non-numeric refAs you wander into your camp at the end of an amazing week at Burning Man, your friend turns to you and says, “I wish I could live like this all the time.”
Your immediate response is to yell, “What, are you freaking crazy?” Followed by a list of reasons from food to hygiene to exhaustion that it is not possible. And ultimately, a seed is planted and you start to think what would a lifestyle based on your experience during that one week in the desert really look like.
Over the past 6 months I have visited 25 communities around the USA and Canada and I have found that living “like this” all year round is not only possible, it takes on a wide variety of shapes and sizes.
non-numeric refIt looks like Sally, a young professional. She is accomplished in her field and well-regarded by her co-workers. Everyone knows she goes to Burning Man and the local regional event. Those are her holidays and she gets them every year. During the evenings and weekends, she paints, organizes events around town, and occasionally performs. She is part of several overlapping communities that revolve around her art, a board game group, and the time she volunteers for the food bank as part of Burners Without Borders. This is what living this lifestyle all the time can look like.
Mike is moving into his first house with Cindy, the wife he met at Interfuse 3 years ago. She is a yoga teacher and he is a carpenter. They organize burlesque shows and donate the proceeds to a different charity chosen before each event. They have no children but are already talking about it. They are active with a local community of Burners and regularly attend all the major events in the area. But they are spending more time organizing shows, helping friends with other projects, working on their art, and hosting small dinner parties. The have only been to Burning Man once in the 10 years they have been involved with the local Burner community. This is what living this lifestyle all the time can look like.
Jim can be cranky sometimes but man does he come up with some crazy ideas, knows how to get them done, and he sure can make you laugh. Everyone knows that they can count on him for help and knowledge about how to wire anything. His metal sculptures are amazing. After years of challenges, he is now making money off of his art and gets to travel extensively. About every 3 years — sometimes more, sometimes less — he takes a large piece out to Burning Man. This is what living this lifestyle all the time can look like. non-numeric ref
The Groups are a group of intentional communities spread around the city. The all work together to create larger-than-life events. Each house has its own ethos, style and purpose. The annual Thanksgiving day party at one of the larger houses has become a staple of the local scene. Everyone living in this community has made art, music or performance a daily part of their lives. Some have called these urban theme camps. The housing ranges from a large farm house to industrial lofts. You can count on an event happening in one of the spaces at least once a month and you know you have a place to do that performance you have been working on. Because as much as these are living spaces, they are community spaces too. This is what living this lifestyle all the time can look like.
As many attendees as there have been out to Burning Man over the years, there are ways to live this lifestyle all year round. There are a few things you can do .
non-numeric ref1) Participate! Reach out to your local community. There are communities everywhere. If you happen to live in a place without a community, start watching the Burning Man email list for your area. During the coming months, there will be people on these lists looking for someone in their area and you could be that person. And this connection could be the seed that grows into your own local community.
2) Find a way to express your creativity. This can come in many forms: production, cat herder, performer, aikido, or craftsperson to name just a few. It doesn’t matter the form just as long as you are doing something.
3) Be willing to experiment with many forms of this lifestyle until you find a one that fits. Not everyone wants to live in a 24/7 loft space with no schedule. And it might not make sense to drop everything and start making a film. Living a lifestyle based on your experience with a Burning Man or Regional Event is possible if you want.