First Timer Anticipation

Questions, answers, tips & tricks for newbies and veterans alike
articmoon
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First Timer Anticipation

Post by articmoon » Mon Mar 28, 2005 1:50 pm

This year is gonna be my very first burn. I was supposed to go last year but never made it. My husband has gone twice now and is excited I am able to make this year's event. I have never been to anything like this. I have studied this website so I know how to prepare for BM, but my husband is worried that I won't know how to react to the things that go one there. He said I should be very open-minded. I am sort of ok with what I have seen in his pictures and stuff. But is there any advice from past first timers. Is it possible to be too overwhelmed by it all? I am a shy person, but I know there is a wild side to me, just having a hard time coming out. But my curiosity is definitly gets the better of me. Thanks
>^,,^<

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sputnik
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Post by sputnik » Mon Mar 28, 2005 1:57 pm

Wow, first timer, shy, wild side. You should be OK. In fact, you'll probably want to watch out that you don't overdo it. That shy side could be completely repressed by your wild side. Watch the alcohol/drug intake unless you're a seasoned pro.

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theCryptofishist
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Post by theCryptofishist » Mon Mar 28, 2005 2:26 pm

In Pacifica you're close enough to make it to San Franciso for some event prior to the actual playa. Thsi could give you enough experience to help you gain your footing some.

Just a thought.
The Lady with a Lamprey

"The powerful are exploiting people, art and ideas, and this leads to us plebes debating how to best ration ice.
Man, no wonder they always win....." Lonesomebri

articmoon
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Post by articmoon » Mon Mar 28, 2005 2:42 pm

I did go to decompression with my husband last year. It was sort of ok, I kind of felt out of place a little. I think it was just something new and I was scared. My husband assured me that burning man was far better. As for recreational stuff (drugs), not into those things, But alcohol does get to me quickly. Maybe a little here and there will ease me into things better.
>^,,^<

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theCryptofishist
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Post by theCryptofishist » Mon Mar 28, 2005 3:09 pm

Not one for drugs either. Decom is different from the event. There's a community picnic ~June (Golden Gate Park, San Francisco) that give you a chance to hang out with a smaller group. If you're interested in volenteering, there's a town meeting that's essentially a volenteer job fair this Saturday (details will be on the main site.) While you're there, maybe you should sign up for JackRabbit Speaks. That will give you an email weekly or so that should have some events for you to pick and choose from. You might also try the Santa Cruz regional part of the board and signing up on the contact list. Lots of burners there and if you are accepted by the right people they have a monthly burn on one of the local beaches. There's a weekly pub night too.

What are you looking for in the way of easing yourself in?
The Lady with a Lamprey

"The powerful are exploiting people, art and ideas, and this leads to us plebes debating how to best ration ice.
Man, no wonder they always win....." Lonesomebri

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Post by dragonfly Jafe » Mon Mar 28, 2005 3:13 pm

I envy you - you can only go for your first time once! I am shy too (in the real world at least). But on Playa I tend to be able to be more open with complete strangers - after all we have at least one thing in common just by being there! Trust your instincts, but do not follow them blindly (after all, they are instincts for the real world, not burning man)

Do not underestimate the awesome power of Mother Nature (and the incredible weakness of humans). Pace yourself. Be prepared for rain, sun, wind, duststorms, sunburn, cracked skin, blisters, dehydration. Bring costumes, the kind you would never be caught dead in (in the world you come from, at least).

Remember, above all, the best gift is your presence. Interact. Participate. Wander. Enjoy. Be part of the magic. Pass it on.

articmoon
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Post by articmoon » Mon Mar 28, 2005 3:24 pm

[quote="theCryptofishist"]Not one for drugs either. Decom is different from the event. There's a community picnic ~June (Golden Gate Park, San Francisco) that give you a chance to hang out with a smaller group. If you're interested in volenteering, there's a town meeting that's essentially a volenteer job fair this Saturday (details will be on the main site.) While you're there, maybe you should sign up for JackRabbit Speaks. That will give you an email weekly or so that should have some events for you to pick and choose from. You might also try the Santa Cruz regional part of the board and signing up on the contact list. Lots of burners there and if you are accepted by the right people they have a monthly burn on one of the local beaches. There's a weekly pub night too.

