What do you wish you knew before your first time? 2015

Questions, answers, tips & tricks for newbies and veterans alike
Post Reply
Ano
Posts: 538
Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2011 10:04 pm
Burning Since: 2011
Camp Name: Everlasting Fuck-you's

What do you wish you knew before your first time? 2015

Post by Ano » Fri Jul 24, 2015 12:41 am

Lots of virgins, just like every year. Always exciting, around this time, when you can start to feel the staccato panicked typing through the various forums of people realizing they need to plan the hell out of this crazy desert thing.

So, I figure, those of us who have been more than zero times, could put forth some tips/ideas for those who have never been before. Things you wish you knew before you got out there...

The most important thing I've learned is that it isn't a damn race. There's no reason to sprint through every day, trying to see and do as many things as possible... 'cause you'll never get it all done. FOMO is a bitch out there, and it is best to stomp it out immediately. I always take one day and one night to really just do absolutely nothing but lounge around camp, eat, have a bit of beer, and relax myself. It isn't a race, so there is no reason to go crazy for seven+ days out there. I'll never see it all. Hell, in 2011, I never saw El Pulpo Mechanico, not once, and that thing was the talk of the post-burn town in 2011. Everyone apparently saw it... but me. No biggie. I saw other things.

What do you wish you knew before you hit the dust for the first time?

[Mod note: we've done a thread like this in the past, but they've grown many pages long & scary for newbies to dive into. A fresh (and shorter) version is easier to digest, so I'm not merging this with existing threads. - Eric]

User avatar
tamarakay
Posts: 3115
Joined: Fri Oct 22, 2010 6:27 pm
Burning Since: 2011
Camp Name: Dye with Dignity
Location: Texas
Contact:

Re: What do you wish you knew before your first time?

Post by tamarakay » Fri Jul 24, 2015 6:14 am

I wish I had known that this would be the only vacation I can get my husband to go on ever again. I would have done Hawaii or Europe first. THEN settled into burning every year.

Gatorade sucks, get vitalyte. We drink a glass every morning with our coffee and then as needed during the day. If it tastes good you waited too long to drink it.
When the only tool you got is a hammer, every problem looks like a hippie.

Mmmmmm I love the smell of Burning Man - Token

Getting overly dramatic about the ticket sale process is so 2012. - Maladroit


http://www.dyewithdignity.com

User avatar
SageV
Posts: 183
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 7:39 pm
Burning Since: 1999
Location: I live in a suitcase

Re: What do you wish you knew before your first time?

Post by SageV » Fri Jul 24, 2015 7:02 am

First day, drink lots of water and don't overexert, plan to lounge around and acclimate in someone else's shade. Maybe even go to *gasp* center camp.

My first burn back in 1999 was hell on earth the first day as I tried to do and see everything in this wonderful new world I'd found and ignored my body and I paid for it in heat frustration. I lied there in my tent, unable to move, baking thinking this was the worst mistake ever, when some fellow hippies picked me up, dusted me off, nursed me back to health and made me part of their camp. I stuck with them for another five years. Still, I don't recommend putting yourself through a crucible as a way to meet new people.
"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."
-- Hunter S. Thompson

User avatar
Token
Posts: 4572
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2003 2:55 pm
Burning Since: 2001
Location: Gold Country, CA

Re: What do you wish you knew before your first time?

Post by Token » Fri Jul 24, 2015 8:13 am

If you go, you like it, and you return the following year...



Congratulations! You are a cult member.

User avatar
Sham
Moderator
Posts: 8496
Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2008 2:10 am
Location: The hidden mythical place.....

Re: What do you wish you knew before your first time?

Post by Sham » Fri Jul 24, 2015 8:15 am

The first year, come with an open mind and DON'T try to create massive art or attempt to make things to gift to everyone. Read as much as you can, then come and enjoy the city. You can participate by helping others with setting up tents and shade etc.

Your second year, you will have a much better feel for things and can hit the ground running!

User avatar
some seeing eye
Posts: 3174
Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2008 12:06 pm
Burning Since: 1999
Camp Name: Woo
Location: The Oregon

Re: What do you wish you knew before your first time?

