Luckily a few of my friends had attended Burning Man and while they couldn't prepare me for what would happen, they made sure I had all the equipment I needed. The festival is set in the Nevada Desert so the temperature and conditions are extreme. On top of that, there is no money at Burning Man so you have to be self sufficient and take everything you need with you. Hurricane Kristin, who gifted me the ticket runs a Theme Camp and she assured me that people would look out for me as I was a VIRGIN, haha sure, we'll go with that.
My BURNING MAN packing list:
- 5 litres of water per day (The desert is a dry place, 45 litres total!)
- 9 days of food
- Electrolytes (for rehydration)
- Head torch and body lights (So you don't get hit by a bicycle at night)
- Dust goggles (ski mask or army style)
- Dust mask (There are frequent dust storms)
- Bandana (Sometimes for sweat, sometimes for the dust)
- Wet wipes (no shower for 9 days!)
- Water bottle with carabiner
- Cup with handle and lid
- Sleeping Bag and warm clothing (can get to single figures overnight)
- Bike and bike lights (purchased at Walmart in US)
- Sun hat
- Sturdy boots
- Jandals/Thongs/Flipflops (depending where you're from!)
- Small backpack
- Tutu (I was informed everyone wears one on Tutu Tuesday)
- Random, crazy costume pieces
- Notebook and pen
- Something to gift
- A seriously open mind
I read all the blog posts I could and saw photos of people on bikes in the desert and incredible art sculptures. Even though I could see what it looked like I couldn't figure out what we were going to do for a week in the desert? On top of that, I was going in 2 days early to help set up Camp Anita Cocktail. In the days leading up to my departure I got sick. I pumped myself full of vitamins and vegetables hoping it would pass by the time I arrived.
Then there was the whole 'gifting' issue. What meaningful gift or usefull skill could I contribute to the community? It was about this moment that I regretted not learning how to walk on stilts, juggle fire or read palms. I spent an evening hoola hooping but I was nowhere near as good as I was when I was 7 years old.
Then an idea hit me. If you follow my #coffeecharacter hashtag on Instagram you'll know I love drawing and doodling. I went to the art shop and bought watercolour cardboard, cut the card into postcard size and printed Burning Man logos on the back. I figured lots of people would be giving things out at the festival whereas this was an opportunity to paint images of BM and send them to people in their homes. I titled them pARTicipation postcards and then the next morning I got on a plane.
Nerves set in. What the hell was I getting myself into?
NOTE: I am posting one link per week as I tell the Burning Man story post-by-post.
- BURNING MAN: Party or Pilgrimage?
- GETTING READY: What to pack and how to prepare
- OVERVIEW: What's it about, how does it work?
- LOGISTICS: Getting in, Getting Dusty!
- PEOPLE: Who goes to Burning Man?
- EMOTION: What does Burning man feel like?
- GIFTING: My creative Postcard Project
- DIARY: My day-by-day journal
- AFTER SHOCKS: What happens next?