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Going to Burning Man
What should I wear to Burning Man? I want to support the spirit of the event, and my family members, who are getting married there. However, I'm an older mom with a stuffy job, and will be sharing a tent with my teenaged son. The wedding organizers' suggestion that ''ladies should be rocking their nipples,'' was perhaps not meant for me. Your thoughts on creative compromise would be so welcome! Not a party pooper. Not ''rocking my nipples.''
On a practical level Burningman gets HOT during the day. Sudden changes in the wind or the weather can bring dusty storms that create white-outs or rain that will turn the playa into sticky cakes of mud that will clump onto your footwear in big chunky globs. A duststorm could leave your hair and clothes coated in a clingy grey-white film that will linger until after you leave. I would suggest a hat or pretty umbrella for keeping the hot sun off you, eye goggles for protecting your eyes during a dust-storm, and a scarf or face mask for clear breathing during a duststorm as part of your outfit, or at least handy in a purse. A camelback backpack that holds a water pouch with extra pockets for storing items is an acceptable part of an outfit on the playa - you could disguise it with a pretty scarf or a filmy shawl if you wanted to. Closed-toed boots or shoes will protect your feet from the alkaline dust. If you're not worried about that, then choose shoes that you like that will also let you ride a bike, walk a ways, or hop on and off a vehicle while it is moving.
You didn't ask, but a sidenote: tents are miserable to camp in at Burningman as they get very hot very soon in the morning and are little ovens all day. If you leave the flaps open to keep them aired out, all of your belongings might be covered in a thick layer of dust when you get back. If you are camping with other wedding members, check around to see if someone will be bringing a shade structure. If not, get one of your own, with rebar and a mallet for hammering the rebar into the ground and keeping your shade structure in place. A carport or shade tent with zipping flaps can make for a comfortable place to cook, hang out, and get dressed up for the wedding that a tent is unlikely to provide.
Hope that helps! best wishes for a dust-free wedding
I would suggest a sort of Desert Chic, gauzy and flowing. Maybe something with some beading?
Have a great adventure! susannah
Either way, I hope you have a great time. Who doesn't need some extra nipples?
For daytime when its hot, think about loose, lightweight cottony fabrics- there's a reason Bedouins wear those great flowing robes! Keep in mind that you might be riding a bike.
Nighttimes can start off warm and end up really cold, which is why so many Burning Man outfits involve faux fur. I often get a base layer of leggings and a turtleneck, and then find fun spangly, colorful layers to put on top from thrift stores. Sequins and gauzy things that glow in blacklight are great. Don't get feathers, they always come loose and end up as litter. Add lots of lights and glowsticks to keep yourself visible to bikers and art car drivers at night.
Above all, have a wonderful time and enjoy the process of creating your costume(s). Saggy Burner
So my husband wants to go to Burning Man by himself this year. He's never been, but says he just wants ''to get away from routine and responsibilities for a few days.'' We have three children under 8 years, so yes, there's a lot of responsibility at home. So I guess I'm trying to get a feel for what it's like out there...I picture a lot of drugs and sex and mayhem. And I wonder if it's not safe to be there alone? Shouldn't you have someone keeping an eye out for you? Is it appropriate for a 45 year old father of three to be there by himself? Should I worry? Should I worry that it will be too easy and tempting for him, both drugs and sex? He has already said he will bring pot with him (knows where to get it, but hasn't smoked in several years). Am I making any sense? Nervous Wife
That is my 2 cents about the physical part. In regards to your trust and your relationship, you might want to talk in advance about what is ok and what is not for both of you. Hopefully, that will make it easier for you to let him go.
And for you, who stays home with the big burden of household and kids, and a husband who won't be that available before the trip because of all the prepping etc, I'd say get yourself some help! I have my mom visiting during this time, and sometimes my mother-in-law in addition. We all enjoy it and it definitely makes my life easier. BM ''grass widow'' and liking it
And BTW, would it be okay with him if YOU went to BM (with some pot?!) If the answer is yes, you know for sure there is a problem in your marriage. He should care more than that.
Find out what is going on with him that he wants to do this. In some respects, if you say 'sure, go ahead', I think you will soon know what the issue is. So you might just give in to the inevitable.
Personally, I would say he** no and insist on an honest discussion about what is really going on in the marriage. wise married lady
I've gone for the last 13 years, and there's a LOT of cool stuff that has very little to do with sex and drugs (although that's certainly there if you want it). There's even a camp for families named Kidsville, where the kids get rides on art cars! If your husband just wants to check out some art, spend some responsibility-free time, and meet some interesting people, then there's no harm in him going. Maybe he'll enjoy it so much that he'll come back and talk you (and possibly your whole family) into going.
Also, there's the fact that no man wants to be forbidden from doing something. In fact, I've found that if I tell my husband he can't do something he wants to do, he just wants to do it more - kind of like a teenage girl.