Post by some seeing eye » Fri Jul 24, 2015 8:25 am

I think there is another thread like this, combine?

Bring a small notebook and a few writing implements to write down some of your experiences and to gather names and contact info of people you would like to keep in touch with. Mobile devices and connections are not always reliable, so few apps work and typing on them breaks the moment.

Make sure all your clothing can be washed in a washing machine. Leather footwear will never be able to be worn to anything but burner parties after it returns from the playa.
Last edited by some seeing eye on Fri Jul 24, 2015 8:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
increasing the signal to noise ratio with compassion

User avatar
BeeWeeDee
Posts: 415
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:57 pm
Burning Since: 2012
Location: rural wyoming

Re: What do you wish you knew before your first time?

Post by BeeWeeDee » Fri Jul 24, 2015 8:27 am

You will not eat as many planned meals as you think.

I end up with way more food and still I over estimate. Still it is better to have too much and gift the excess.
The next morning you will wake up pretty much your old self except that a very unusual 16 hours will have been added to your store of life experience.

User avatar
pretty_monster
Posts: 125
Joined: Sun Jul 25, 2010 7:50 am
Burning Since: 2010
Location: phoenix, az

Re: What do you wish you knew before your first time?

Post by pretty_monster » Fri Jul 24, 2015 9:17 am

that this is not "camping + costumes".

yes, you live in a tent. yes, you get to dress up. but...

all of my previous camping experience was about the simple joy of building a camp & a fire & lazing about & cooking under the stars & generally slowing down every day tasks because you have aaaaaall the time in the world. burning man is about setting up your shit and then going out to explore a giant fucking city ASAP. there are much better things to be doing than cooking big meals and washing lots of dishes and keeping your tent swept out.

all of my previous costume/cosplay stuff had all been created under the directive of "the bigger, the better". bigger is NOT better in 70mph winds and white out dust storms. long flowy skirts are a nightmare on a bike and a 3 foot tall hat will have to be welded to your head to not be blown away. i've learned that "dressing up" on the palya is, for me, about dressing the way i'd dress every single day is defaultia didn't have the rules & expectations it does. i'm being my authentic self, not a fictional character.
1) radical self reliance
2) piss clear
3) safety third
4) leave no trace

User avatar
Dr. Pyro
Posts: 4716
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2003 8:11 am
Burning Since: 1999
Camp Name: Barbie Death Camp & Wine Bistro
Location: Meadow Vista, CA
Contact:

Re: What do you wish you knew before your first time?

Post by Dr. Pyro » Fri Jul 24, 2015 9:22 am

I never imagined how noisy of a place BRC is. I wish I had earplugs my first year. The oomp-oomp-oomp of EDM and dubstep and psytrance gets really annoying after several days of not sleeping.

User avatar
TT120
Posts: 1760
Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:43 pm
Burning Since: 2012
Camp Name: Orphans TOO!
Location: Sacramento, CA.
Contact:

Re: What do you wish you knew before your first time?

Post by TT120 » Fri Jul 24, 2015 9:48 am

I wish I had brought chapstik and hand lotion my first time. My hands and lips were cracked and thrashed by the second day and I was miserable. I never thought to ask my neighbors for any of that so I just suffered.
Life's a bitch, then you go to Burning Man - Unjonharley
We welcome the stranger, but that doesn't mean we have to like them, nor they us, and that's alright. - AntiM

W6BJD

User avatar
Drawingablank
Posts: 2595
Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 8:46 pm
Camp Name: Barbie Death Camp
Location: NY
Contact:

Re: What do you wish you knew before your first time?

Post by Drawingablank » Fri Jul 24, 2015 12:20 pm

1. Comfy broken in shoes, spare shoes, backup shoes, backups for your backup shoes.

2. Keep your hands out of your cooler water as much as possible or you will end up with cracked, bleeding alligator skin after a few days.

3. I second the ear plugs, but I just wear them for hearing protection at sound camps. That ooontz of EDM is the best lullaby on earth for me so I don't need them to sleep.

