Erica Kuschel a RoamRight Blog Author

Burning Man 101 – Beginner’s Guide to America’s Strangest Festival

The Burning Man Festival is a unique experience that takes place in the desert each year.

Dusty, hot, and dry as a bone. This isn’t a location you would think a vibrant, art-filled, 24-hour city would come to life and then die, all within a few weeks. During the week in the desert, you, the participant, make the experience what you want it to be. There are workshops, art, music, relaxation, fire dancing, hooping, lasers, bubbles, old people, young people, and kids. Everyone comes together for 7 crazy days in the Black Rock Desert.

The Burning Man Festival is a unique experience that takes place in the desert each year.To gain a general understanding of what to expect, there are 10 Principles that are the core of the Burning Manexperience.

  1. Radical Inclusion: Everyone is not just invited, but encouraged to take part in Burning Man. The more the merrier.
  2. Gifting: Gift giving is central to the BM experience. Whether it be massages, bacon, hugs, or bracelets, we in turn give a bit of ourselves to strangers that will become friends.
  3. Decommodification: There are no brand names, no advertisements, and no items for sale while in Black Rock City. This not only preserves the act of giving, but protects the Burning Man culture from the idea of consumption as a way of life.
  4. Radical Self Reliance: You rely on yourself and yourself alone. You bring in all your supplies, you learn to deal with the elements, and it is up to you to make your experience great.
  5. Radical Self Expression: Be who you are without judgment from the Burning Man community. Want to wear a tutu? Want to dress as a polar bear with a top hat? Think of your self-expression as a gift to Burning Man. You are not only being true to yourself but are adding a specific element to the festival.
  6. Communal Effort: The city itself would not exist without cooperation and collaboration. Volunteering and art are vital components of Burning Man.
  7. Civic Responsibility: Look out for your neighbors and make sure they are following the “laws” of Burning Man. Make sure they are healthy and grab help if anything is going wrong.
  8. Leaving No Trace: Everything you pack in must go out, including gray water. Nothing must touch the ground and we leave the Black Rock Desert the way we found it, pristine.
  9. Participation: No voyeurs allowed! Participation is vital to making the experience for everyone. Work, play, make art, explore, make friends, and see the sunrise. Deep, transformative change can only occur when you go into it wholeheartedly.
  10. Immediacy: Be in the moment. Be yourself. Love your community. Dictionary.comdefines the philosophy as: “immediate presence of an object of knowledge to the mind, without any distortions, inferences, or interpretations, and without involvement of any intermediate agencies.”

Welcome to Black Rock City; Home to 50,000 citizens for one week a year. One of the best moments each Burner looks forward to is the familiar shout of, “Welcome home!” because, after this experience, it is one of the truest homes you will have.

The Burning Man Festival is a unique experience that takes place in the desert each year.

Have you wanted to check out Burning Man?

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About the Author

Erica Kuschel

Erica Kuschel, a RoamRight Blog Author Erica Kuschel is half of the duo at the adventure travel site, OverYonderlust.com. Erica traded her ‘normal’ existence in Austin, Texas for a life of new experiences around the world. Erica, who is a photographer by trade, likes to view the world through her lens.

Erica started Over Yonderlust in March of 2010, showcasing couple travel while maintaining a strong focus on photography, humor, videos, and writing with a trusted voice. She has been seen in publications such as The Huffington Post, The Chicago Tribune, BBC, and The National Geographic Channel’s online blog. Erica has been a finalist two years running for the Bloggies (in both travel and photography categories) and taking home Hostelbookers Most Epic Photography Blog Award in November of 2012.

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