The 10 Principles of Burning Man:

Life at the legendary event in the desert
Two months from now, Burning Man 2017 will open its doors to attendees from all around the world. We thought this would be a good time for us to revisit the legendary event's key principles and share with you some stories from those who went there. We asked our friend Jenia, who attended Burning Man last year, to tell us more about the event's 10 principles and share her experience with us.
Jenia Filatova
What is Burning Man?
Every year, thousands of people from all over the planet come together to build the Black Rock City — a seasonal community that embodies human collaboration, self-expression, creativity, and art.

While Burning Man does not have a single focus, its movement is loosely defined by 10 principles that are meant to protect its culture and values.

Radical Inclusion
— Burning Man gives everyone a chance to find whatever they miss in their ordinary lives. Some do yoga, some opt for a morning run, and some go for an orgy. Everyone is free to do whatever they please. Importantly, the community is open to people of all backgrounds and beliefs. Don't be surprised to discover among its participants couples with kids and even grandchildren, or billionaire owners of tech companies.
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— A trip to Burning Man involves some thoughtful preparation. Money is of little help to those who prepared poorly for the event. The only things it can buy are coffee and ice; the rest is only meant to be gifted. This doesn't mean that you should expect everything to be gifted, though. Rather, the idea is to learn to take possessions lightly and appreciate the smaller things in life. Also, see it as an opportunity to give back to others. There are people who simply walk around the playa with a Polaroid camera, taking photos of passer-bys and giving those photos away.
— This principle is closely related to Giving. In reality, it means that the event does not support sponsorships or any profit-oriented activities. Participation trumps consumption. Every other event would have sponsors, promotion booths, and car test-drives — not Burning Man.
Radical Self-Reliance
— Self-Reliance presumes responsibility. Even when things get crazy, it is important remember to take care of yourself. Drink plenty of water, avoid alcohol during the day when it's hot, ensure you don't fall asleep out in the cold of the desert, or take unknown substances from strangers.

Don't expect others to save you. Chances are, that is exactly what will happen, but it's best to rely on yourself. I was lucky to not have been involved in any stories, but I've heard of instances when people died after falling asleep outside and being run over by art cars.
Radical Self-Expression
— Do whatever you want, as long as you don't bother others. The good thing is, it would take a lot to bother someone because people are used to everything. Some take self-expression very seriously. You will meet people who spent months preparing handmade costumes to wear at the event.

Every day offers a chance to dress up, and the number of outfits can be endless. A friend of mine brought fourteen — two for each day.
Communal Effort
— First work, then play. If you are an artist at Burning Man, you will probably work for seven days before the event building and object, putting all your effort to create a new world. Only after that do you get a chance to relax and have fun. And if the idea of building an art object does not excite you, you may opt to volunteer — for instance, to make coffee or put on camp lights.
Civic Responsibility
— It's important to remember that Burning Man is also governed by the laws of the U.S. and the state of Nevada. This means, for example, that you will get carded when buying alcohol at the bars. That's why the more experienced participants scan they IDs ahead of time, and print them on their own mugs that they carry around when going out to bars.
Leaving No Trace
— After the event, the Black Rock desert is expected to remain as pristine as it was initially. It is impressive how serious people are about this rule. Using soap to wash your hands? Do so over a tray to make sure no trace of soap soaks into the ground. All the water is eventually transported away.

A lot of people are concerned about hygiene (or lack thereof) when planning their trip. In reality, it's not that big of a deal. Of course, in my ordinary life I would wash my hair daily, but at Burning Man twice a week did the trick — either way, your whole body gets covered with sand the moment you get out of the shower.
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— In just one week with the help of thousands of people the desert turns into a city. But that does not mean everyone is involved in building it. Some feed the artists, and transport food in their art cars. Some open bars, yoga studios, or bike repair shops. Others chose to prepare food or deliver cold beer around the playa. The extreme conditions of living in the desert make it easy for people to realize that they can be helpful to others.
— The festival teaches you to be more open to whatever life throws at you; to trust luck, live in the moment, and enjoy the present. Once you leave your accommodation, you don't know what happens to you or when you will be back. And with the abundance of options, everyone gets to experience exactly the things that they came for.