Burning Man 2013 was my first of (hopefully) many pilgrimages to Black Rock City, Nevada. I’ve actually already drafted up a few posts about my experiences at the Burn, but it’s super difficult to explain, and I feel like my writing doesn’t even do it justice. So, I just end up accumulating random saved posts about my time there and never actually posting something. But no longer!
That week was one of the most phenomenal and inspiring weeks of my life, and I’ve oddly never felt more at home in a strange place. But I’m going to save the deeply spiritual or complicated topics surrounding my experience for another time. Today, I simply want to share how traveling to Burning Man has changed how I’ll travel for the rest of my life.
* The people make the place.
That little spot in the desert is pretty cool by itself, but the people are really the heart of it. And they are some freaky people. Seriously, though, the folks I encountered out there were kind, giving, and curious, and that’s my kind of people. I had some really kickass adventures with people I’d literally just met and some seriously awesome conversations with total strangers. With that in mind, I make sure to talk up anyone I can when I go somewhere. I’ve found it’s a great way to meet new peeps, get insider tips (like a good restaurant or hidden gem), and if anything, it’s a far more pleasant way to pass time.
* There are some personal items to always pack. Always.
Baby wipes–for getting crud off of anything, including your body after a week of no showers (hehehe). Face wipes–So I can wash my face anywhere, without relying on a sink with running water. Hand sanitizer–because GERMS. A pee cup–This one’s for the ladies. I have a Sheewee for anytime I walk into a gnarly bathroom.
* Comfortable. Shoes.
A pair of my shoes died a noble death because I was walking in them so much. That is a crapload of walking, people. In general, when I travel, I make sure to put comfort first with my footwear. The other qualifying factor? It should go with multiple outfits. I’ll bring a pair of casual shoes (like my Chucks) and then some booties with a heel that can be worn in the day or night (I have a cute vintage pair that I wear all the time). If I’m feeling saucy, I’ll add in a pair of basic boots.
* Do research.
There are just some things you don’t want to be in the desert without, such as goggles for dust storms or a great bike. Before heading anywhere it’s a wise decision to do some research and figure out what items will really make a difference. I have friends who had been to the Burn before, so they instructed me on items that would be helpful, and there were a lot of things I wouldn’t have thought of! Every place is different, so in the words of Scar, be prepared, bitches.
* Cravings trump all, so eat and be happy.
I arrived at Burning Man with a crapload of snacks and goodies to munch on. I ended up eating 3 things every day for a mid-day snack, in this order: guacamole with some chips, fruit leather, and cosmic brownies. I may as well have not brought anything else. In general, I listen to my body and appease my cravings, and I’m a much happier person because of it. Bottom line: if I’m going to be cranky because I eat a salad for lunch instead of a sandwich, I’ll just do everyone (including myself) a favor and eat a freakin’ sandwich.
* Stay hydrated!
Anyone walking around the desert without a CamelBak is an absolute fool. I actually went through a gallon of water every day out there to prevent dehydration. Of course, I don’t need to harp on the benefits of drinking a ton of water every day because everyone and their granny knows. So when out and about, I just make sure it’s easy to drink lots of water. Personally, I take my Vapur bottle everywhere, which folds up and takes up less space when it’s not as full.
* Just ask.
People are so afraid to ask for help, but if there’s something you need–a certain item, emotional support, help screwing in a light bulb, etc etc etc.–there’s no harm in asking. I remember my first evening at Burning Man, hearing the camp right next door that insisted on playing Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long” on loop (Get it? They’re playing it all night long. Ha.). They thought they were quite clever, but I knew that going to sleep would be a challenge with Mr. Richie serenading me. Luckily, all I had to do was ask a camp-mate for a pair of earplugs and she was happy to give me some (thanks, Chainsaw!). I think that the generosity and kindness of others can actually overwhelm you, if you’re open and receptive to it. 🙂