Around the globe to find the light

Around the globe to find the light

Postby Mahuka » Tue Jan 24, 2012 8:56 am

Hey all!

I'm Michaël, a 20-year old art student from Belgium. I study Graphic Arts, but I'm more a bit of an all round artist really. I still live with my parents in a small suburb town and I go to school in one of the bigger cities of our country, Ghent. (It's still a small city comparing to 'bigger' cities in the USA, though) I have a small group of friends who are scattered across film, painting, music, graphic arts and other artistic directions. We strongly believe in artistic freedom and the positive creative influence young people can have on each other. For example, last year in the holidays we started up a project in which we rented a space and made art for a month or two. It didn't matter what, as long as we created something. The amount of self-knowledge, inspiration, philosophical insights, and above all, fun we got from that project, was the exact reason we did it.
I always have the feeling that I haven't figured out much about the world yet; my parents love to travel, but they're more into cultural and close-to-home places. Now you don't hear me say that a picturesque French village isn't beautiful and France and Spain have a very interesting history, but if you go there every damn year, you start to think of all the interesting locations around the world that you could have gone to instead. I wanna travel to new places.
Furthermore it would be hypocrite not to mention that in this search for adventure and with the natural lust for experiment people of my age seem to possess, I have had some experiences with mind altering substances. However, they remain a negligible part of my world.
So I'm a young creator, who wants to see the world, meet people and learn about all these interesting things the world is filled with.

Now, how did I wind up here?
I was at a friends house yesterday, we were doing nothing much. We put on the tv to see if there was anything interesting. Something caught our attention: there was a documentary on our national channel about burning man. I won't say I've never heard about burning man, but I didn't really know anything much about it either. The most I could tell you about was that it was some kind of festival in the desert where people would build things and come together. That documentary was a true eye-opener: everything was so familiar, as if it were some kind of ideal world that unfolded in front of our eyes. As we watched it, our excitement grew with the minute and by the end of the documentary we instantly started looking up information on how, when, what and where. I was so amazed at how hard I felt attracted to this event, this lifestyle, the way people treat each other, the works of art and everything around it. I love to live where I live at this moment, in this country, but sometimes it's hard for an artist in todays society to live the way you want to, so I've always considered myself (and a small group of friends) as 'different'. Belgium is also in general extremely close minded, if I compare to other countries. I'm sure that everything we saw in the documentary was only just a little spark from what happens out there in the Nevada Desert, and we knew that going to Burning Man would be an experience that would change our lives for the better.

It feels like a small spark has ignited in me yesterday, and though I know that it's gonna be an extremely hard and long road, with many obstacles to tackle, I want to go to Burning Man at least once in my life.

Now I haven't really looked around thoroughly on these boards to find answers to all my questions, but the biggest and most aching question we have now is how two young people with limited financial possibilities (limited meaning we won't spend thousands and thousands of dollars) and no driving license (yet) can get to Burning Man, coming from halfway around the globe.

After some research a few options arose, like volunteering, join a group of American people, I also read something about a couchsurf movement, and so on. If anyone knows an interesting possibility, help would be appreciated. Of course, I won't let others do all the searching for me, so I'm gonna search around some more now.

Greetings and love,

Michaël
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Re: Around the globe to find the light

Postby lemur » Tue Jan 24, 2012 9:11 am

welcome!!

look around.. theres answers all over.. and opinions, too!


have fun in your journey.. itll be one..
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Re: Around the globe to find the light

