Those were more or less the first words that were shouted at us, when we all left the bus. For more than just a few, it was really a homecoming, but for me it was more the reassurance that I would be welcomed here, in this dusty, colourful and surprisingly loud place near Sarinam, that place called Nowhere.
I’ve been fascinated with Burner festivals since I read that Burning Man writeup in the Wired all those years ago in the late nineties. A festival in the desert? A place where everyone is accepted, where money is not a thing? To experience things in the moment, and then not leaving a physical trace afterwards? Not to mention all that art, either as objects or performance.
Anyway, when I learned that there isn’t just Burning Man, but a whole subculture of Burner festivals all over the globe, with one of these happening in the relative european neighbourhood, my plan was fixed: I would go there, and see things for myself!
And that is why, two weeks ago, I found myself in a dry riverbed valley, being greeted by half‐naked hippies and throwing myself into the dust, making a very hot and dry and dusty snow angel. I was determined to be accepting and in‐the‐moment, come hell or high water!
What I got was heat, dust, techno music and two thousand loving hippies. Which was at the same time exactly what I expected, and also not at all what I was prepared for.
Let me say this: If you are even a mildly extrovert person, and if you don’t have a passionate hatred for all things Techno, this is the event you should experience at least once in your life. If you are more like me, an introvert person with a more than passing dislike for all things that go UNZ‐UNZ‐UNZ, then you should still go, but prepare yourself a bit better than I did.
Because Nowhere is exhausting. Physically, on account of all the heat, mentally, because your senses will be constantly blasted with new and exiting things, and emotionally, as you will be warmly greeted as soon as you show up, but can also be completely ignored and feel invisible from the moment on you start drawing back into your shell.
This is not something malicious, but probably not quite by accident either: The strong ethos of acceptance, consent and tolerance ensures that if you see someone doing whatever, your instinct isn’t: „oh, that is horrible, I should stop them doing that!“ but rather „Hmm, not my idea of fun, but they know themselves best, right?“
So, fellow introverts, if you go there, be aware that you need to communicate rather strongly and insistently. Then people will happily take you along to all the weird and fun things.
And boy, there were weird and fun things happening at Nowhere. Personally, I've officiated a wedding at this temple, celebrated christmas, listened to the story of the demon hostel of Montenegro, slept on a heap of pillows in the middle of an ongoing party, danced through the night, succombed to a hippie trap, learned how to give better massages and had a great time for most of the trip.
All in all, I was utterly unprepared for what happened to me there. And I’m not sure I’ll ever be…