(door creaking open) - Imagine walking down the sidewalk and you come across a sign that says free tea, and you look in the door and there's a magical hobbit home.
Everything in here would have been considered waste by someone at some point.
The process of building this bus was to reincorporate these waste things into this pile of trash that I call Edna.
(tranquil music) - [Ally] I'm Ally.
- [Guisepi] And I'm Guisepi.
We've been on the road together for about 5 1/2 years.
After college, I moved into a pickup truck and went to LA to work in the film industry, and I was working 50, 60, sometimes 70 hours a week.
I didn't know anyone, I didn't have any friends, and so I just started going down to Hollywood Boulevard and opening the tailgate of my pickup truck and cooking dinner.
(dishes clanking) (lighting fire) (cracking eggs) And what I found is that when I pulled up my camp stove and started cooking dinner, people stopped and asked me what I was doing, and I would always cook a little bit of extra and invite them over to eat dinner with me.
I started meeting people of all walks of life, I had street kids hanging out with TV producers and club promoters.
To keep those interactions going after dinner, I would just put the kettle on and make tea for hours.
(kettle sizzling) And so I served tea on and off for about three months on Hollywood Boulevard, and pretty soon people were like, "Hey, when are you gonna be serving tea again?"
"Hey, it's the tea man!
", "Hey, tea guy!"
And I was like, 'I don't even know if I like tea.'
But, I guess, I'll be the tea man.
And then, about 10 years ago, I bought this bus.
I knew that it was going to be a mobile, free tea house.
- [Ally] The act of serving tea is creating a point of connection with another in that it wakes up this thing that we didn't even know they were missing.
It's offering up the ingredients of what inspires community.
- [Guisepi] I hang out for a few minutes.
- [Bearded Man] How did you guys wind up in this place?
- I bought this bus in order to turn it into a free tea house.
A little, empty, yellow school bus.
- And then you did all this work?
- [Guisepi] I always like to say the trees did most of the work.
(laughing) And all the hard stuff.
- There's a theme here, it's about generosity.
- [Guisepi] Yeah.
- Generous to the trees.
- Yeah, well they deserve the credit, ya know?
- I've talked to you about meeting new people and then being in their spaces and, like, being a new guest.
There's something that's really, really taxing for me... - Yup.
Well, and that's... - And when it becomes so many.
I think that the road that you and I have experienced is very different.
(tranquil music) - [Ally] Spending the last five years aboard the bus together.
Now I'm daydreaming about a stationary home and I realized the goal is to make a home that I feel is my own, that I can basically have a gathering space to share.
- [Guisepi] I don't think that Ally has felt like the tea bus has been her home as much as I have felt that its been home.
(soft calming music) We are thinking about making a permanent home base.
(stepping up stairs) What do you think Ally, is this a big enough space up here for you and I to have a little, tiny home?
- [Ally] Yeah.
- [Guisepi] Yeah.
- I think this could work great for us.
- To actually, physically be in this space feels really nice.
- Yeah, I just start to see visions that I have come alive.
I see people hanging out around the fire, I see people who want to be in the kitchen together, preparing for the winter.
I just start to see all those things come alive, and I can feel that while I'm in here.
- We're in this really odd place.
We're hunkered in for the winter, in this apartment above my mom's garage.
I have my own internal conflict going on of what... What life is, and what the next steps are.
I built my home and lived in it for a decade in the tea bus, but being here has really allowed us to hunker in to a collaborative home space.
- And that's definitely what I've been wanting.
- [Guisepi] I don't know what the future holds.
If we make home here, we would continue to go out on trips to serve tea, and to go places.
- [Ally] And offer the kind of generosity that's been offered to us on the road.
(soft guitar music)