Ebony’s Burning Man Tips
2019 marks my 8th visit to the ever magical, challenging and heart and mind expanding land of Black Rock City.
I’ve travelled all over the world, multiple times, and Burning Man is — hands down — the best place I’ve ever been. Nowhere else will fellow humans treat you with so much kindness. It’s unbelievable. I was brought to tears within the first hour of my first visit to the temporary city — because of this very kindness from strangers.
That said, the place can drive you up the wall if you’re not prepared (or, even if you ARE prepared — the playa loves laughing at my fuzzy little google document plans).
Whether this is your first visit “home”, you’re a dusty veteran or just curious. Here are some of my favorite tips.
- Know the 10 principles. Our community adheres to a beautiful set of principles that you’ll want to adopt on the playa and possibly in the default world, as well. Know them so that you can be a productive contributor to the culture at Burning Man. You’ll find some to be second nature, and some to be a challenge that will help you grow!
- Prepare for a harsh environment. A desert lake bed, Black Rock City is a uniquely beautiful place. It’s balls hot during the day, and balls cold at night. It’s also dusty AF (it’s not sand, it’s dust, big diff). It can drive you crazy if you don’t prepare. What I’ve found to be helpful is to have daytime outfits that can transition to nighttime outfits by adding layers like leggings and long sleeves. Bring lots of bandanas to cover your mouth and nose. Bring goggles (clear and shaded) to protect your eyes. Bring SPF, a hat, and anything else you use to protect yourself from the sun.
- Bring what you’ll need to survive for as long as you plan to stay. There is no money exchanged once you enter Black Rock City. The exception is purchasing coffee and ice from center camp. Burning Man is not a bartering community, however gifting is a big part of our culture. That said, bring or plan for the food, water, medicines and necessities that you’ll need. There is no convenience store to run to. So, make a list and double check that shit! If you’re not sure what to bring, do a Google search of Burning Man packing lists. I, for one, have a multi tabbed google document to prepare for this trip to outer space.
- Be open to new experiences. The playa LOVES to shake your shit up. It’s refreshing to put away your phone for the week and make plans like we used to (“let’s meet at the Thunderdome on Tuesday at sunset”). This leaves a lot more open to anticipation, change and chance. Just know, that you’ll have your intentions. You’ll decide to head out to explore such and such, and on the way, you’ll see a 10-foot chicken on wheels playing the best house music of your life. You’ll climb aboard never to be seen again until the next morning — where you’ll emerge with new best friends and fresh creative ideas (hope you filled up your camelbak!).
- Create your own magic. When I’m on the playa, if something is going in a direction that I don’t like — be it a conversation, the music that’s being played, or an environment – I make it my business to pivot and change things up or straight up leave and find something that I DO want. Burning Man is an experience that you may have decided to gift to yourself. There’s literally over 1000 experiences to delight in at any given time. Feel free to choose your own adventure whenever the hell you want to. I’ve learned to take this home with me to the default world, as well.
- Stay hydrated. So, how much water should you drink? This is going to be different for everyone. I’ve always read that you should “pee clear”. I believe that I drink almost a gallon of water a day. If you decide to drink alcohol on the playa, you might need to drink even more water. Don’t forget to add adequate salt and electrolytes to your diet. This is easy to forget, but very important.
I’d love to hear your own Burning Man tips and questions. Holla! More tips coming soon.