Maybe you’ve heard of Nowhere?
You might think I’m referring to the vast expanse of nothingness that occurs between the urban environments of our lives. In a way I am, but this time I’m referring to the European Regional Burn that happens in Spain. Appropriately named as it does in fact take place in the middle of nowhere.
$teven Raspa and I hit the road to find out just what was going on with the Euroburners. Armed with a citroen, loads of camping gear, water, food and the survival guide that contained very detailed directions on how exactly to FIND Nowhere, we hit the Spanish countryside.
The arid Spanish desert setting was very familiar. The air was dry, the heat was intense, the wind named “sierso” (so common it has a name!) would kick up small dust devils and brief white outs were normal. It certainly felt like Burning Man.
You might be concerned that there would be a huge language barrier when attending an event in a country where you don’t speak the language with participants mostly from other places and speaking different languages. So wrong! 23 nationalities were represented at Nowhere. At least 8 languages were commonly used to communicate and a few single speakers from places as far away as Finland were there. All in all, everyone seemed up to the challenge of interacting, even if language got in the way, everyone found a way to communicate and it did not stop lovely interactions and mass participation from happening.
The community was in such synch that when that sneaky wind the sierso kicked up and started to take a toll on the Middle of Nowhere (think Center Camp) structure that literally every single person at Nowhere came together to help hold it down and together until it could be safely brought down without incident.
It was that same spirit that brought everyone from Nowhere together for the Town Hall meeting. Pete and Steve took the opportunity to talk to people about the current issues: Leave No Trace and mooping, how the potties work, safety, and general announcements. Again, looking around and seeing so many people from so many places I was in complete awe of Nowhere.
It was an action packed week, full of art workshops, to name a few, the Ninjas taught origami, Snowstorm taught screen printing, Ruby hosted a pants decorating party. There was yoga with Tessa, active meditation with Swiss Chris, tea ceremonies, chai tea delivery, Munchkins, Costume Camp, el wire 101, The Miss Nowhere 2007 Beauty Pageant, so many things that it was impossible to do and see them all.
We even managed to have a small gathering of the Regional Contacts in attendance.
Thomas, Claudie and Stefan from Germany (alas our friend Axel had to go home but he would have been there if he could have). Eddy and Phillipe from Paris and Seanan from Ireland. A few people were off running workshops but there is interest in Spain and Switzerland as well.
Sitting among so many amazing people and cultures it really hit home that yes indeed, we are everywhere.
As ‘burn’ night rolled around, the citizens of Nowhere donned their finest and headed into the Middle of Nowhere for a true celebration. The Werkhaus (a la DPW) crew opened their bar and the dancing and celebration was well under way when Spanish camp led a procession into the area carrying the effigy. There is a burn ban in Spain so no fires were lit but there was a surprise smoky treat inside. The celebration continued well into the night.
As the week came to a close, camps started to disappear and the sparse landscape of Nowhere seemed to get a little bigger. By Monday, only a handful of people were left toiling away in the blistering hot sun and fighting that nasty sierso wind that had picked back up and was making tear down tricky.
Leaving Nowhere wasn’t easy. The connections made and the magic of that many people and cultures coming together for a week was intense. I have a whole new appreciation of what it must be like to travel from so far away to get to Burning Man now. Going Nowhere was a journey of epic proportions that will remain fresh in my mind for a long, long time.