Postby funkyjigsaw » Tue Jan 24, 2012 9:40 am

Hi Michael,

I am from the UK, and last year was my first burn. Yes, I am returning this year.
Some answers to help you :
- You still have time to come to BM in 2012. You have plenty of time to plan.
- The first thing you need is a ticket. http://tickets.burningman.com/ The next opportunity for 2012 is the Open Sale that begins on March 28th ($390 per ticket). If you qualify for a low-income ticket ($240 per) then you might consider that. Details should be released soon.
- The legal age for drinking alcohol at BM is 21 years old.
- You get there by getting a flight to San Francisco, and then getting a ride-share (but you will have to contribute to expenses - petrol). HOWEVER, if there are say 3 or 4 of you coming, then it will be better to hire a car between you. It can be quite cheap. This is because you are unlikely to get a ride-share together for that many people, and you will have to pick up food and water on the way. HOWEVER, you may not have driving licences, and you are quite young to rent a car in the US. This may leave you having to find a ride share, and this may in turn split up the group. It may be easier to get a second flight out to Reno. It will be even easier to get ride-shares.
- You can certainly pack everything you need for a week at BM on the plane with you - if you are clever and have done your research. There may be things that you need to buy in the US (e.g. coolers, chairs), and you will have to gift these when you leave.
- There is a lot of great stuff to see over in that part of the world. If you are flying over with friends, why not take more time off to do a bit of a road trip.
Do more research (radical self-reliance!).

Cheers, J.
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Re: Around the globe to find the light

Postby BeyondIndigo » Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:00 am

Hey Michaël. I'm new here too. I'm from the UK and I've never been to BM before. You sound like a really cool person and I wanted to say hello and share a few things I've picked up which hopefully might help.

1) Check the baggage allowance on your flight. You may be able to being a tent with you. Tents weigh a lot less than I thought. You'd have to pack the tent poles in your checked baggage though, they're not allowed in hand luggage.
2) I was worried about how I'd pack all my food and everything...then some helpful person on the BM Facebook group pointed out to me that there is a huge Walmart in Reno, which I believe is the nearest city. So I plan to pack SOME things before I leave and get the rest once I am there. This may sound obvious to others but for me figuring out this little bit of logistics made me feel I had a much better handle on things.
3) If you want to have a bike with you in the desert, there are several cycle places where you can book a bike for the event. There's one called Black Rock City Cycles. If you google it will come up.
4)THE INTERNET IS YOUR FRIEND. I've even been using it to look up what types of food Walmart sells so I can figure out what are the equivalents to the things I'm used to eating.
5) There is a ride share board on here which I believe opens closet to the festival. So you can arrange to meet up with someone and travel from the city you are flying into, out into the desert. That's what I am going to need to do too.
6) Going to BM, particularly as an international participant, is bound to be expensive. The tickets are expensive, the flights are expensive. You'll need a tent and camping gear unless you already have it. Food and water for seven days. A first aid kit. Protective gear like goggles and dust masks. MEDICAL INSURANCE (very very important!) also you need a plan for contingencies. It's very unlikely, but what if something happened that meant you needed to fly home early? I'm just trying to help you think of everything. These are the things that I am planning for, and the last one is why I figure I need a thousand pounds spare, JUST IN CASE. I am borrowing money to go. But what I've realised these last few weeks is...if you're serious about doing something, you will find a way. And I hope you find a way because you seem like a cool person.
7) Use these boards, they're a gold mine of information from people who have been there and know what it's really like. There's a search bar at the top on the right.
8) Plan to take the environment at BM very seriously indeed. I mean this is coming from one who has never been before...but some of the dangers include heatstroke, dehydration, altitude sickness and skin problems caused by the dust which is apparently slightly caustic?! I figure that the more I know about how to prevent these problems the better chance I have of enjoying my time there. No-one wants to pay seven hundred pounds for a flight and then spend seven days sick out there!

Whew, look at me pretending like I actually know what I'm talking about :lol:
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Re: Around the globe to find the light

Postby trilobyte » Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:17 am

Hi, welcome to ePlaya! What they all said, though I'll add that there are numerous places to pick up supplies (and not just a Wal-Mart) in Reno. I can't imagine how the trip won't cost you thousands and thousands of dollars - even if you live in the US and have transportation, it can be an expensive journey. However, you've arrived at the right place to start looking at things and making your plans. Good luck, and hope to see you out there!
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Re: Around the globe to find the light

Postby JayBobBoy » Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:19 am

Hello and Welcome,

I know that spark that you speak of...mine started that way too, now it's an inferno!

