Every year I go to Burning Man, at some point it reaches a boiling point, and the reality of it all begins to overwhelm. I start second guessing myself. Am I forgetting something? Do I have enough food, water, equipment, booze?
Black Rock City is an amazing place, but it's also a dangerous place. The conditions are extremely harsh, and those of us that take the Radical Self Reliance Principle seriously, don't want to be caught unprepared. In years past I have always been over prepared, but that was when I went with my kids in tow. When going alone, I find myself in an odd middle ground between wanting to be prepared and wanting to stick to the KISS method. You know, Keep It Simple Stupid.
The thing is, it takes a lot of planning to go to the desert for spontaneous expression. You have to plan for water (one and a half gallons a day), food and the storage of perishables (there's a dry ice strategy to be employed), wardrobe (that is equal in both form and function), gifts (preferably hand made and/or pragmatic), health care (sun screen, baby wipes, hand sanitizer) and equipment (including a bike, tools, illumination, zip ties, and Gorilla tape). Getting ready for a full week of Radical Self Reliance, where you are completely responsible for your own well being, requires forethought and imagination. But that's OK, because that's a lot of what Burning Man is about: forethought and imagination.
The Playa is a place where one can be at the whim of imagination. Creativity is encouraged. Realization of vision is admired. As a community we dare to do brave things that we wouldn't do in the Default World. We hug like we mean it, all the time. We practice generosity. And although one of our principles is Radical Self Reliance, we look out for each other. Art and expression are the foundations of our culture, as is acceptance and participation. It's no wonder that when we get there, the greeters always say, "Welcome Home."