Some of you might know this, but a little back story
I finished my studies in Germany (Master's in Molecular Medicine) in march and moved back to Israel to visit family and friends for 2.5 months.
Before that, I became interested in Burning Man and the culture associated with it. Due to the fact that I don't have the money to fly to the states and join the main event, I opted for checking out the local burning man community and volunteer in building up the israeli playa in their main event called MidBurn.
Today, was the first workshop for the volunteers, we were told to come to a beach in central israel where an unofficial birthday/wedding burn was happening (which I didn't know until 2 days ago).
Now you must know that burners (thats how they are called) have a set of 10 principles that they follow and they do follow them, really.
When I arrived there, I was greeted by a random guy who had nothing to do with the workshop and simply noticed that I looked like I was new. I noticed straight away that the people there (and the guy that greeted me) were dressed funny, a little hippie, a little freaky, which goes well with one of the principles, Radical self expression.
A tent with Dj was set up, some people were camping with tents, some were juggling or playing poi, others sleeping or clearly under the influence of something (or weren't they?). All that on the beach, it was a nice setup and I liked it.
I started talking to some people, my hebrew is not good enough to have a deep conversation, so I was a little shy to talk in english. Interestingly, no one made the effort to come and talk to me, I had to do the first steps most of the time. I am not sure if this is just they way it is or its part of the principles.
Overall people were very open about sharing their drink, smoke, food etc. with me. Which is also part of the principles. Gifting.
Some people took their self expression seriously, stripping naked and fornicating in the water. This was a little bit shocking for me, but it did not last long, I understood it and was fine with it. I even liked it, because no one cared, as if it was the most normal thing in the world, and I liked that too.
Which brings me to the most important part (which is why I like this community). Radical inclusion.
Being an arab israeli, it is often non-trivial to be treated equal (or not judged) when I meet with jewish people (which was the vast majority of the attending burners). I liked not being judged, or at least not clearly seeing that I was judged. Its refreshing.
I felt a little bit lonely there though. I am used to have my set of friends around me that introduce me to their friends and then just go from there. Here I was alone, on my own, I had to do the first steps. It did bug me in the beginning, but I got used to it, and being alone, enjoying the music and waves and sun is nice too. Btw, this is also a principle. Radical self-reliance.
You rely on yourself, you bring everything you need to have the best experience possible with you, and a gift (remember gifting?), so I figured that it might also mean that I rely on myself socially too, as no one I know would introduce me to other people, I had to do that myself. This is maybe a step too far thought, but we will see.
I played some poi with people, talked about our origins and burning man, but not too much.
After about 7 hours with the burners, I had to leave. They are partying hard right now (drugs are apparently also a part of the experience, which I don't mind at all).
Went home with mixed feelings. On one hand it was interesting to experience this different way of dealing with one another but I also missed the normal social dynamics. Maybe I was just too shy on my part here.
I am looking forward to the next meeting, I will report what happens next time :)
P.S: no pictures because I rarely had my phone with me for those 7 hours, which is also refreshing! Edit: some corrections, clearly too tired yesterday :D