MAN Converts BUS Into TINY HOME as Proof Money isn’t the KEY TO HAPPINESS


This episode is brought to you by Ecosia. Downloaded Ecosia today to effortlessly plant trees. My name is Giuseppe Spadafora and this
is Edna Lou the free tea bus. Other than being my home for the last ten years
this bus is also a mobile free tea house. I grew up traveling abroad with my
family, my grandparents, and then I went to a traveling high school as well so
experience real learning was a big part of the curriculum. Traveling inside the
country in middle school and outside the country to Asia, Central America in high
school. About two weeks after I turned 18 I hopped my first freight train and I
spent ten years on off riding freight trains and hitchhiking in between living
in my truck and the beginning of living in this bus. I loved riding freight trains
and hitchhiking because it gave me a ton of freedom even if I did lose a lot of
security but living in a vehicle I felt like I still maintained a lot of that
freedom but had a little more security a little more grounded. I bought this
bus. It’ll be 10 years ago in March. I moved into it the day I bought it so
this bus is 99 percent salvaged wood 75 percent hardware including
screws, plumbing, latches, fixtures. It runs on recycled vegetables so there’s a lot
of that reclaimed element to this so it wasn’t like I could just go into the
store and buy parts and hardware and wood. I really wanted to seek them out
find them. Most of the conversion took place in the first five years. It was a
very slow process but also very intentional. So many elders and community
members kind of helped make this project happen. People helping with design
elements and teaching me how to weld. I didn’t have a lot of skills when I
started this, this was a learning process. So this is Edna Lou the free tea bus. It’s
a 1989 short bus on a Ford Econoline chassis with
a 7.3 liter diesel motor pre power stroke. This is a handicap door. This
opens up when I’m serving Tea. This is my solar battery setup two trojan t105 six
volt golf cart batteries. It’s powered by a 320 watt solar panel on the roof. I
also have the ability to charge if I want to from my engine. This is a 30
gallon that clean vegetable oil tank. I learned how to weld stainless steel just
to build my vegetable tanks. On the other side I’ve got a 60 gallon dirty vegetable
tank. So this is my hidden ladder that’s for accessing my roof box, cleaning my
solar panel. I can also come up through the skylight on the inside. Inside some
of these like cross members there’s telescopic poles they kind of come out
to create a shade structure. One of my favorite newer projects are these
sliding screens. I really like having screens on my windows it’s super
crucial in buggy areas but I also like having access out the windows and not
having them in the way. This is my water fill. I have a 42 gallon freshwater tank.
The drain for the water tank is right here. It also acts as an outdoor spigot.
Outdoor speakers, waterproof speakers, for dance parties on the street. I tend not
to use fossil fuels for very much but I do have a propane tank under here
and five gallons of propane will last me about three months. I should show you my
workshop this is my tool shed so this area is kind of where a lot of
my tools are. I really like tools and hardware. This is all my vegetable oil stuff
so no vegetable oil stuff really hangs out inside the vehicle like a lot of
vegetable oil systems except for this box. This is my pump and funnel and some
stuff like that. Sorry we’re a little tight here.
So this bracket here this is for my sink head it has a sprayer function and it
goes out the window and goes right here and this is my shower. This is where I
mount my centrifuge for centrifuging vegetable oil so that’s for cleaning
vegetable oil on the road. My dirty vegetable tank is mounted underneath
here. This is my vegetable oil filters to catch any last debris after
centrifuging. I’ve got some controls here as well for adjusting pressure to the
centrifuge. Now come on inside of Edna. I have a co-pilot chair here. This
guy rotates and faces forward. My inverter is underneath here. This is just
a nice little storage box. It’s got a fold down front that allows a passenger
to put their feet down. So this shelf is on a hinge it’s really nice. The tool
bucket rotates. This is the bookshelf. This is so nice to have. It’s not you
know the best idea to put a bunch of weight up high these whole things can
come out and if I’m doing an event if I want to put my library out this is a
unit that’s a unit that can come out. Each one of these gauges does two things
gauges are expensive but switches are cheap so like this gauge this is my
clean vegetable oil tank and if I flip the switch it goes to my dirty vegetable tank
which is a little over half full. So this area, this is my closet. It kind of drops
down in the back and the shoe storage underneath all of the clothes and then
below here hidden comfortably as a seat this is the solar-powered fridge. The
first thing a lot of people notice when they come inside of here is this wood
stove. This is a navigator stove works little Cod. This thing is amazing. It
heats the space plenty. You can also make tea on it. Most people don’t realize that
burners on wood stoves were designed to be taken out to put
your cast iron or tea kettles like this directly into the flame. One of the
systems I’m building right now is this it’s a copper pipe a copper gutter
downspout and the way this works is a vent system that goes all the way
down to the coldest part of the floor so basically the wood stove heats the pipe
the air in the pipe heats up which causes it to rise which sucks the
coldest air into the pipe which creates a mini convection current so the coldest
air is constantly being drawn up and heated. This is my roll around table
bench chair, the cutting board, but it’s also the wood storage box. Never burn
chemically treated pallets look for HT or KD on the stamp on the side. Never
burn pallets that say MD, methylbromide. This is the kitchen area. I have running water.