What are you looking for in the way of easing yourself in?[/quote]

I am not sure what I am looking for, maybe confidence that my shyness will go away and a new me comes out. Someone who doesn't sit in a corner at a party and try to wonder why I don't fell comfortable or fit in.
>^,,^<

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theCryptofishist
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Post by theCryptofishist » Mon Mar 28, 2005 3:56 pm

Does your husband have a regular camp and do you know some of the campmates if he does?
The one thing I wish I had is someone who'd go around to different camps and artworks with me. My husband is very focused on his volenteer thing and sees the city that way, so I get bored and ansty. I found having a bike last year increased my mobility and I saw much more than I would have (unfortunately that wasnt' much. I made ~ 4 trips off-playa last year and had to leave before the burn so I got very little play time.) You can, if you find us nice people, go to the traditional eplaya meet and greet--almost certainly on Thursday evening at Barbie Death Camp and Wine Bistro/Wheeville. Having even a few things on you must do list may give you enough structure for your experience.
The Lady with a Lamprey

"The powerful are exploiting people, art and ideas, and this leads to us plebes debating how to best ration ice.
Man, no wonder they always win....." Lonesomebri

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Zulegoona
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Post by Zulegoona » Mon Mar 28, 2005 10:18 pm

Last year was my first, and it certainly could get to be overwhelming if you don't keep in touch with were your head is at. There is so much you will want to see and do and other things you might not have ever wanted to see. Everything washing over you and taking you along in it's swirling waves. I found taking frequent trips out on the playa alone, gave me time a way from the masses and that was what I found I needed to be able to enjoy being with the masses when I was. I found I got kind of down mid week, a little disappointed that I didn't feel like I was really making the kinds of connections with people I thought I should be able to ( I'm horribly shy ). A new friend brought me out of it, and back to a mind set to enjoy the experience for what it was, take it as it presented it's self to me and join in as much as I could. Being my first year and not really knowing what to expect, I thought it was a good idea not to tie myself down with volunteer commitments,... I think now that that was a mistake for me. I should have signed up for a shift with the café or the censes, or one of the other volunteer opportunities, I think I would have felt more a part of the event earlier.

articmoon
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Post by articmoon » Tue Mar 29, 2005 5:11 pm

Thanks I hope to meet a lot of people like you guys there. I really can't wait to go. I hope to leave my shyness at the gate!
>^,,^<

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bullD
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Post by bullD » Tue Mar 29, 2005 5:53 pm

I love these people! articmoon, these are all great words of advice. if there is anybody else who will be attending for the first time reading this, sputnik's words are very very important,,, go easy on recreationals.

I would like to add my $.02:

open the mind wide open and do and see and participate as much as humanly possible. kinda the hardcore approach,,, enjoy!!!

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sputnik
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Post by sputnik » Tue Mar 29, 2005 6:39 pm

I just want to thank bullD for the kind words and add that I think actually being able to remember your first time is very important. So much happens that even if you're completely sober, you'll forget a lot. I wasn't completely sober, but I did keep a daily journal. I tried hard to write in it when I got back to my tent, but invariably the words trailed off into indecypherable scribbles. When I got back I filled in the missing places. 6 months later I'm still remembering what happened.

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Fat SAM
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Post by Fat SAM » Tue Mar 29, 2005 6:47 pm

Here's my advice (which is worth whatever it's worth):

Don't go into it thinking 'I'm going to Burning Man for the first time.' It's not really like going to school for the first time or a scary carnival ride. Think about it as going on vacation in a new city. That's really what you're doing. It's Black Rock City. Your husband has been to the city before. He can show you some of the sights and he kind of knows his way around. It's a pretty darn safe place, so you don't really have to be on your guard - you can just kind of get around and check it out at your leisure. In spite of what a lot of people think, you don't have to participate in anything at all if you don't want to, though you may have a better time if you get involved. You're going on vacation to a city full of nice, open-minded people who are all there for a good time and to be on vacation. Ideas of vacation differ, but pretty much everyone knows that everyone else is just there to enjoy themselves. Chances are no one is going to try to step on your toes. So just go on vacation. Have a good time. Look around the city. Say hello to people or don't. There's nothing to be nervous about at all, though. No one expects anything of you and if you don't feel good over here, try going over there.

Drink lots of water. Have a sip of beer. Check out the art. Meet your neighbors. Just relax. It's a great place full of great people just like you.
Hope to see you there.
Peace
Thanks to Addis, I had more free time.

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Post by actiongrl » Tue Mar 29, 2005 6:48 pm

I would add something I read on a "What not to expect from Burning Man" list - don't expect Burning Man to make you into anything you're not. Plenty of shy, reserved folks enjoy their time out there just the same, and meet new people and enjoy exploring a place where they're free to come out of the shell a bit if they are inspired, but it isn't going to turn somoeone into something they aren't, and that's okay. Extroverted and outrageous and fearless is not the optimal state of being...unless you want to be that way, in which case it's a great place to explore what it might be like to try it just a little and see how it goes. And if it feels out of sorts, there's always a lot of nice open playa for sitting down to watch the world go by and just smiling at the beauty.

