wait at least a couple of months before you know if you’re successful so it is a risk. You must provide documentation to prove your low income status. I was very organised with this and asked my mum to take photos of certain documents I had at home and then send them to my phone in Australia. I had everything prepared and was sat at a laptop in Perth, Western Australia, at 4am when the tickets were released… On my 23rd birthday I found out I was successful! I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried. That was that, I was meant to go to Burning Man and so that was what I would do.
Getting into the Nevada Desert is the next challenge, but really it’s not a challenge; it’s fun, well, I guess it depends. I was lucky enough to hitch a ride with a guy coming all the way down from Alaska! He picked me up in Portland and we rode all the way down… 20 hours later I pulled up to my camp. Av, who brought me, was volunteering and so had an early access pass for which he could get a +1, he got that for me and so we cruised in the day before main entry, missing the big queues. Don’t worry though, I hardly heard any horror stories of 10 hours queuing in the desert as his year they opened the gates at midnight so the influx of people was much better spread out, I’m guessing they will continue that system.
On the outskirts of the setup are all the people who have come alone/with a small group of friends i.e. Not part of an organised camp. This is an option but I joined a camp because my good friends have been part of this camp in previous years, and I was so incredibly happy about that. I paid $300 camp fees and $100 for my half of the yurt I shared with my friend. So this included a hot meal per day, the amazing, super fun community of friends, the cleverly designed yurt we slept in for 8 nights and ALL my water for 8 days, including that to drink, to shower with, to brush teeth with, to wash pots with, everything. You would have to bring a serious amount of water with you if you were coming yourself. Due to my joining the camp, it allowed me to rock up with hardly anything. I think I must have been one of the lightest burners going. Together we created our incredible art car, bar, chill out area and all the yurts. Many of the guys there had done so so so much more than me before I even arrived. As soon as I got there I got to work on the art car and actually ended up wiring the whole sound and light system! Every effort was so highly appreciated; my first look into this amazing world of pure, genuine kindness and gratitude.
So how did I stick to my healthy habits at Burning Man? On the journey down with Av, we stopped at an organic Oregon grocers which was perfect. I stocked up one box full and was really happy with all I’d taken and here it is:
Big jar of Peanut Butter
Himilayan pink salt
Bare Blends Greens powder
Bare Blends Berries powder
Bare Blends Peruvian Powder (-my favourite protein from where I worked in Byron. It’s an earthy, delicious blend of cacao, maca, mesquite, lucuma, sacha inchi, vanilla, cinnamon etc.)
Note: I was also given some hot meals by my camp (inc in fees, but I only had two.)
Extra note: my amazing friend came the day after me and brought us lots of extra fresh fruit, tamari almonds, salted cashew, more avo, more rice cakes, and tomatoes, lemon and lime. We shared everything.
I LIVED ON: avo on rice cakes with salt and lemon and also, oats mixed (in an empty nut butter jar) with water, Peruvian powder, honey, salt & peanut butter. Genuinely ate both of these everyday and loved them every single time.
So after all that, all I’ve discussed is getting there and food. Burning Man itself is quite unexplainable, it’s like nothing else. It’s an alternate universe that’s a playground for all the senses. It challenges, radicalised and opens your mind. As the days go by, more and more layers get stripped back, even from those tepid first timers. I believe that anyone can enjoy this wonderland. There is so much on offer at every moment of everyday and it’s a place that never sleeps (although you can!). You are told time and time again, ‘welcome home’, you are met with open arms and love, sweet love. You are squeezed and soothed, nurtured and pushed; there are no more boxes to remain in. The creativity and self expression will blow your mind in ways I simply cannot even attempt to describe. Burning Man will give you what you need, just allow the desert to sweep you off your feet.
I’m so incredibly glad I made it to Burning Man. I was 22 when I applied for a ticket. I applied alone, knowing no one else going and I was currently living in Australia. I was 23 (exactly) when I found out I got a ticket and from there the magic happened. Flights were booked, a ride share was found, a sleeping bag was given to me and everything somehow fell right into place. If you’re meant to go to this wonderous dreamland of:
Radical Inclusion. Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. …
Gifting. Burning Man is devoted to acts of gift giving. …
Radical Self-reliance. …
Radical Self-expression. …
Communal Effort. …
Civic Responsibility. …
Leaving No Trace.
… Then the whole universe will conspire to make it happen!