Burning Habits in 30 Days

Newsflash: Burning Man is soon. (Cue panic…go on, panic. I’ll wait. Ok? Are you back? Great, read on.) A quick spin through the internet will tell you that it takes approximately 21-30 days to create a new habit. Even if you procrastinate for a few days (oh, you), there’s still time to get in the groove of some useful habits before the gates of Black Rock City (metaphorically…no actual gates, but lots of Gate) swing open to embrace your soon-to-be-dusty butt.

For what things should I be developing a pattern of behavior, you might inquire? I’m glad you asked.

Image by Olga Degtjarewsky

Ride Your Bike
That aforementioned butt will thank you. Begin by riding down to your locally-owned bike shop and getting your trusty steed a tuneup. Make sure you have an extra tube for on playa, while you’re at it. Then, go ride your bike, a little bit every day! Roll down a street you’ve never explored, run some errands, obtain a baguette and pedal home with it sticking out of your bike basket. If you don’t get used to riding your bike now, your first few biking days on playa will be sore ones. There should be certain cuss words reserved specifically for the feeling of mounting your bike first thing in the morning after riding a lot the day before, if you’re unused to being in the saddle. I bet there’s a German word for it.

Drink Water
If you’ve not developed the custom of sipping at water all the livelong day, it’s easy to forget once you’re surrounded by the constant overstimulation of Burning Man. Plus, the first few days of increased water intake, your body tends to want to urinate frequently. Better to get this adjustment period out of the way now, rather than on the long drive down Highway 447 or sitting in line at the Gate. Proper prior planning prevents prolific peeing, my grandmother used to say. Just as important is keeping your electrolytes in balance, and you can’t do that by drinking plain water. Add in some electrolyte powder to your water once or twice a day, or indulge in a can of coconut water. Protip: Coconut water with no added sugar can be found at Asian grocery stores for much cheaper than the designer brands at fancy natural-foods shops.

Talk to Strangers
Burning Man is the friendliest place on earth. It’s sometimes difficult, however, to go from zero to talking-to-everybody, particularly if you tend towards being shy. (Hey friend, if you’re shy, here’s some Tips for Shy People at Burning Man that might help). Getting into the groove of positive interactions with strangers, even just inconsequential exchanges in line at the grocery store or at the laundromat, will make sure you roll into Black Rock City ready to participate. Not to mention that once you’re putting out happy, interactive energy, you might just find that the world is smiling along with you.

See you in the dust!


Brody works in the Art Department. You can find her at or at the ARTery on-playa if you want a hug.

About the author: Brody Scotland

Brody Scotland is a native Californian and recovering shy person who enjoys hugs and snacks. Brody first attended Burning Man in 2004, found out that she doesn't actually know how to “go to Burning Man,” and started volunteering in 2005. Her mission in life is to increase the amount of happiness in the world, and she would like someone to teach her how to carve a wooden bear with a chainsaw. These two things are not necessarily related.

5 Comments on “Burning Habits in 30 Days

  • floyd says:

    occasional standing-up instead of sitting on your saddle all day long helps! a lot.

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  • moola says:

    I was very very shy my first year. It seemed like there was a wall between me and everyone else having fun. Then I snorted a few lines of cocaine and everything was amazing! I was the life of the party. I met so many cool people. Then someone gave me a hit of E right when I was coming down from the coke, and I launched into pure LOVE. I was one with everything and everyone. Such an incredible experience.

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  • Janet says:


    you really don’t need to take drugs to get over your shyness at burning man. i camp with a lot of hot guys, and i always have sex with the leader of whatever camp i’m at. that breaks the ice, and the other women and guys accept you once they know you’re having sex with the leader.

    plus it’s really fun! except when the guy is really fat or gross. but it’s still worth it.

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  • Finn says:

    I’ve found that completely overdoing (everything) on the first day, puking on your neighbors, and hanging out at the med tent is a really great way to break the ice.

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  • nikOpeachZ says:


    the German word for mounting your bike after you haven’t ridden in 51 weeks then spent a night charging sand dunes is “SaddleFreude”. There will be plenty of it this year.

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