- One must be a fox in order to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten off wolves. Machiavelli Niccolo
Go to Burning Man, USA
Do you embrace the beauty of the desert landscape with its amazing sunrises and sunsets? Do you envision starry skies at night and beautiful Georgia O’Keefe paintings?
Or will the heat and dry arid climate turn you off? It’s going to be pretty hot during the day and then cool way down at night. Global warming isn’t your friend in the desert in late summer.
Black Rock City also isn’t exactly the easiest place to get to. It’s over 100 miles from the closest city, Reno. With over 60,000 participants driving on a two-lane rural highway, it’s gonna be hot and crowded trek.
For some, this is part of the appeal – it’s an adventure and a journey. For others, driving for hours in the desert is just not their idea of a good time.
Dust, Dirt & Grime
Since you’re in the desert, you have to be prepared for lots of dust, dirt, and sand. The dust storms can be pretty intense, so you’re advised to bring goggles and two extra sets of contacts.
You’ll probably also be in a perpetual state of dirtiness for the whole week since running water and showers will be scarce. Are you ok with being caked in dust for a week? And of course, the only facilities are porta-potties.
For some folks, like myself, it’s fun to get a little dirty and dusty once in awhile. Wearing goggle in the desert is just like being in Mad Max, right?
Are you a costume person? Is your favorite time of year Halloween when you get to dress up in something crazy, sexy, or off-the-wall?
Or do you think costumes are silly and a waste of time?
If you’re a costume person, then you’re going to love that aspect of Burning Man. You can dress up in feathers, glitter, tin-foil, spandex, body paint, or even nothing at all, which leads me to…
How are you with public nudity? Are you a “naked person,” feeling comfortable both being naked in front of others and seeing others naked? Personally, I have no problem with nudity as long as you’re someplace where everyone is on board and are accepting of it (so not at church or in the workplace).
That said, I know a lot of people who just would prefer not to see other people naked and have no desire to be naked in front of strangers. Burning Man is probably not high on their list of places to go.
There are also some sexual aspects to the festival. For example, there’s an “Orgy Dome,” where people can go inside (with a partner only) and have sex with and around other people. While this is obviously an optional activity, you have to be okay with being around some different highly charged sexual activities.
Self-Discovery / Self-Exploration
Are you interested in self-discovery and self-exploration? For some, this is one of the most intriguing aspects of Burning Man—a chance to delve into one’s own psyche, emotions, thoughts, fears, and desires outside of the “Default World.” People get so busy in their daily lives that they never take the time to focus on their inner world.
For others, they did their self-exploration in college and don’t have a deep need to work on it anymore.
Partying & Drugs
Some Burners may get their self-exploration chemically rather than naturally.
There is the opportunity to listen to music all night and partake in drugs like Ecstasy. Does this appeal to you? Maybe it’s an opportunity to do things you would never do in normal life.
Of course not everyone is at Burning Man for the party scene, and this aspect could be a real turnoff.
Just like the art, costumes, and events at Burning Man, there are a wide range of different types of people. You’ll find hipsters, techies, yogis, yuppies, hippies, and nerds.
The question is do you find these kinds of people interesting and exotic or smug and annoying? Some look at them as visionaries, creatives, and explorers, while others see self-indulgence and hypocrisy.
For many people who live in San Francisco, the week of Burning Man is like a holiday where they get the city to themselves for a week.
The Sharing Economy
One of the main tenets of Burning Man is to share what you have with everyone. This harkens back to the hippie era of communal living and is the opposite of what we normally experience in our capitalistic society.
Are you cool with sharing everything with total strangers for a week, or would you prefer that everyone have and keep their own stuff?
Mind & Body Workshops
Are you into yoga, meditation, breath work, and other similar mind / body pursuits? If so, then you’ll find plenty of workshops, demos, and events to enjoy. There are workshops on knife throwing, improv, polyamory, spirit animal readings, body painting, you name it!
Do you look at these as opportunities to have fun, learn, and explore your boundaries? Or do you find these activities silly and too New-Agey for your liking?
Wild & Crazy Art
Burning Man is known for amazing massive artistic structures. You’ll see giant statues, domes, temples, cars, and vehicles all decked out in neon lights, fire throwing cannons, medieval sculptures, and any other material you can think of. And it all culminates with the actual burning man statue.
For many, this is the greatest appeal of Burning Man. However, you may prefer to see your art on a canvas in a museum rather than in the middle of the desert.