For what it's worth, I would be bummed if my husband went to Burning Man without me, but that's because I love being there. In fact, I introduced him to the playa 12 years ago. Dennise
If he needs some time away, why not offer to let him have a guys' weekend doing something fun? Whatever he likes...But Burning Man? I don't know -- the drugs, the sex, the whole vibe would make me nervous... Not a Burning Man Fan
For what it's worth, I think you should look at how much you trust your husband. If you want drugs and sex, you can certainly find them at BM...but you can find them here in the east bay as well. If your husband has substance abuse issues, that is something to take into consideration. If he has been able to use drugs recreationally in the past without a problem, then I wouldn't worry. There are many ''normal'' people who are not high and just like to dress up, have fun, explore, dance, and let loose for the week. There are also high people doing all of the same.
I would not want to go alone to Burning Man (especially without having gone before) simply because one person need A LOT of supplies to make a suitable camp and survive through the week. You need a good, 100 mi/hour wind-worthy shade structure (ones you can buy at REI or Target often aren't sturdy enough) plus lots of food and water. So I would recommend finding an established camp or group of friends to go with. But you should know that it is not dangerous to go alone. There is little, if any, violence there.
I also wouldn't want my husband to go alone simply because I don't want to be responsible for all of the childcare for a week. You may feel differently about this aspect. Also, for your husband to know, Burning Man can be super fun and amazing, but it is often not relaxing in the way that other vacations can be. It is chaotic and loud, there are dust-storms and white-outs. And it is VERY hot during the day. It's an adventure, for sure. good luck with your decision
Burning man is actually a performance art event which is a life experience and it would be good to make it a family trip even if it will take a few weeks to get out all the dust. from old sage i.e. wiseguy
I go away every year with my college roommates for 5 days. I do it to escape. We escape to a spa or resort, eat at fancy restaurants, lay around on beaches. If my husband said I could not escape b/c he didn't trust that I wasn't going somewhere to pick up men, snort coke, or act like a hooker, I'd be pretty pissed. We all need space at times and I guess you might consider that men sometimes don't have girlfriends/pals like we do, so maybe he is just looking to go to an activity that he thinks sounds neat. I'd talk with him about what interest he has in BM and also about your concerns. I'd also suggest that he look to join a group that you might feel comfortable with. The group you are with can often determine/influence the kind of burn you have-we have gone with friends who are much harder core/old school burners than us-all upper 30s/40s/early 50s. We sit around playing cards, drinking and some smoking. We listen to music, shoot the sh*t and basically do a lot of what we always do camping but in much harder core environmental circumstances and with lots of cool distractions for when people want to take walks ro ride their bikes around.
Anyway-it's not all sex and drugs on the playa and as others have stated, he can find sex and drugs anywhere-he doesn't need to drive all the way to Gerlach to find it. playa camper
I HIGHLY recommend going with the Green Tortoise for single or couple travelers who aren't part of a larger, mass organized camp. I actually wouldn't go any other way for a future trip. Tortoise drives you round trip on a comfortable bus, brings all the water and food you'll need, and has an established camp with eating area and shade structure. They will also haul your bike (a MUST for BM-but only take a real beater one). All you need to bring are your personal supplies such as tent, sleeping bag, dust mask, hat, sunscreen, etc. It's a great way to meet others to explore with, and the meals are communal-- everyone takes turns helping. VERY reasonably priced for what you get. It's SO much more relaxing not to have to drive, and you don't get your car filled with playa dust. You can sleep on the ride home. They offer week long trips, and long weekend trips (3 nights I think, which is perfect for first time). You may want to consider getting a sitter and joining him Or, after looking at the Green Tortoise website, he may decide to do a different trip than BM. They offer a lot of great ones!
One thing I do disagree with is kids at burning man. I know a lot of people who do it, but IMO...too hot, too dusty, too many places to get lost surrounded (potentially) by intoxicated people. And the biggest reason--not fun for the parents! The last thing I want to do on vacation is chase my toddler around a hot desert, while he gets gusts of sand blown in his eyes, and I worry about him running off into a bike or art cart. I wouldn't take any child who wasn't old enough to navigate and take care of themselves in a sizeable city (say SF, Vegas or NYC) on their own. Should go to BM at least once!
It seemed all the people who were trashing burning man didn't say if they had been, and all the people who were for it had been. What does that tell you? Personally, I've been a few times and have no plans to return, but it's certainly not because I found myself doing regrettable things there. Either you have integrity, or you don't.
And the replies about him joining a camp that would help him prepare for the experience is great advice, but if he does enough reading he could figure out how to survive on his own. And if he's friendly at all he could easily find people who will help him with the things he forgot to bring. I'd be more worried about the fairness of it, whether you would also get to take a personal vacation.
Last year I went on my own for the first time (previously with camps, but this year I wanted to camp with Hushville so I could sleep) and my hubby was worried about me, because I was pregnant. But he also knew that I was committed to taking the best possible care of myself. While I was there I ate well, went to bed early, and got lots of exercise like I did at home, and everything was fine.
So I guess it's just a long way of saying that if you can trust him at home, you can trust him at burning man. D.C.