As a native Californian, I highly suggest coming early to enjoy this beautiful part of the world. I agree with the previous posts that renting a car is the best way to get around and will give you the freedom to explore.

With advance planning it is VERY possible to do it! Good luck!
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Re: Around the globe to find the light

Postby jkisha » Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:20 am

Hey there, welcome to eplaya!
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Re: Around the globe to find the light

Postby Mahuka » Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:24 am

First of all, thanks everybody for the warm welcome!

The last bits of doubt that kept me from planning have somewhat washed away now, thanks funkyjigsaw and BeyondIndigo for the excellent tips! :D
The biggest fears I had were that it was gonna be impossible to make this a trip we could afford and that we might not have enough time to still be able to go this year. I'm not planning to go with more then one friend, so we can get ride-shares. I found the official site of burning man for ride-shares (http://rideshare.burningman.com/), and now that it's confirmed that it's really possible to take all the things we need with us on the plane, that makes it all the more concrete and realistic and less of a wild day-dream.

I guess I just needed a starting point to start researching from. Thanks for all the info, it certainly helped me to start researching. So now it's time to plan!
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Re: Around the globe to find the light

Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:36 am

BeyondIndigo wrote:MEDICAL INSURANCE (very very important!) also you need a plan for contingencies. It's very unlikely, but what if something happened that meant you needed to fly home early?

As someone who spent 6 weeeks in an Austrian hospital--not a planned portion of my trip--I will say that good insurance is a damn nice thing to have. I'll admit that in most cases you don't need it, but those are bets you're happy to lose.
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Re: Around the globe to find the light

Postby BeyondIndigo » Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:49 am

trilobyte wrote:Hi, welcome to ePlaya! What they all said, though I'll add that there are numerous places to pick up supplies (and not just a Wal-Mart) in Reno. I can't imagine how the trip won't cost you thousands and thousands of dollars - even if you live in the US and have transportation, it can be an expensive journey. However, you've arrived at the right place to start looking at things and making your plans. Good luck, and hope to see you out there!


Yeah but I have a strange fondness for Walmart. LMAO.
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Re: Around the globe to find the light

Postby Savannah » Tue Jan 24, 2012 11:32 am

Hi Michaël,

If you decide to join a camp, this forum will be more active beginning in February:

2012 Theme Camps
viewforum.php?f=283

But there are many camps that don't necessarily post on ePlaya; Google and Facebook might help connect you with a camp. Reno is the closest city (2 hours' drive) and there is usually a rideshare desk on the first floor of the Reno Airport near the baggage area if a scheduled rideshare falls through (better to plan that stuff in advance--but it's good to know there are other options).

The Green Tortoise hostel in San Francisco has bus trips to Burning Man, and provide food, water & transportation from SF (fly in a day early with 1/2 your stuff and shop for a few things more). They might have shade for their campers--I recommend asking them--but you definitely need your own tent. The downside: their longest Burning Man trips are only 5 days. But still--not a bad option at all.

http://www.greentortoise.com/adventures ... tival.html
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Re: Around the globe to find the light

Postby BoyScoutGirl » Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:23 pm

It looks like the others have answered most of your questions, but I'll say that if you want to combine Burning Man with a tour of all or part of the US, there are plenty of people (both Americans and international visitors) who travel the United States using CouchSurfing. With some planning, you could meet cool, local people and have a place to crash in almost any city or large town. In the past there has been a Couchsurfing camp at Burning Man (http://couchsurfingcamp.org/); I imagine they'll be coming again. My one bit of advice would be to make a Couch Surfing profile as soon as you can and meet some locals surfers in Belgium at meet-ups or perhaps host some travelers. People are more willing to host if they see you've been active in the CS community.

