Sipping Tea with tea-time-traveler Guisepi

Together with Edna, the old white school bus and loyal companion, Guisepi travels the west coast of the U.S. from the North to the South, serving free tea to all kinds of folks wherever he goes. And there is only one thing that matters to him and which drives him: bringing together people from different social classes, with different interests and intents, only by making some conversation whilst enjoying a cup of tea.

More than eight years have passed since Guisepi came up with the idea to start the Free Tea Bus project. At that time he lived in a truck in Hollywood and worked as a video editor. In his free time he was on the road—then still without Edna, the 1989 Ford / Thomas bus—and held his Free Tea Parties on the tailgate of his truck; but the idea was already born and developed over the following years to something even larger.

But how did the idea of this tea project arise? Guisepi himself says that some suspect he has been raised by baboons in Amazonian South America, sipping Maté while swinging from vine to vine. Others think that he is actually the son of a llama from the Himalayas who has drunk tea to beat off the cold and for meditational clarity. Basically, and this is probably closest to the truth, Guisepi grew up in Washington State and there were only some rare moments in which he came into touch with tea. Namely the few times he got sick and his mother brewed a classic herbal tea for his recovery. Well – looks like Guisepi‘s affection to tea wasn‘t actually predictable. But fortunately, chance often drives us in unknown directions. And because of this, Guisepi now is a real tea expert, to be called Tea-sippi.

As Guisepi started his free tea project it was not forseeable how the pouring of free tea would affect his guests and how the project would develop. Meanwhile, he and Edna have already gone everywhere – to the Tenderloins in San Francisco, the hot springs of Oregon, the streets in Friday Harbor, the beaches of Northern California, the parking lots of national forests and parks, and they have also visited some music events – everytime with the goal to bring together people from all walks of life.

While traveling the roads of Southern California, Guisepi lives as sustainable as possible. He gets his electricity from solar energy panels, Edna herself feels comfortable sipping biofuels, mostly biodiesel and waste vegetable oil. Even the water for the sink is heated by the thermal energy of the engine. This independence allows Guisepi to travel inexpensively and to also offer tea free of charge. This is what it‘s all about – give something without expecting anything material in return. Guisepi has also discovered that he lives much more the life he loves with less money, that money often forestalls human interaction. When he earned much money, he bought new instead of fixing beloved old things, he went out to eat instead of cooking at home, consumed more than he needed.

So much cups of tea were served by Guisepi, but we still don’t know which tea is his all time favorite. Guisepi at least says: “Whatever’s in my cup!”. Whether it’s green or black tea in the morning, the stimulating Maté, or the Holy Maté for long trips on which he has to keep fit. And if it should even be something without caffeine, then Guisepi selects one of the many interesting herbal tea blends, for example, the Peace Blend with spearmint, chamomile, lavender, cinnamon, passion flower, and rose petals.

For the last year, Guisepi has now been on a two-year tour through North America and will leave the west coast behind in order to bring other people closer to his project. In September 2014 he is heading to Arizona first. So keep your eye out for our two friends. And if you will find them, for sure, you will meet some awesome folks, make some friends, and have a good time.

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