4. Eating a few vinegar brined pickles or drinking picklebacks every morning will help you avoid losing your voice.
Last edited by Drawingablank on Fri Jul 24, 2015 12:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Savannah: I don't know what it is, but no thread here escapes alive. You'll get 1 or 2 real answers at minimum, occasionally 10 or 12, and then we flog it until it's unrecognizable and you can't get your deposit back.

Yet Another Crappy Birgin Guide

User avatar
FIGJAM
Posts: 10236
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 10:39 am
Location: apache junction az.

Re: What do you wish you knew before your first time?

Post by FIGJAM » Fri Jul 24, 2015 12:24 pm

Re: "What do you wish you knew before your first time?"

............................................












I got nothing. 8)
"Don't buy ur Burn...........Build ur Burn!"

"If I can't find an answer, I'll create one!!!"

Fuck Im Good Just Ask Me

User avatar
Canoe
Posts: 3747
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:01 pm

Re: What do you wish you knew before your first time?

Post by Canoe » Fri Jul 24, 2015 3:07 pm

tamarakay wrote:...Gatorade sucks, get vitalyte. We drink a glass every morning with our coffee and then as needed during the day. If it tastes good you waited too long to drink it.
+100 on Gatorade sucks.
Sqwencher works well too. Industrial version of Gatorade for working in hot environments. 50% less sodium, 50% more potassium. Tastes good if you mix it right; tastes bad if you don't add enough water. In liquid concentrate or powder. Powder is cheaper; mixes easy & fast.

And for all virgins:

READ the Survival Guide. Really.
Really really.
survival-guide - Guide, hot.jpg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Video games are giving kids unrealistic expectations on how many swords they can carry.
.
... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.

User avatar
Eric
Moderator
Posts: 9358
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2003 9:45 pm
Burning Since: 2003
Camp Name: BRC Weekly
Contact:

Re: What do you wish you knew before your first time? 2015

Post by Eric » Fri Jul 24, 2015 4:21 pm

While this has been covered before, a short thread is easier for someone new to read, and they're more likely to read it, so I'm, not merging it.
Here's links to the existing ones for more information for those who really want to learn:
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=34770
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=67493
It's a camping trip in the desert, not the redemption of the fallen world - Cryptofishist

Regarding Scammers & Scalpers
Please read above link for all official information.

Eric ShutterSlut
Ass't Editor, BRC Weekly

User avatar
AntiM
Moderator
Posts: 20203
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2004 5:23 am
Burning Since: 2001
Camp Name: Anti M's Home for Wayward Art
Location: Wild, Wild West
Contact:

Re: What do you wish you knew before your first time?

Post by AntiM » Fri Jul 31, 2015 4:27 am

TT120 wrote:I wish I had brought chapstik and hand lotion my first time. My hands and lips were cracked and thrashed by the second day and I was miserable. I never thought to ask my neighbors for any of that so I just suffered.
There is a tiny camp on the edge of Hushville which offers "comfort" items such as lip balm, lotions, and sunblock, and other items. Please don't suffer, newbies!

User avatar
misterdj
Posts: 31
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2011 12:25 pm
Location: New York City
Contact:

Re: What do you wish you knew before your first time? 2015

Post by misterdj » Fri Jul 31, 2015 8:12 am

Coconut water is a life saver.

User avatar
hug+kiss
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Jan 27, 2015 11:54 am
Burning Since: 2012
Camp Name: Destiny Lounge
Location: Los Angeles

Re: What do you wish you knew before your first time? 2015

Post by hug+kiss » Fri Jul 31, 2015 11:37 pm

I have to say boots, comfortable boots.

While prepping for my first trip all I saw was people wearing boots, short and tall. I thought it was a fashion trend. Growing up in Vegas I thought the last thing I would want in the desert were hot sweaty boots. Well I was wrong. My cute, cool shoes caused my to start the process of losing my big toenail. It took a year for that souviner to grow back. Next years was only broken in boots for me. I think it was the kickstand on my bike that did me in.

