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burning man

animalia 2023

Surviving and Thriving: Tips and Tales from the Playa
- A Burning Man Newbie's Story-

A city sprouting out of the desert like a funky mirage. Yep, that's Burning Man: 

The ultimate playground for wild hearts, artists, and adventurers.


I was a total rookie, armed with a head full of curiosity and questions. So, how did it go?  Let's dissect this wild, wild ride for all you first-timers tackling some of those blazing queries!

Is Burning Man truly the legendary adventure people make it out to be, or does it fall short of the hype?

Absolutely no exaggeration here – Burning Man is hands down the most special, meaningful, and craziest experience I've ever had. It's beyond words, beyond legends. This is a journey that catapults you into a world you never knew could exist. Take it from me, it's everything they say it is, and so much more. Quoting the legend Android Jones:
"One of the things I love so much about Burning Man is that it shows us our edges..."

3.3 gig grader

3.3 Gig Grader

Burning Man budgeting, truth be told, it's not exactly a bargain bonanza, it is a pretty expensive one.
Unless you've got a secret portal stashed in your closet, getting to Black Rock City is a league of its own,

especially for us international folks.

But let me tell you, it's worth every single cent. You've got unbelievable art that'll make your jaw drop, parties that redefine 'epic', and beautiful workshops and iniciatives from a wide range of communities. Plus, the people?
Imagine if Mad Max and Alice in Wonderland had a crossover episode - that's the vibe. Pure magic.


Now, about that desert life... It's a climate rollercoaster. You could experience days hotter than a habanero and nights that'll chill you to the bone. And let's not even get started on the dust - it's like a second skin out there.

But hey, it's all part of the adventure! 🌵✨

Setting; The desert

 

The desert is where the extraordinary unfolds. Beyond its harsh, barren facade lies a realm of unfiltered truths and a terrain often seen as desolate and unforgiving. It's a sanctuary for spiritual trials, a place where solitude and challenges are embraced. Across diverse faiths, it's a place for seekers, a realm for forging a deeper bond with the divine through introspection, an odyssey to unearth profound purpose, and a crucible for spiritual refinement. It is a process of soul-purification and a reaffirmation of unwavering devotion.

 

This arid expanse is a catalyst for spiritual evolution, a theater for self-discovery, and a battleground where divine intent prevails. Just as those who emerge from this crucible of self find a heightened sense of mission. The desert, if you manage to become one with it, leaves you with a revitalized comprehension of self and great insights into your role in the grand tapestry of existence.

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Can I survive Burning Man without being part of a camp? 

This was the first question that crossed my mind after securing my ticket.

I would say that more than 90% of the people there are part of a camp.

Seems smart to do that, I mean: You are going to a fucking hard desert in the middle of nowhere!

But being the way I am, I opted for the less traveled path: Camping Alone...

There must have been hundreds of camps, each with their unique principles and practices. I could see the appeal in all of them. How was I supposed to choose? What was the right approach? It could get a tad overwhelming...
 

Then, quite unexpectedly, I arrived at the most fitting answer:
Go in a solo adventure! Do it your way!
This inner revelation came to me once I was already there.

I had a prearranged conversation with a camp, quite a last-minute thing. Their response wasn't entirely decisive, so I was planning to approach them on-site. Yet, somehow, the desert seemed to communicate with me upon my arrival: Just do it alone... and damn it! Going this route was absolutely incredible.

Don't join a camp just for the sake of joining. It's merely your default survival instinct trying to provide a sense of security and perhaps alleviate loneliness. As a first-timer at Burning Man, I cherished what I did: Embracing extreme self-reliance and camping alone.

Let's get brutally honest here, in those initial moments when I found myself alone in the most desolate corner of the city,

with what might as well have been the tiniest tent in Burning Man history, chills coursed through my body.

I thought to myself: "Well, I'm absolutely screwed!"

But, as always, fortune favors the bold!