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Fat SAM
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Post by Fat SAM » Tue Mar 29, 2005 6:48 pm

I think that avatar is fantastic, Sputnik.
Thanks to Addis, I had more free time.

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swampdog
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Post by swampdog » Tue Mar 29, 2005 6:52 pm

Hi ArticMoon. Last year was my virgin year, and I had some of your concerns. I too can be quite shy normally, and I had plenty of wall-flower time at burningman. You don't become a different person just by going to the desert. But I also had moments where I took a step outside myself and tried something new. Many of those were successes, some weren't. The big thing is, you're free to try. Act ways you don't normally act, take a risk, try something new. See how you like it, see how people react. Corny as it may sound, I learned as much from times when I felt lonely and took ownership of the feeling and went out and did something as anything else. I would also set expectations with your husband before you go - to what extent are you responsible for each others' good time? If you're bored with each other will you go separate ways?

So go, play! Try things, have fun!

(oh, and, GO PACIFICA!! We lived there for several years. Beautiful place!)

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dr.placebo
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Post by dr.placebo » Tue Mar 29, 2005 8:08 pm

Burning Man will not change who you truly are, but it might help you find out more about yourself.

Don't go in lock step with anybody. Explore and play, and you'll find something new to show your husband.

And definitely volunteer for stuff. Participation unlocks everything good about BM.

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Tancorix
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Post by Tancorix » Tue Mar 29, 2005 8:27 pm

If there's ever a place where you can let go and do things you would normally never dream of doing, the playa is it. This past year saw me go blue, literally. So much for shyness, I watched a group of people a block past Center Camp spraying people down with various colors of dyes. I watched and watched, and finally remembered the no spectators rule, so I got the courage up to ask if I could be painted. The people running the camp said yes so I stripped down and let them paint me from head to toe...in front of at least 40 other people. It was the most liberating thing I have ever done. When I started I was scared to the point I was shaking. But I did it and ended up going back for a touch up the next day.

The blue paint helped me overcome some things, taught me even more stuff about myself and people around me, and was a turning point for me that is still influencing me today. The key thing is to go in with an open mind, try things, experiment. Perhaps go to the edge of your comfort zone, or a bit beyond it. Or not...nobody will laugh at you, critique you, but they may embrace you in ways you never expected. You make your own experience out there and it can be wonderful.

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theCryptofishist
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Post by theCryptofishist » Wed Mar 30, 2005 8:41 am

Turns out a lot of us are shy. (Me too.)

A thought. Sometime shyness is good protection that we need. Don't be too eager to throw that away. But throw it away if you feel safe. And since there are so many shy people, you'll probably have a good chance to approach the ones on the sidelines and start conversations.

Have a line or two (they don't have to be smarmy) and if you can find or create a good gift, that might open conversations.
The Lady with a Lamprey

"The powerful are exploiting people, art and ideas, and this leads to us plebes debating how to best ration ice.
Man, no wonder they always win....." Lonesomebri

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Lassen Forge
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Post by Lassen Forge » Wed Mar 30, 2005 9:20 am

I really dig what Fat Sam had to say up there somewhere... Think of it not as this trip to Disneyland in the desert, but more like a vacation to the town of BRC. It's not unlike a trip to any other out of the way place (like Kuala Lampur, a bus ride through central Italy, or even, hell, Mexico) where you have never been, the customs and traditions are different, and the experiences and way of life is dfferent... and nobody knows you. (Well some people may know you, but that's like any other vacation where you know the people you're traveling with). Like going to this little town in Italy (Gubbio) where once a year they fill the town fountain with wine instead of water (note to self - idea for a future burn - a wine fountain) or San Antonio with their annual Fiesta (a recognized holiday there) or Mardi Gras or this place in the Nevada desert where they burn this huge wooden effigy of... an effigy. >>grins<<

Prolly the best thing to do is to get involved. Find a camp where they welcome newbies or volunteer with one of the BRC groups, or do something to contribute ot the town (hell, I decided to bring an old treadle sewing machine (that was gifted to me - awesome!!) with heavy duty thread in case someone's shade or tent blows out - BTDT!!). Altho I'm *not* the shyest person on the planet >>evil grins<< I tend to withdraw around strangers a bit until I'm no longer one... the nice thing is you're not a stranger - you're a City Resident, just like the other (prolly 40-50,000) people there. Get to know people. And remember - in a week, after you've picked up your MOOP and cleared out, you may not see those people again... then again... you may just find a group of friends you never new existed... or... you may just find a yourself you never knew existed.