User avatar
louisacrystal
Posts: 41
Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2013 12:08 am
Burning Since: 2000

Re: What do you wish you knew before your first time? 2015

Post by louisacrystal » Sat Aug 01, 2015 7:15 am

That having a emotional breakdown is part of the experience. Look at the difficult times as a gift of growth. It took me 5 years on the Playa to learn this. Everything in your outside life is magnified when you get out on the Playa. I finally understood this my 5th year after bringing my husband with me for his first time and he freaked out! Seeing it from a different perspective was so awesome! I finally understood.
I have gone out to find myself. If I get back before I return, Please keep me here until I get back. Thank you!

User avatar
BoyScoutGirl
Posts: 1643
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2012 2:04 pm
Camp Name: Lamplighters!
Location: SD, CA

Re: What do you wish you knew before your first time? 2015

Post by BoyScoutGirl » Sat Aug 01, 2015 1:40 pm

Stop watching videos and browsing photos, they build up expectations.

Focus instead on survival and basic comfort.
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

[jim]
Posts: 38
Joined: Sun Aug 10, 2014 11:05 am
Burning Since: 2009

Re: What do you wish you knew before your first time? 2015

Post by [jim] » Sat Aug 01, 2015 2:41 pm

I wish I knew I would end up not visiting all (any?) of the cool camps and art projects I read about before arriving.

but this happens to me every year. :cry:

Oh, and YMMV, but don't walk around barefoot or in sandals. or any open-toed footwear.

User avatar
whimsicaltoast
Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2015 1:44 pm
Burning Since: 2013
Camp Name: Time Colony

Re: What do you wish you knew before your first time? 2015

Post by whimsicaltoast » Sat Aug 08, 2015 4:28 am

...that there's cool things you can sign up ahead of time to volunteer for and it's super fun. If you missed the signups you can also sometimes walk-in. Lamplighting is super cool and doesn't require signing up ahead of time. :)

User avatar
heikediguoren
Posts: 28
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2007 6:09 pm

Re: What do you wish you knew before your first time? 2015

Post by heikediguoren » Mon Aug 17, 2015 2:54 pm

Nothing before my first time--that was picture-perfect.

Before my _third_ time, I wish I'd known this vital, essential, truly necessary fact:

If you did something foolish like damaging your leg jumping off an art installation as part of your "super Thunderdome warrior training session" (as a purely hypothetical example that in no way reflects my personal experience because of course I would never do something so ill-advised), LEAVE YOUR BOOT ON until a for-real doctor (not just a cracked-out random medic in Rampart at 6am who incorrectly diagnoses your injury) gets a chance to look at it. If you take it off, and you have in fact suffered a spiral fracture of your left fibula (again, total thought experiment here), your foot will swell up like a terrified pufferfish, and you will be much less mobile then if you had just left the boot on and will need to depend on mutant vehicles to cart you around for the remainder of the festival.

User avatar
Major Krash
Posts: 513
Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2011 2:55 pm
Burning Since: 2001
Camp Name: Sideshow
Location: just off the Oregon Trail

Re: What do you wish you knew before your first time? 2015

Post by Major Krash » Mon Aug 17, 2015 3:01 pm

dill pickels
"If you don't think too good, don't think too much" Ted Williams

User avatar
Hope-a-Lope
Posts: 130
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2014 4:47 pm
Burning Since: 2013
Camp Name: Big Puffy Yellow
Location: Brooklyn

Re: What do you wish you knew before your first time? 2015

Post by Hope-a-Lope » Mon Aug 17, 2015 3:10 pm

Be mentally prepared to strike out on your own at any given time.

Waking up on Tuesday morning to find my whole camp already out for the day was jarring. That day I learned that people won't often wait for you, and it's ok. Solo adventures are part of the experience.

User avatar
MyDearFriend
Posts: 3760
Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2010 5:22 am
Burning Since: 2011
Camp Name: Barbie Death Camp THIRTEENTH BARBIE
Location: Washington, DC

Re: What do you wish you knew before your first time? 2015

Post by MyDearFriend » Mon Aug 17, 2015 3:48 pm

Hope-a-Lope wrote:Be mentally prepared to strike out on your own at any given time.

Waking up on Tuesday morning to find my whole camp already out for the day was jarring. That day I learned that people won't often wait for you, and it's ok. Solo adventures are part of the experience.
This.