After taking a few minutes to ground myself laughing at my own disgrace (seriously, I struggled to set up that goddamn tent in such a wild wind), the universe intervened ✨

I began to meet fellow solo adventurers in our aloneborhood, and things started to flow :) 

With that said about my solo experience: Just now that I've had a first-hand experience meeting the camps and the people involved, I have a clear idea of which camps I will fit into better and which type of crusade I want to get involved in.
I'm sure that joining a camp is a marvelous experience if you really know where you are going,

so I will consider this option for my next Burn.

my absolute fav camp: 

The happenings here were straight out of a cosmic dream. The Gold Party, headlined by the likes of Lemurian, Isaiah Martin, Guy Laliberte, and Nico Stojan, with special appearances by Snow Raven and Allen Husley, painted a night of unparalleled ecstasy. Undoubtedly, it stands as the crowning jewel of my life's partying escapades, and easily my standout night of Burning Man 2023.

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Burning Man Essentials: A First-Timer's Survival Guide​
- From Default World to Playa -

I have to admit, I'm not exactly a camping enthusiast, and I had zero experience in this particular context. However, I made some mistakes, so I'm sharing practical insights for people like me.

  1. Plane Tickets: I arrived in San Francisco, where the Burning Man culture was incredibly vibrant! Exploring places like Valencia St. or Haight St. was an amazing experience. But! If you want to save time and money, just fly directly to Reno.
     

  2. Bike: Alright, let's talk wheels, because hoofing it ain't an option! With the Playa stretching to the horizon, a bike is your golden ticket. But here's the scoop: pimp your ride! Trust me, finding your steed in this sea of wheels is an adventure of its own. And let's not even talk about basic lock codes - my friend's bike made a vanishing act! Moral of the story? '0000' ain't the one. Learn from our laughable lapse in judgment! And if you're not a DIY bike stylist, hit up the bike-centric camps. Those gearheads are legit wizards! 🚴‍♂️✨
     

  3. Personal Care: Let's get down to the nitty-gritty of desert survival! First off, showers are a mirage, my friend. Enter the wet wipes realm, especially those legendary Dude Wipes! I  can recommend! Skin cream is your desert wingman, 'cause that dry spell ain't no joke. Keep those lips luscious with a trusty lip balm (bring 2 or 3 cuz´ if you lose it, you are fucked...  No kisses for you). Keep Hand sanitizer always by your side.
    And here's the kicker – shampoo? Nah, let the Playa dust work its magic!
    I swear, my hair had more volume than a punk concert. Total game-changer! So, ditch the shampoo and embrace the dusty 'do. And last but not least, slather on that
    sun
    screen like your life depends on it. Trust me, it does! ☀️😎
     

  4. Proper Bag: Ah, the quest for the perfect bag! Picture this: you're zipping around, phone, scarf, notebook, event book, etc. all packed tighter than a sardine can. Well, guess what? My phone decided it wanted a taste of the Playa too! It made a break for it during a bumpy night ride and ended up in the middle of nowhere. Crazy luck of mine, some kind soul stumbled upon it and gave it back in the lost and found some days after. Talk about a miraculous comeback! Take it from me, secure your stuff or risk a wild desert adventure for your belongings. A shoulder holster bag might just be the ticket! 🕶️🎒
     

  5. Clothes: let's talk gear! Boots have become my new best friends. I've always been a Nike person and never really bothered with boots. I even trekked the Himalayas in my Nikes. But then, I happened upon a pair of boots, and let me tell you, they completely changed the game! 🥾✨ A bandana for the dust and a fluffy coat for those chilly nights are absolute must-haves. And don't even think about skimping on sandstorm goggles – trust me. Now, let's get to the fashion show! Radical self-expression starts with your outfit. If you're jet-setting with your Burning Man stash, consider checking a bag. Sure, the shops on-site have some jaw-dropping goodies, but they also have jaw-dropping prices! If your wallet's up for it, go wild.
    If not, plan ahead! 

