The more days that pass after Burning Man, the more the memories blur and the land of magic fades into the distance.
Did That Actually Happen? Was It All A Dream?
These are the usual thoughts we have after a night out combined with too much booze, right? Burning man has the potential to be your most random night out x1,000,000 and whether you drink or not, you’ll be questioning the visions you see for years to come. It’s creative
In attempt to capture my fading clarity of the week, I recorded a little YouTube video for y’all which you can see here…
Burning Man FAQ’s…
In case this is the first Burning Man post you have arrived at on my blog, I just want to let you know there are a few others that may help you plan and consider this epic adventure:
– See my complete guide to attending Burning Man festival, Black Rock City
– See my ultimate packing and shopping list for Burning Man
As you can imagine, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about Burning Man through my DM’s, comments and in tweets, so I’ve done my best to answer them all for you in this post. If you have a question that hasn’t been noted or answered here, please leave a comment below and I will update this blog post to accommodate for it!
So Is There Really NO Money?
Nope, aside from buying ice there is ZERO VENDING whatsoever. Burners bring, they gift and they share to survive. Buying and selling of goods is considered a distraction to connecting and creating relationships.
So What’s The Whole Gifting Thing? I Don’t Understand.
The understanding that I had about the ‘gifting concept’ before I went was that I’d be there with a little bag of goodies handing them out in exchange for my dinner. As in, I thought what I bought as ‘my gift’ would buy me other things due to the absence of actual ‘money’.
The gifting concept is bigger than that and works on a much larger scale. The things you bring don’t substitute currency, it’s more of a ‘bring something that people may enjoy, and if everyone brings enjoyable things there will be enough enjoyment to go around’.
For example, some people came loaded with pop tarts, some with chapsticks, some bought barrels of rosé, some bought barrels of iced coffee. Others bring art cars and stages, there are many different levels of ‘bringing’ and you can do it on whatever scale you fancy.
Of course chapsticks and pop tarts aren’t enough to survive on which is where you separate the ‘gifting’ from you actually bringing your food and drink.
Think of it like a week long camping trip. You still bring all the food, supplements and drinks you need for the week and then on top of that you can bring ‘a gift’ to the playa.
If you’re part of a camp like we were, you effectively put your money together to offer something larger to Black Rock City. This is how stages, open bars and cocktails for everyone at sunrise can occur. You all chip in, the camps fundraise throughout the year and ‘gifts’ are created on a larger scale.
Does that make sense?
I can understand now why Burners don’t like the week in Black Rock City to be referred to as a festival. A festival hosts different stages and books a variety of different acts to play on official stages to entertain a crowd, right?
Burning Man is literally a gathering of people coming together with their different skills, creativity and ‘gifts’ to endure a week of madness as a unit, as a community.
I’ve Heard There Are Bars There But How Do You Pay For The Drinks With No Money?
Just as I’ve mentioned above, some of the camps put money together and fund raise to provide a free bar. Yup, FREE.
If you’ve read my ‘Complete packing and shopping list for Burning Man’ you will have noticed the need for a ‘Vacuum insulated bottle or drinking cup’ to take around in the day. This is because, as you venture around you’ll find awesome camps creating cocktails and ice cold beverages that they want to share with you. The bars are free and the alcohol is flowing, but you must bring your own cup!
What Is The Best Way To Get To Black Rock City?
The closest airport to Black Rock City is Reno. I personally road tripped from San Francisco and stopped overnight in Lake Tahoe to break up the journey. If you don’t want to hire a car or are coming alone there is a Burner Express bus that runs from Reno and SF to Black Rock City. Additional fees apply for taking bikes and you would need to purchase water in advance for pick up. More details here.
Your best bet is to rent a car and share it with your fellow burning buddies!
· Getting to Burning Man from Europe?
In my opinion, fly to San Francisco / Reno and then road trip through to the desert!
· What is a Theme Camp? How do I join one?
So you can totally rock up to Black Rock City on your own or with your little gang for the week. But you also have the option to join a larger community and join a themed camp. There are hundreds if not thousands of them to choose from. Check out the public camps you can get in contact with here.
Theme camps are interactive camps designed by camp members with the intention of engaging burners and hosting.
If you get accepted onto a camp you will usually have to pay a contribution which goes towards the camp bar / offering / art car fuel or you will be asked to do a few shifts at the camp bar, for example. It depends on the camp. We simply paid $90 each to be part of the Bounce camp.
Not all camps make themselves public and for a selection of them it’s case of a ‘who you know’. One of the guys I went with had met the owner of our camp ‘Bounce’ in South America a few months back and linked up!
I absolutely loved being part of a bigger squad and for the extra money, in the grand scheme of things, it was nothing and was so worth it. The bounce car was by far a top highlight for me and I went on it every single day!
· What happens if you run out of food?
You don’t really want that to happen, which is why it’s essential you aren’t stingy with your pre-burn shop and you buy more than enough to last you the week. Check out my complete packing and shopping list for Burning Man here. Of course there are people ‘gifting’ food but you want to make sure you have enough food to nourish your body correctly and soak up all the juices that I’m sure will be flowing.
· But isn’t everyone just f**ked?
I’ve had this question a lot. For sure, Burning Man is an escape from the ‘real world’ for a lot of people and many choose to enhance this experience with additional substances. But not everyone. I truly believe you can come to Burning Man and experience it in so many different lights. For that reason it’s hard to not want to go back and experience it in a different way each time. Black Rock City is SO big and so FILLED with adventure that you can honestly find whatever it is you seek, and avoid whatever it is you don’t feel comfortable around. There are so many freaking EPIC art and light structures, playgrounds and concepts that are designed for getting a little bit intoxicated and in fact totally accommodate for it. Burning Man is a giant friendly playground so try not to judge people getting intoxicated as being a bad thing.
If anything, it makes for some great people watching!
· If there’s no signal, how do I find my friends and my camp?
Sadly in the last two years, signal has actually been found at Burning Man (though I didn’t find any). So if you get stuck or lost, you do have your phone. Most people don’t explore with phones and to be honest – shouldn’t. Burning Man is all about disconnecting from the world and reconnecting with each other. Typically, before you enter the desert you should write down the location of your friends camp and then go on an adventure to find it when you arrive. Facebook has an awesome ‘BurnerMap’ app which show you in one place where all your friends are camping! Click here to check it out.
Read more about Burning Man on the official website here.
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Love as always + happy adventuring,
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