For those of us in our later years, the decision to attend Burning Man can be daunting. Black Rock City is not a comfortable vacation choice; in fact, it’s almost the opposite of the type of escape most older people seek, such as luxury cruises or full-service respites at hotels and resorts. It requires a willingness to live within the Burning Man principle of Radical Self-Reliance, which entails a high level of preparation followed by surviving in the harsh high-desert environment (see the Burning Man Survival Guide for how to prepare).
But there’s a payback for all this pain: Burning Man is probably the only “vacation” you can take that is practically guaranteed to make you feel like a younger, more vibrant individual. There are at least four reasons for this magical effect:
1. Whimsy. Every minute of every day at Burning Man will make you laugh, or at least smile broadly; and since humor has often been cited for its healthfulness, the whimsy of Burning Man is bound to make you feel better. From creatively constructed art cars to crazy costumes to massive art installations, there’s always something to brighten your day. And the best part is that you can become part of this whimsy by taking rides on art cars, interacting with the art installations, and wearing costumes and outfits that free you from personal hang-ups and your restrictive self-image. You’re bound to leave the Burn feeling happier, looser and younger.
2. Physicality. You’re going to be walking and bike-riding many miles everyday, and you certainly won’t be spending couch time watching television (there’s no reception on the Playa). It takes plenty of physical effort even to watch a movie at Burning Man, because you’ve got to walk or bike to one of the film venues. By the end of the Burn, you may be exhausted, but you’ll also have become more physically active than you’ve been in years. Your body will gain the benefits of so much activity, and it might just push you to change your lifestyle for the better on a permanent basis. That will be a good thing for your health, wellbeing and youthfulness.
3. Inclusion. You’ll meet a variety of people you’re unlikely to run into in your day-to-day life, and you’ll find yourself appreciating them for their intrinsic human qualities as opposed to rejecting them for their outward appearance. Tattoos, piercings, nudity – all traits that you might normally find repulsive or off-putting – will become a standard part of your life at the Burn, and you’ll find yourself appreciating the individuals deep inside those extrinsic quirks. Because Burning Man rigidly follows its “Radical Inclusion” principle, you’ll meet the outliers of society – the flaming hippies, the assertive gays and lesbians, the anarchists and political extremists (on all sides), as well as average people and even corporate executives. At the love-fest that is Burning Man, you’ll find yourself making friends with people from the full spectrum of humanity – and that openness to new and different people will change your life, relax you wherever you go, and – yes – make you feel younger.
4. Eroticism. Sexuality is all around you at Burning Man. From open nudity, to lectures and demonstrations about ways to expand your own sexual experiences, to erotically charged camps that teach BDSM and other techniques to break down your personal barriers — sex is impossible to ignore at Burning Man. The power of eroticism as a life-force is likely not only to charge up your own sex life, but to make you feel younger and more vital long after the Burn has ended.
Those are a few of the reasons why we always find that Burning Man makes all the effort well worthwhile. See you on the Playa.