Really, the hard part is about touring the US is travel from city to city, as Americans do love their cars. Some people hitchhike, and though I think it might be illegal in some places, it is definitely an experience for the adventurous spirit. As far as getting a ride to BM, everything I've read (I'm a virgin, too!) leads me to think it won't be too difficult with planning and communication. There are a lot of people coming from the west coast.

And welcome!
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Re: Around the globe to find the light

Postby funkyjigsaw » Tue Jan 24, 2012 1:54 pm

Savannah wrote:The Green Tortoise hostel in San Francisco has bus trips to Burning Man, and provide food, water & transportation from SF (fly in a day early with 1/2 your stuff and shop for a few things more). They might have shade for their campers--I recommend asking them--but you definitely need your own tent. The downside: their longest Burning Man trips are only 5 days. But still--not a bad option at all.

http://www.greentortoise.com/adventures ... tival.html


Huh? I don't understand? How can Green Tortoise guarantee tickets for BM 2012? Also, how is this radically self-reliant?
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Re: Around the globe to find the light

Postby Savannah » Tue Jan 24, 2012 4:17 pm

funkyjigsaw wrote:
Savannah wrote:The Green Tortoise hostel in San Francisco has bus trips to Burning Man, and provide food, water & transportation from SF (fly in a day early with 1/2 your stuff and shop for a few things more). They might have shade for their campers--I recommend asking them--but you definitely need your own tent. The downside: their longest Burning Man trips are only 5 days. But still--not a bad option at all.

http://www.greentortoise.com/adventures ... tival.html


Huh? I don't understand? How can Green Tortoise guarantee tickets for BM 2012?


They can't, and I didn't say they did. I linked because they will be making the trip.

I theorize that they may not have updated the language regarding ticket options since the 2011 ticket sellout (just the dates). Travelers did not have to buy tickets through them last year, even though it was an option. This year, the odds are things will have changed, but I have no idea. You're welcome to ask them.

Also, how is this radically self-reliant?


I enjoy linking this to international virgin Burners, especially ones who haven't got an international license. Flying in and shopping @ lightning speed--which they will have to do no matter who drives them--is already a challenge; food, water and transport are significant but not exactly luxurious. (Many theme camps already provide food, after all, also for a fee . . . not that it's something I'm interested in). But I guess I don't see much different between 1) paying for this bus and 2) putting money in the palm of a theme camp's bus driver, and spending an extra hour in the Reno WalMart getting your own food and water. Green Tortoise travelers still have to tent it, and can bring very few supplies, and they miss two days of the event in exchange for the convenience of their ride not falling through. (I'm pretty sure they don't have showers with GT either, which theme camps often provide). Anyone international who attends using the bus--and likes the event--will probably attend without GT the next time to get a full week, and hit the ground running. Burning Man can be a powerful motivator as to improving one's skills and independent abilities. It has vastly improved mine.

We can argue where the line is drawn for radical self-reliance all day (although I don't actually want to). Some ePlayans use RVs--and run theme camps. Some of us can't drive &/or use rideshares, but volunteer for 12 hour shifts. Some band together to raise shade structures rather than bring ones they can erect solo, but then invite the neighborhood in. Some folks buy into a camp's water purchase. I love radical self-reliance, but where do we draw the line? More importantly, who gets to be the judge?

I genuinely respect that you may disagree with me, and that's okay. One day, I will learn to love again. :)
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Re: Around the globe to find the light

Postby Mahuka » Tue Jan 24, 2012 4:44 pm

Too bad the trips green tortoise organizes are only 5 days max. I can imagine that it won't be easy indeed to just get all the needed supplies in one go if you're just passing through Reno on your way there. As for the self-relient part of burning man, this trip towards it will already test our independent abilities to the max. I've never been anywhere further in my life then neighboring countries, let alone without my parents or on the other side of the world.

