By Gianna Brasil-Ross
Having attended Burning Man each year for nearly a decade now I thought I would draft a little guide for first-time burners (and a refresher for veterans). Frankly, given the recent ticket debacle this post is a much needed one since there will be so many new comers as it is more important than ever to embrace the principle of radical self-reliance.
Most people will encounter some of the harshest conditions they have ever had to deal with – extreme heat plunging into night-time freezing temps, extreme dryness (think cracking and bleeding lips and feet), and dust storms w/ 60mph winds.
Pack your goggles and dustmasks ladies and gents, rumor has it that the playa surface is very loose this year lending to a high likelihood for big dust storms – fun!
- Read the Burning Man Survival Guide BMORG issues. “As wonderful a place as it is, the desert is governed by physical laws that cannot be ignored. You are responsible in every regard for your own survival, safety, comfort, and well being as well as ensuring you Leave No Trace. This Survival Guide will help you prepare to survive and thrive at Burning Man, from the moment you decide to go, through your time on playa, to your return home. It is essential reading for every participant—first-timers and veterans alike.”
- Adopt these two phrases as your personal mantras “Leave no Trace” and “Drink Water, Piss Clear” – even at night.
- Pack it in, pack it out – Whatever you bring with you must go home with you. And yes, that includes cigarette ashes and buts, used feminine products, used condoms…you get the picture.
- Tips: – Altoids tins make great ashtrays – Scented doggie poop bags are great for storing used fem products (pick up at local pet store)
- Travel with a ziplock or two to pick up MOOP (matter out of place) whenever and wherever you see it. The playa belongs to all of us, if you see MOOP, it’s yours!!
4. Gifting Economy – You’ve probably heard that nothing is bought or sold at BM (except coffee and ice as fundraisers) and it’s a “gifting economy” this does not mean that you should bring hundreds of disposable trinkets. Nothing is more valuable than your time and energy well spent. If you see someone struggling, help them, if something needs fixing, fix it, if volunteers are needed, help out. Maybe keep an extra dust mask or bottle of water on you to give to someone in need. These types of actions go a lot further than some little blinkie (unless of course its for the person who forgot to light up at night)
5. Light up at night (and not with glowsticks – bad for the environment), try LED’s and E.L wire. Light your bike with a unique “light signature” so you can find it at night (and your friends can too!)
6. Bring a bike and LOCK IT– although you can get around on foot, getting around by bike will help conserve your precious energy and help you get out to deep playa where you may find some of the coolest art projects. LOCK YOUR BIKE – Bikes get “borrowed” more frequently than anyone wants to admit. You don’t need a fancy lock, just a $5 cheapy will do and make the code really really easy to remember.
For all you Burners heading to the playa next week have fun and be safe. I’ll be in the Disorient camp. Stop by and say hi if you’re around. Ask for Giggity.