     

  6. Food: Let's talk survival in the tent! The desert heat is no joke, it turned my bread and fruits into mummies! But hey, desperate times call for hilarious measures. Channeling my inner Siddhartha, I turned this culinary catastrophe into a fasting fiesta! For real sustenance, it was all about protein cookies, granola bars, tuna (the real MVP), and, of course, water to wash down the struggle. Oh, and let's not forget the omega-3 deluxe mix I found in the sale supermarket in Reno: a boujee blend of cranberries, walnuts, almonds, pecans, and pistachios.
    Camps came in clutch with smoothies and tiny food portions.
    Bring with you a Cup and a bottle - you're about to receive divine hydration from the various camps. Massive Shoutout to the camp angels for everything from life-saving liquids to bbq surprises! You all rock the playa! 🍔🌵🥤
    Love you all guys!

IMPORTANT: Keep in mind that one of the principles of Burning Man is Giving.
Add to your list what you're planning to offer :)

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Best hair volume
I've ever had!

Okay, so you've got your ticket, your bag, and your trusty bicycle. You're basically a one-person circus, ready to roll, so: 
How on earth are you making your grand entrance to Black Rock City?

Alright, so, from San Francisco, it's like a 7-hour ride. From Reno, it's about 2 hours, and from L.A... hold on a sec! What the fuck are you doing in L.A? That's a serious haul! Your options are:
 

  • Burner Bus: It's a thing, but not the coolest. It's a practical choice if you're flying in from abroad or going solo. Pricey, though. Around 170 bucks one way from San Francisco plus an extra 130 for your bike, and of course, there are taxes. And let's not even talk about the early morning bus line shenanigans in San Fran.
     

  • Rent a Car or an RV: Now we're talking! Total freedom, plus you can do a bit of sightseeing along the way. And bonus, you get extra storage space. Just remember, there was an additional $150 ticket fee for your ride to enter the Black Rock City in 2023.
     

  • Find a Ride: You can hit up the Burning Man website or check out some Facebook groups. You'd be amazed how the travel gods sometimes smile upon you, and that's how I've rolled in and out of Burning Man. Cheers to the cosmic rideshare I had!

riding with a stranger: my experience (it was super dope)

 

Once again, destiny played a nice card. Just days before the Burn, I found myself drowning in messages and group plans. It was overwhelming, to say the least. With only a few days left, my chances were looking pretty slim.

Just when I was about to settle for a Burner Bus ticket, a miracle landed in my Instagram DMs.

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"Thank you, Universe!" I thought, having traveled all the way from Barcelona without really figuring out the finer points. Alicia, my newfound hero, not only gave me a ride but went the extra mile by picking me up at my place in San Francisco, accompanied by her delightful four-legged co-pilot. 

When I offered to contribute for the ride, Alicia's response was pure Burner gold:
"I've received so much from this experience lately... you don't have to give me anything. I'm just happy to give back."
She is just a Cosmic OG!

We hopped into Alicia's RV and hit the road. It was a blast! We made a quick stop at a beautiful spot near Lake Tahoe, did some shopping in Reno, and had a total blast together. It felt like we'd known each other forever. It was the ideal way to kick off our Burning Man adventure! 🚌✨

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After a three-hour ride from Reno, there it was - the gates of Burning Man!

It was a surreal dream come true! 😱

What goes on inside Black Rock City?

Having ventured far and wide, indulging in surreal experiences on a regular basis, nothing quite rivals the majesty of Burning Man. It's just the pinnacle of the human journey with any doubt.
 

Just when we thought we had the party of the century,

the heavens opened up. Rain at Burning Man?
Life's a bit like a comedy show... One minute you're riding high, next minute you're swallowing dust (or mud?).

I experienced the full spectrum of human emotions.

 

I left Burning Man inspired as fuck, stronger, happy as hell, wiser, grateful in crazy levels and with a gang of new amazing friends.

 

In love with life as always, but even a bit more. In love with the process, rain or rainbow, always with a Positive Mindset and a Samurai Spirit.

TTrying to put this experience into words? Impossible. It's something one must experience firsthand.

 

On the very first day, I lost my phone amidst the sands of the deep playa, so photos were sparse. Miraculously, it found its way back to me on the final day, a touch of pure magic to conclude this extraordinary experience.

Here are some cherished encounters from some of my favorite spots, some pics are from my GoPro and others from some dope photographers. 

my fav artcar: Luna art car

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