One Piece of Advice for a Birgin

Questions, answers, tips & tricks for newbies and veterans alike
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ihaveteethh
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One Piece of Advice for a Birgin

Postby ihaveteethh » Wed Mar 26, 2014 2:04 pm

2014 will be my first time. I'm going with my friends who have a theme camp and this will be their 10th year going. I've been doing as much research as possible and try not to let it stress me out but I feel like nothing will really prepare me enough for the actual experience, which I'm fine with. I'm going for that, but of course going to the desert for a week is going to be crazy. I really suck at planning honestly so I think it's the only reason I'm really stressed out. But just wanted to say I'm a virgin and yes I'm doing my research. I love getting advice from veterans or even people who have just gone. If you had to give me one piece of advice, what would it be?
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Re: How Many Virgins Do Their Research???

Postby GreyCoyote » Wed Mar 26, 2014 2:30 pm

ihaveteethh wrote: If you had to give me one piece of advice, what would it be?


Brush your teeth, but don't ask to do it in the back of Doc's RV... :mrgreen:
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Re: How Many Virgins Do Their Research???

Postby Eric » Wed Mar 26, 2014 3:19 pm

ihaveteethh wrote:I've been doing as much research as possible and try not to let it stress me out but I feel like nothing will really prepare me enough for the actual experience, which I'm fine with.


and that is exactly the right way to go into this! Prepare for anything while trying not to place expectations on what that "anything" will be. Always remember - you could hate the event as much as you could love it, and that's okay.

I love getting advice from veterans or even people who have just gone. If you had to give me one piece of advice, what would it be?


Your post inspired me to "bump" two older threads (one from last year, one from 2011) on this very topic. They should give you some help:

The things I did right and things I wish I did right

One thing you learned on playa this year
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tahiti_treat
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Re: How Many Virgins Do Their Research???

Postby tahiti_treat » Wed Mar 26, 2014 3:56 pm

ihaveteethh wrote:If you had to give me one piece of advice, what would it be?


Scenario: You say "Hey, I'm going to check out the Thunderdome, anyone wanna come?" Mary and Bob say "Sure, just let me get ready". Mary is ready in 10 minutes, Bob takes longer. Mary decides to go say hi to the neighbours in the meantime. 10 minutes later, Bob is ready, but now Mary is missing. Also Gary has decided he wants to come too, but he just needs to put some lights on his vest. In the meantime, you and Bob go to find Mary. You find her 15 minutes later, 2 camps down. She's met two awesome folks who also want to come along, and they just have to go grab their packs and coats from the RV. 10 minutes later, your new friends are ready to go, so you head back to your camp to find Gary. He's having trouble getting his EL wire lit, and also Jennifer has decided that she wants to come too, but she has to go to the porta-potties first. And on and on and on and on. You can get stuck in this loop for hours.

Moral of the story: Don't spend too much time waiting around for your campmates. One or two big "family outings" during the week are nice, but if you really want to do something, just grab whoever's ready RIGHT THEN (or go by yourself) and go do it.

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Re: How Many Virgins Do Their Research???

Postby Fidget » Wed Mar 26, 2014 5:11 pm

Best advice I could give is endeavor to stay hydrated! Don't just drink your few glasses of water like you would any other day; slam that shit and lots of it! Last year we brought powdered gatorade and I made sure to have a bottle of it around that I could drink here and there to make sure I was in good shape. Dehydration can destroy your day and if you've been drinking, expect the worst hangover ever the next day due to it!

Also Tahti_treat: You pretty much summed up a couple camp experiences I had last year haha!

ihaveteethh wrote:2014 will be my first time. I'm going with my friends who have a theme camp and this will be their 10th year going. I've been doing as much research as possible and try not to let it stress me out but I feel like nothing will really prepare me enough for the actual experience, which I'm fine with. I'm going for that, but of course going to the desert for a week is going to be crazy. I really suck at planning honestly so I think it's the only reason I'm really stressed out. But just wanted to say I'm a virgin and yes I'm doing my research. I love getting advice from veterans or even people who have just gone. If you had to give me one piece of advice, what would it be?
Never rub another man's rhubarb.

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Re: How Many Virgins Do Their Research???

Postby Eric » Wed Mar 26, 2014 5:19 pm

tahiti_treat wrote:Scenario: You say "Hey, I'm going to check out the Thunderdome, anyone wanna come?" Mary and Bob say "Sure, just let me get ready". Mary is ready in 10 minutes, Bob takes longer. Mary decides to go say hi to the neighbours in the meantime. 10 minutes later, Bob is ready, but now Mary is missing. Also Gary has decided he wants to come too, but he just needs to put some lights on his vest. In the meantime, you and Bob go to find Mary. You find her 15 minutes later, 2 camps down. She's met two awesome folks who also want to come along, and they just have to go grab their packs and coats from the RV. 10 minutes later, your new friends are ready to go, so you head back to your camp to find Gary. He's having trouble getting his EL wire lit, and also Jennifer has decided that she wants to come too, but she has to go to the porta-potties first. And on and on and on and on. You can get stuck in this loop for hours.


