There are plenty of packing and “must do” lists for Burning Man as well and the usual admonitions against sunburn and dehydration. To these I’m going to add my personal top five things to avoid list for things you might not have considered.
- Cowardice – It’s often cited that people on their deathbed regret missed opportunities far more than failed attempts. Don’t make this your Burning Man experience. If you want to dance all night it a tutu or wander around all day in nothing but body paint DO IT! Explore new things and push your boundaries! That’s almost the point of going.
- Food Sickness – Upset digestive tracts and porta johns don’t mix – trust me on this. I found this out the year I packed a new type of canned chili for my dinners and it made me sick all week. Not food poisoning sick but “Argh! my system isn’t used to this new food” sick. Don’t radically change your diet for the festival unless you pre-test it to make sure there are no issues. And, of course, follow solid food safety procedures on any food you take because the traditional food poisoning isn’t any fun either.
- Venereal Diseases – The playa is a great place for sexual adventuring. The intoxicating freedom, the exotic locale, and the toned bodies make a perfect setting. But I’ve always heard there’s a sizable spike in the treatment of sexually transmitted right after the festival. Apocryphal or not, it’s a danger best avoided. As my dad used to say: “it’s okay to jump out of the plane just wear a friggin’ parachute!” Have your fun but take sensible precautions.
- Early Injury – I love the idea of the Thunderdome and all the high climbing things but might I suggest you tackle them later in the week? One year I was a bit overenthusiastic and hurt my leg on the second day. It wasn’t serious and I recovered in a day or so but it hammered home that Burning Man is a VERY mobile festival. You’ll need to be able to walk for miles and miles and miles. Therefore, if you want to try some of the more physically risky stuff I’d stack that toward the end of the week so if thing go wrong you’re not sidelined for the duration.
- Getting Run Over – It seems every year some fool goes wandering around at night with no lighting and is run over by an art car. There are, no doubt, plenty of slightly luckier fools who only get clobbered by someone on a bike. Don’t be an idiot and wear something that makes you visible from all sides at night. This means something that glows or flashes. It need not be expensive, cheap bike flashers will do the trick. It’s pitch dark at night out there and without lighting you’re a danger to yourself and others.
That’s about it. Have a great burn!