I've been calculating a bit (since we don't have enough money at the moment to start planning for this year) and with all the advice I read, I could roughly estimate that when we try to do everything economically we might need around 4000 euros (around 5200 dollars at this moment). Quite a bit of money, so we might not get it all together after all for this years BM. If we don't succeed of course, we (or at least I know I will) will just continue to save money for next years BM.

If we do so we might just save some more money then usual and stay in the states for longer and couchsurf to see some more of the states while we're there, as Ensimismada proposed, because if you make a journey this big, you might as well make it completely worth it!
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Re: Around the globe to find the light

Postby trilobyte » Tue Jan 24, 2012 4:58 pm

Do take a look at the regionals (link's on the main Burning Man page) and get connected with the Euro burners. Not only are they some great people who may be able to help you figure out some of the logistics and details of coming from so far away, but they do stuff in Europe throughout the year, too! If I'm not mistaken, they have a regional campout and burn in western Spain in the summer. Regional events are a great way to connect with others in the region, as well as a way to participate with a smaller time and financial commitment.
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Re: Around the globe to find the light

Postby MisaBlue » Tue Jan 24, 2012 5:24 pm

Hello Mahuka and welcome!

As Trilobyte said, look at regionals - http://regionals.burningman.com/eu_be.html There are many Burners in Europe, and there are also regional events in Europe with Regional Burn called Nowhere in Spain. (It might also be the option for you in the beginning ;) )
To save enough money for BM is hard, especially when you have to spend 1300$ just for the flight...
As you said, you might not be able to come this year, but NEVER GIVE UP!!!
I am from Czech, didn't know single soul from here who would go to BM. It took me 1,5 year to get on Playa and feel the dust...and Eplaya/Eplayans helped me a lot!!! I will be coming for 3rd time this year :D

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Re: Around the globe to find the light

Postby Elliot » Tue Jan 24, 2012 5:28 pm

I'm amazed no-one has mentioned the "Belgian Waffle". A few years ago (2006?) a group of Belgians built a gigantic and amazing wooden structure which served as a dance hall and was finally burned. Their name was the Uchronians. Michael "needs" to know about those guys!
http://www.uchronians.org/html/indexprojects.html

Welcome Michael!
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Re: Around the globe to find the light

Postby Mahuka » Tue Jan 24, 2012 6:02 pm

Oh sure I have heard of the waffle, we even discussed it in a lesson a few years ago, when I still followed architecture. I do believe it was indeed in 2006. In the article we discussed back then I read about BM for the first time. The designer is quite known in our country. Sadly, our teacher never got more in-depth about the event itself, so I didn't really dug deeper back then. :)
But now I'm sure this is something I have to do, no matter what.

It might indeed not be a bad idea to contact Euro-burners, as it will for starters be much easier for them to know how to handle the journey from EU-USA. I'm very determined however, so I won't give up, even if it takes me over ten years to gather the money! :D
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Re: Around the globe to find the light

Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:19 pm

A few years back there was an International Burners Hostel that meant that there was some infrastructure there (I don't know what, I assume shade, maybe a kitchen, maybe showers) for people coming from that far away. Hagey used to arrange rideshares, too. It got to be an issue between him and his neighbors (he lived in Sparks, which for purposes of over seas burners is the same as Reno) and he burned out and that very great resource is no more. Doc seems to have taken up some of the slack in Barbie Death Village, which is a good thing. Anyway, all of the 10 Principles are ideals rather than absolutes. I don't think you can achieve any one, much less all 10. You'll find when you get there that there is a lot of people helping each other, strangers and friends both. So, plan with the idea of self-sufficiency in mind, but realize that the map is not the territory and all sorts of things that you didn't predict will happen and you'll have to improvise, and maybe ask for help. No shame at all attached--if you planned to be as self-reliant as possible. (We really hate people who plan to take advantage of the openness and generosity of others, but we are a helpful bunch.)
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