We call that FAFFFing - Fucking Around For Fucking Forever. It's really easy to round up people in our camp for a planned excursion - "QUIT FAFFFing - we leave in 5 minutes". And then whoever is ready leaves in 5 minutes (or the stated time) - even if it's just one person. Works wonders, and usually 2 or 3 people at minimum make it.

[Note: I've split this off from the original topic, since it will be less buried this way]
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Re: One Piece of Advice for a Birgin

Postby BoyScoutGirl » Wed Mar 26, 2014 5:36 pm

Stop watching videos. Stop looking at photo albums. Yes, read the survival guide and first timers' guide. Yes, read these forums for practical survival and comfort advice. But endeavour to stop building up expectations of the "amazingness" of the burn.

It's easier said than done, but worthwhile, I think.
When he lights his streetlamp, it is as if he brought one more star to life, or one flower.
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That is a beautiful occupation.

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Re: One Piece of Advice for a Birgin

Postby A-RockLeFrench » Wed Mar 26, 2014 5:48 pm

My advice:

Talk to people! Don't be shy. It took me until Thursday my first year to realize that the "these people are way cooler than me and don't want to talk to me" story was just that, a story.

Don't be afraid to ask if you can have some, ride an art car, climb someones tower, pull the trigger on the flamethrower, use the zipline, etc. On the other hand respect boundaries if you get a 'no' and don't take it personally. Approximately 55,000 other people will probably say 'yes'.

Also: Ignore the assholes with the megaphones.

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Re: One Piece of Advice for a Birgin

Postby FIGJAM » Wed Mar 26, 2014 6:03 pm

Plan ur burn, then burn your plan!!!
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Re: One Piece of Advice for a Birgin

Postby Savannah » Wed Mar 26, 2014 6:17 pm

Have a Night Bag and a Day Bag with the desired contents written on the inside with a sharpie. Pack them both before you hit the playa. Restock every morning by looking at the sharpie'd list. Then you can grab your bag and go when you get an invitation. :)

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Re: One Piece of Advice for a Birgin

Postby robbidobbs » Wed Mar 26, 2014 6:34 pm

Keep a few zipties on your person at all times. You never know when you will see a crapped on pottie that nobody wants to see or sit on.
No shit. Do it. It weighs nothing.
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Re: One Piece of Advice for a Birgin

Postby Drawingablank » Wed Mar 26, 2014 8:44 pm

Shoes / boots - bring several styles, all broken in and comfy.

90% of all the discomfort I've suffered on the playa is due to footwear (or lack of it).

Switching off every day or two to a different pair seems to help a lot.

Having a slip on style is great for late night porto runs or lounging around camp. Plus, lacing stuff can be tough if your hands get dried out and cracked.

I bring at least 3 pairs of footwear now since I've had fairly new shoes disintegrate on day one leaving me with nothing but lace up boots for the week.
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Re: One Piece of Advice for a Birgin

Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Mar 26, 2014 8:46 pm

read that as:
Drawingablank wrote:Having a slip on style is great for late night porno runs
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Re: One Piece of Advice for a Birgin

Postby BBadger » Wed Mar 26, 2014 9:38 pm

So much good advice above. At least this isn't a "best" piece of advice thread. Here's mine:

Don't waste your time taking so many pictures unless it's capturing a truly exceptional moment (usually involving people not the art). You'll be able to show people "what you saw" via much better pictures on Flickr or other sites. Probably 95% of the pictures I've taken I didn't pay more than a 2-second glance after the fact. Put the camera away!

On another note, it'll probably be better to not show people what you saw if they're ever considering attending. Your greatest gift to a future burner is to not spoil the surprise or give them expectations.
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Re: One Piece of Advice for a Birgin

Postby BoyScoutGirl » Thu Mar 27, 2014 3:25 am

robbidobbs wrote:Keep a few zipties on your person at all times. You never know when you will see a crapped on pottie that nobody wants to see or sit on.
No shit. Do it. It weighs nothing.
RobbiDobbs
Chief Poopervisor of the Pottie Project


Wait - this is encouraged? Shielding the unexpecting from visual-fecal assault sounds like a great gift.

On my to-pack list for this year.
When he lights his streetlamp, it is as if he brought one more star to life, or one flower.
When he puts out his lamp, he sends the flower, or the star, to sleep.
That is a beautiful occupation.