Burning Man is an *amazing, amazing* experience & my husband may go without me this year (I'm not ready to leave our son for so long & don't want to take him, either).
None of this is to say you shouldn't have any feelings or concerns - simply that it's up to you & your husband how you want to deal with this. (I also don't think pot is such a big deal. I mean, really.)
Having some very real conversations seems in order. Deciding what agreements you need from him. I really liked another responders idea that you should get a vacation of your choosing, too
Yes, there's a lot of people doing drugs & running around naked, but there is a lot of other experiences to be had, too... I think I'd be more worried about my husband going to Vegas with the boys...
If the two of you decide it will work for him to go, I want to second (or third) the suggestion that he hook up with a camp or other people he knows who are going - it is a harsh environment & a lot of work - he could use the help Good Luck! Burner Mama
I'm planning on taking my 15 month old to burning man this year. I was wondering if anyone had done this before and what types of advice/precautions you would think helpful with regards to staying hydrated and protecting from dust. Thanks! burningmom
The daytime playa is still quite kid friendly in most respects, but I would never take my pre-verbal daughter along. When your child is a little older, try visiting or living in the Alternative Energy Zone (no generators, just like Hushville) or a Family Camp. There are lots of little Kidsvilles too, if you look for them. But again, I would suggest waiting until your child can communicate better. It is key.
It sounds horrible, but to be utterly honest, the people I know who have taken a very young child along ended up feeling a bit resentful that they had to focus so much on the kid, since they became very demanding on the playa. I think it is like trying to have the best of both worlds, and you might have to leave the playa midweek. A few years later, though, and families can have a ball. I guess the point is that, later on, they can be willing participants instead of being dragged along. Then it gets really fun with all sorts of games and treasure hunts and things (''find me someone wearing big googly eyes on springs, someone on stilts, and an oversize giant animal!'')
Anyway, if you do go, please be patient and focus most on your kid, and be ready to split mid-week if you need. This year I am heading out with my brother, and my wife is staying with the wee one. But we will be in email contact every day, so I may end up splitting midweek too. My wife says she will really miss the playa, but is more comfortable waiting it out until another year.
The playa will always be there, but the needs of the kid have to come first. (and I'm dealing with my fair share of guilt just heading out there....) Anyway, good luck to you! Burning Dad
We are planning to bring our four-year-old son to Burning Man this year. We would appreciate any comments or suggestions from other parents who have done this.
The Burning Man website has a very helpful guide, too. http://www.burningman.com/preparation/event_survival/kids_at_bm.html christina
I have an 18 month old girl and am not quite ready to take her to the desert. My feeling is that I'm waiting until she's out of diapers and can very clearly and specifically voice her needs- ''I'm thirsty,'' ''I'm not feeling good,'' I'm too hot,'' etc.
You're more than welcome to email me if you're interested in joining this group. There are some parents on it who've already taken their kids to BM or have some experience with kids and BurningMan. In any case, it's a nice community of Burner parents. snowshoe
We camped with the Family Camp, which is always located very close to Center Camp and adjascent to Hushville(generator-free, so very quiet). It was a great place to be, since we were close to center camp and the esplanade and much of the good artwork. There were other families there (though there have been MANY more, it seems, in the two years since) and it was nice to see kids and know there was a place where they could hang out. We didn't hang out there much, since we had friends in other places, but it was a welcoming group and a good place to come home too.
Probably the most important thing I had on the playa was my jogging stroller (which STILL has playa-dust in the cracks). Depending on the size of your child, I would bring a jogger or maybe a burley or an alley cat for the back of your bike. The stroller was great, as it had a sunshade for the daytime, and my guy could nap wherever we were whenever he wanted -- he even slept through the Burn in the stroller!
Another invaluable thing was the little potty that I had. Getting up and peeing in the night or in the morning was much easier with a little potty next to the car -- not to mention pooping.
For sleeping, we have a mini-van, and we took the rear seat out (using for a playa-sofa) and slept in the back. This way I didn't have to worry about him making noise in the morning or noise waking him at night.
Food and water was pretty simple -- he had a sippy cup with him always and ate what we brought with us. He was very verbal by that time, so had no trouble expressing his needs.
He carried a squirt bottle, and sprayed people with water as his playa gift. Sometimes he blew bubbles. It was amazing to see the amount of attention a child gets on the playa -- instant interaction everywhere we went. People kept asking if he was real or part of my costume!! I could say more, but I'll leave it at this. If you want more information, feel free to contact me. Tara
That said, I've observed kids of various ages there, and I've come to believe that very little kids are probably more bother there than they're worth, and they probably don't get anything out of Burningman. Older kids, maybe from 5-12, think it's great because they can do and see all kinds of fun things, and maybe ride their bikes all around. The kids who seem to have the least amount of fun are teenagers with their parents, because all they see are a bunch of stupid adults acting silly.
There is virtually nothing that a kid could see or do there during the day that is more harmful than what they could do or see in Berkeley during the day. Night time is a slightly different story but a kid would have to try real hard to find something truly threatening, especially if they go to bed at a normal time (for a kid). Jon
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