The only caevat is you are visiting a pretty large town, so be aware and be prepared, just like any other large town. Secure your valuables, be aware of your surroundings, know where your camp is, be prepared for anything (like Alphas)... But most of all, have fun... because (to quote one of my law professors) if you're not having fun, then why the hell are you there??

Back to the grindstone...
BBS

articmoon
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Post by articmoon » Wed Mar 30, 2005 9:58 am

Thanks everyone, all these replies are making me feel a lot more comfortable, with what the experience will be like. My husband feels I will be ok, he is already trying to figure out how he can alter my attire with light up stuff. :) and how much he can fit into a Jeep cherokee with a trailer attached. I hope somewhere down the line I run into some of you guys/gals there. I know it's a long shot. :)
>^,,^<

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bullD
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Post by bullD » Wed Mar 30, 2005 10:19 am

actually, no long shot at all. watch these boards for discussion about the eplaya meet-n-greet. due to the random nature of everyday life in BRC, I can't say all will be there but, I definately will make the bestest of efforts to be at the meet-n-greet this year. see ya there...

articmoon
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Post by articmoon » Wed Mar 30, 2005 2:18 pm

Cool, so there is a meet and greet place there? I will have to check it out.
>^,,^<

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theCryptofishist
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Post by theCryptofishist » Wed Mar 30, 2005 2:46 pm

There is a meet n greet event--traditionally the Thursday at ~ 6 at the Barbie Death Camp and Wine Bistro a part of the Wheeville village.

It hasn't been confirmed yet, watch out for posts by Dr. Pyro as he'll be the host.

And as we get closer to the event people will start posting what camp they'll be staying at. You can make a list and look for them. AS always on the playa you're not garenteed to find all of them, but if you look in the right spirit that's okay.
The Lady with a Lamprey

"The powerful are exploiting people, art and ideas, and this leads to us plebes debating how to best ration ice.
Man, no wonder they always win....." Lonesomebri

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Chai Guy
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Post by Chai Guy » Wed Mar 30, 2005 3:33 pm

I always advocate that first timers have an escape route. This may or may not be possible for you, however, I've had several friends come to Burning Man and realize "This is not for me" and need to leave.

You might also try coming for just a few days rather than the entire week (though the downside of that is if you end up loving it, you'll have to wait all year for more).

Speed Cult
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Post by Speed Cult » Fri Apr 01, 2005 9:11 am

That's it, I'm hiding out with articmoon LOL. This is my first year to go and don't know really what to expect. Just hoping to meet some new friends. What can people do that are not going to be at the meet-n-greet?
Just blame it on the "new guy"! :)

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theCryptofishist
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Post by theCryptofishist » Fri Apr 01, 2005 9:34 am

Um.

Anything they want so long as they don't over annoy others?


What are you looking for at bm? That may help me put together some cheezy answer to your question.
The Lady with a Lamprey

"The powerful are exploiting people, art and ideas, and this leads to us plebes debating how to best ration ice.
Man, no wonder they always win....." Lonesomebri

Speed Cult
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Post by Speed Cult » Fri Apr 01, 2005 9:50 am

[quote="theCryptofishist"]Um.

Anything they want so long as they don't over annoy others?


What are you looking for at bm? That may help me put together some cheezy answer to your question.[/quote]

A better understanding of BM and hopefully myself :)

Anything above that is pure bonus.
Just blame it on the "new guy"! :)

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theCryptofishist
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Post by theCryptofishist » Fri Apr 01, 2005 10:15 am

Okay. Then you can wander and do nothing.
(Which is what you get for letting an introvert answer this question anyway!)
The Lady with a Lamprey

"The powerful are exploiting people, art and ideas, and this leads to us plebes debating how to best ration ice.
Man, no wonder they always win....." Lonesomebri

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Zane5100
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Post by Zane5100 » Fri Apr 01, 2005 10:17 am

A better understanding of BM and hopefully myself :)

Anything above that is pure bonus.
You tend to get out of it what you put into it--and what you end up putting in and getting out can end up surprising you--and not always in a nice or gentle way.

Relax, drop your expectations of having a life-altering event, and just enjoy the camping trip. Don't "try" too hard.
middle-aged, wannabe-hipster, dilettante

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