- Le Petit Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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Re: One Piece of Advice for a Birgin

Postby ACfromSAC » Thu Mar 27, 2014 8:37 am

CARRY A CUP!

Edit: And an ID

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Re: One Piece of Advice for a Birgin

Postby Dr. Pyro » Thu Mar 27, 2014 8:43 am

Never ever hand a megaphone to a person high on shrooms.

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Re: One Piece of Advice for a Birgin

Postby tickle_shits » Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:14 am

first and foremost, read and re-read the survival guide. my first year, i over-prepared and it paid off handsomely. The one thing I wish i brought more of my first year was electrolyte water (or Gatorade)- when you are in those types of conditions you want something that hydrates and replenishes your body as much as possible. Coincidentally, I found that I didn't need to make as many trips to the port o johns (which is particularily beneficial when you are in deep playa, your bike is nowhere to be found, and you are a 20 minute walk from the nearest jot) :mrgreen:

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Re: One Piece of Advice for a Birgin

Postby digital » Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:39 am

BBadger wrote:Don't waste your time taking so many pictures unless it's capturing a truly exceptional moment (usually involving people not the art). You'll be able to show people "what you saw" via much better pictures on Flickr or other sites. Probably 95% of the pictures I've taken I didn't pay more than a 2-second glance after the fact. Put the camera away!

This. Quoted to reemphasize.

I see so many people spending so much time trying to capture that perfect shot yet missing the beauty in front of them because they are fumbling with a damn camera. I did this my first year as well. Turns out I haven't looked at a single picture since and the only pictures worth looking at came from other people. Remove the lens and soak up the raw experience. Truest me, it's so much better.

My tip:

Invest in making your sleeping area as comfortable as possible. Yes, you will be miserable at times. That misery, however, increases exponentially if you do not have a comfortable place to sleep. This means investing in the best air mattress you can find. Bring your favorite pillows. Down comforter (it gets COLD at night). Etc. Are you planning to stay in a tent? Consider the dust. Last year I did the tent inside a tent trick and it was amazing. A smaller tent inside a much larger tent with separate rooms allowed me to create a 'clean room' to enter and store my gear. By the end of the week there was hardy any Playa dust inside my sleeping tent. Contrast this with my first year where I would go back to camp at night and be greeted by a bed with an inch of Playa. Not fun.

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Re: One Piece of Advice for a Birgin

Postby kittyrodriguez » Thu Mar 27, 2014 5:00 pm

Dr. Pyro wrote:Never ever hand a megaphone to a person high on shrooms.


I disagree. This should be the only person allowed to have a megaphone... :twisted:

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Re: One Piece of Advice for a Birgin

Postby kittyrodriguez » Thu Mar 27, 2014 5:12 pm

My advice:

Don't neglect the far parts of the city. There is lots of awesome stuff that is not on 3, 6, or 9 o'clock and that is beyond A-D. Some of the best surprises are out there in the suburbs. I remember having some really delicious sauerkraut way out there. And if you really want to explore the city, volunteer to deliver mail. Its good exercise, you go to parts you might not have visited otherwise, and much hilarity ensues while trying to locate Camp "Ladybug von Banana"- fictional camp but not that far off from the real thing.

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Re: One Piece of Advice for a Birgin

Postby jcliff » Sat Apr 05, 2014 11:34 am

I would plan for some sleep. Burning Man really is a marathon. Naps are great for a short-term boost but they don't compare to a full night's sleep. With so many plans and options buzzing, it's sometimes hard to unplug and take a night off. Normally Wednesday I eat a good dinner in camp, forgo the cocktails, spend the evening cleaning up my living space and socializing with camp mates and then hit the hay about 10 pm. 8 hours sleep in the middle of the Burn feels amazing the day after.

Get good ear plugs. I use Mack's Pillow Soft plugs and they are amazing. They are soft and pliable. You warm up a ball of the wax and then they form to your ear. I hear nothing when they are in.

Get a pee jug. There is nothing worse for disrupting a night of sleep than to have to get on your shoes, find your light, and then stumble to a porta-jot. I use a Folgers's plastic coffee can. It has a nice wide circumference, perfect for the peeing ladies.

If you are tent dwelling, get a big sheet to cover your sleeping area when you leave in the morning. That way if we do get a dust storm during the day, you only have to carefully fold up the sheet to reveal your clean bed underneath. If you have a tent with lots of mesh windows, you can cut panels of nylon sheets and gorilla glue them over your mesh panels. It keeps the dust out, but be aware that your tent will bake once the sun gets going. Speaking of tents, one with a low profile to the wind will do better then a bigger one. I would suggest bringing a couple replacement poles in case you have one that snaps. Those little 6 inch tent stakes won't cut it on the playa. In most store camping sections you can find 12" stakes with an orange plastic top. Those you can hammer down flush with the playa and you won't have to worry about marking the stakes above ground. You also need to mark your tent guy lines. Someone falling on your tent ropes may cause injury and a rip in your tent.