Go out by yourself instead of in a pack. Turn right or left as you please. Talk to anybody who seems interesting to you.


Be the you that can't be identified by a relationship to other people, the you that has no prescibed role, the you that is free.


The cage is in your mind, and the door is always open.


8) 8) 8) 8) 8) 8) 8) 8) 8) 8) 8) 8) 8)
"Burning Man ruined my life as I knew it, and I have never been happier." -mgb327

"BTW I'm not your wife so don't lie to me." -Ratty

User avatar
Popeye
Posts: 749
Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:39 pm
Burning Since: 2013
Camp Name: Beaverton
Location: Where the east wind blows

Re: What do you wish you knew before your first time? 2015

Post by Popeye » Mon Aug 17, 2015 4:06 pm

Electrolyes.
And not just one brand. My first year I relied on coconut milk but found out I couldn't stomach it on playa.
The first six bloody marys at the Sands where wonderful though. :D :D :twisted:
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?” Mary Oliver

User avatar
Elorrum
Posts: 5414
Joined: Sat Mar 15, 2008 9:09 pm
Burning Since: 2007
Camp Name: Baby fell in the Bucket
Location: Reno

Re: What do you wish you knew before your first time? 2015

Post by Elorrum » Mon Aug 17, 2015 6:07 pm

For a specific regret: Do not bring shoes that have cloth loops for eyelets (if you have lace up shoes) The friction from the dust will make it impossible and squeaky to tighten the laces, and cause you to rip up your hands.

Generally: Do not overly worry about where to camp (if you are not in a placed camp) There's lots of places, and it's spacious as you get away from the center of the city.
"Ask again later." - Magic 8-Ball

User avatar
islandkat
Posts: 40
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2013 9:39 pm
Burning Since: 2009
Camp Name: Storytelling Camp
Location: California

Re: What do you wish you knew before your first time? 2015

Post by islandkat » Tue Aug 18, 2015 12:29 pm

Tie down the hats or visors. Your arm will get tired to grabbing it.

Wish that first year I ditched the plastic-bags-holding-clothes-in-soft-duffles and instead had just gone with big plastic lidded tubs, the better go-to. Plus, you have an extra table surface with big tubs. Maybe smaller tubs inside the big one to hold the little things that sink to the bottom.

Baby wipes, a case of them, not just a pack of them, from the local big box store.... because the entire camp will use them.

Hand sanitizer on a carabiner hooked on your belt or small pack -- must have easy access hand sanitizer for after-porta-potty.

*Plenty* of water when going to deep Playa, probably 2L or more. Being thirsty sucks. A small pack to carry extra water to deep Playa...

Calculate enough water for a couple short solar showers each person, in addition to drinking / cooking / tooth brushing water. So yeah, more water, again.

A wagon for the ice runs, or a way to tie the slippery bags to your bike.
And a lock for the bike. Having it stolen - accidental or not -- really sucks, we've been there. The Playa and BRC is a vast vast place.

And: Best footwear are indeed boots, ankle high, to prevent all the ankle bashing cheap bike scrapes and to prevent as much Playa dust sifting down to the toes.
But better than just boots: Boots with easy-on and easy-off zippers, so you can jump in and out of camp structures and leave the Playa dust outside.

maladroit
Posts: 2374
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:37 pm
Burning Since: 2012

Re: What do you wish you knew before your first time? 2015

Post by maladroit » Tue Aug 18, 2015 2:49 pm

islandkat wrote:Hand sanitizer on a carabiner hooked on your belt or small pack -- must have easy access hand sanitizer for after-porta-potty.

A wagon for the ice runs, or a way to tie the slippery bags to your bike.
And a lock for the bike. Having it stolen - accidental or not -- really sucks, we've been there. The Playa and BRC is a vast vast place.

But better than just boots: Boots with easy-on and easy-off zippers, so you can jump in and out of camp structures and leave the Playa dust outside.
Yes to these items. A lot of people claim that zippers are a horrible idea on the playa, but I just brush mine off a little in the morning, maybe apply some oil, and they're super convenient.

Post Reply

Return to “Q & A Tips and Tricks”