I realize that you only asked for one piece of advice, but once I get going it's hard to stop! Welcome!

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Re: One Piece of Advice for a Birgin

Postby Bexx » Sat Apr 05, 2014 12:29 pm

Take a big bottle of water with you, some snax - tell at least one responsible campmate.. "Imna go explore" and do that. By yourself. Get on your bike if you have one (remember a cable n lock) if no bike, go hoof it. See the city on your own.

Don't take homemade edibles from strangers - unless you wanna gamble.

If someone tells you, "oh, you don't wanna go see [insert random thing here]" that means it's fucking awesome and you wanna see it.

Someone wants to hug, kiss, fondle you? And you don't wanna, or like it? Feel free to tell them No! And don't let them guilt you.
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Re: One Piece of Advice for a Birgin

Postby some seeing eye » Sat Apr 05, 2014 12:40 pm

Accept that BM is often emotionally stressful. Understand your stressors, and you will find new ones you did not know at the event. Understand how you address stress and do not hesitate to speak your needs or ask for assistance from people you trust. If you have traveled internationally with a partner in less developed countries it is a stress. If you are coming with a partner work out an expectation that you each are not your sole support network. Journaling daily or a few times a day is also good.
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Re: One Piece of Advice for a Birgin

Postby DrYes » Sat Apr 05, 2014 2:53 pm

some seeing eye wrote:Accept that BM is often emotionally stressful. Understand your stressors, and you will find new ones you did not know at the event. Understand how you address stress and do not hesitate to speak your needs or ask for assistance from people you trust. If you have traveled internationally with a partner in less developed countries it is a stress. If you are coming with a partner work out an expectation that you each are not your sole support network. Journaling daily or a few times a day is also good.


I've only been four times, granted (three times with a partner and friends, one time with friends). I'm not sure I've ever been anywhere that felt less stressful to me than Burning Man. It is a gloriously relaxing week of worrying about nothing but having a good time while surrounded by other people who are, barring a small minority of people actually working (portapotty servicers, LEOs, medical, rangers, etc), doing exactly the same thing as you!

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Re: One Piece of Advice for a Birgin

Postby Eric » Sat Apr 05, 2014 3:55 pm

Bexx wrote:Take a big bottle of water with you, some snax - tell at least one responsible campmate.. "Imna go explore" and do that. By yourself. Get on your bike if you have one (remember a cable n lock) if no bike, go hoof it. See the city on your own.


This.
I do it at least once every year, and I always find something great, and almost always have a lovely interaction with someone that I wouldn't have if I was with a group. We also try to get one group "backstreet tour" going on Weds or Thurs night with a couple members of my camp, and go slowly (very slowly) biking the streets beyond E. Stop at bars, chat with people near the street, look at cool art, have no destination.
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Re: One Piece of Advice for a Birgin

Postby Hope-a-Lope » Sun Apr 06, 2014 7:24 pm

In your travels, if you see something you want to do/try/drink/ride/climb on/dance to/take a picture of, stop and do it right then and there. Don't tell yourself "I'll come back to this later," because you won't.

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Re: One Piece of Advice for a Birgin

Postby Bexx » Sun Apr 06, 2014 8:10 pm

Hope-a-Lope wrote:In your travels, if you see something you want to do/try/drink/ride/climb on/dance to/take a picture of, stop and do it right then and there. Don't tell yourself "I'll come back to this later," because you won't.



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Re: One Piece of Advice for a Birgin

Postby Elorrum » Sun Apr 06, 2014 8:42 pm

Make sure your landmarks are not mutant vehicles. they move around.
Know your radial street landmarks on the esplanade. learn to read the street signs on the white pipes. Pound the water when you wake up, and before you leave camp.
Have all you need in a go kit, fix it in the morning. (day version, night version great advice Savannah!) keep it simple, and grab it and go! FAFFING (love this, Eric) with your go kit is NO fun, and can take soooo long if you aren't sober. if you aren't sure when you're coming back... put your battery light in there, and a light cooler weather layer. get in touch with your inner scout. You'll be so proud of yourself when something comes up, and you have your goggles, and bandana or dust mask.
Stow your stuff before you leave camp... everything you don't want covered with a layer of dust, and everything that can blow around and away (this is pretty much everything in the winds that can come along)
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Re: One Piece of Advice for a Birgin

Postby msj2u » Sun Apr 06, 2014 10:37 pm

Fill your gas tank in Fernley....you never know how long it will take to get in or out!!

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