The hot water is heated by waste engine heat. There’s a water filter. This is a
ceramic water filter with a carbon core. When you’re done with it you just
smash it apart, throw it in nature, make sure there’s only one plastic cap that’s
trash. Got an electric pump for the sink but I also have a foot pump. It’s much
easier to conserve water with the foot pump. There’s a kick pedal here which is
basically just an old headlight switch from the floor of, actually it was from
the floor of this bus, and that turns on the water pump right there so I can kick
it on and off whenever I want. I have just a regular two burner camp stove
that comes out right here. Everything is salvaged so everything has
a story and then like you know I’ve got my mirror here inside of my like, this is
kind of my bathroom stuff, you can take that off. I can hang it for shaving or
you know put it here. It’s nice to have things that come off like that.
Everything is storage. This is my pantry. When the beds down you can also access
it from the front here got my 12-volt power my 110 power. This is coming up my
inverter that essentially doubles the counter space. I like to do a lot of
fermenting and canning so this just adds a lot of space for kitchen work. This
kind of is access to the rear tool area and of course all this is storage as
well clothes and gear. I have these little fold down latches here. It allows
you to have a latch on the inside. On the outside this is my cold storage so this
is on top of the water tank so using the thermal mass of the water tank to kind
of help regulate temperature keep things a little cooler. The bed is held up by
these supports while driving and stuff. There’s also the support in the middle
here slides out so basically you let out the bed and rotate the supports out of
the way now the bed is just hanging on these strings. One of each string
controls one side of the bed and voila bed is down so this is an
extra-long twin you can throw in a couple extra supports and it does slide
out to a king size all the way up to the sink. The other great thing about this
bed is that if you’re parked on a slant on an angle which most streets are you
can simply raise one end tie it off and then you have a level bed. This is
700-pound P cord parachute cord and that’s plenty of weight to hold up two
people yeah. It’s all double backed on the pulleys so it’s not super heavy just
do one side at a time. So the way this is designed is it’s
designed to pull out the wood box that rolls over here and you stick a cushion
on it and it’s really easy. It’s just a little bit higher than this so
you can sit at it cross-legged very kind of erect because the seat is a little
higher I can fit my computer. All of these are like slide-out drawers with
desk type stuff in them. It’s also adjustable based on what level the bus
is sitting at. This is the first thing people see when they come to the tea bus.
This is a really special place because in our society we’ve been trained that we
always need to have one-for-one interactions. I have to give you
something if I’m gonna get something or vice versa and that money is the most
valuable thing in the world. People offer me money all the time. I don’t
accept monetary tips and donations while serving tea because I want to create a
completely non-monetary experience. I found that that’s the best way to create
the most genuine interactions. Because people always trying to give me money I
created the gift and take area. The gift and take. The idea’s anyone can put in and
anyone can take out. It’s not a one-for-one interaction. You don’t have
to put in in order to take out or vice versa. Tou can do both, you could do
neither. It’s a series of drawers. This one is the money drawer. People trip out
on this because you can come to the free tea bus and you can get free tea and if
you want you can get free money. The idea is to put people in the position of
taking personal responsibility for themselves in relation to the whole. The
really interesting part is that in 9 years of having a gift and take with
money and tens of thousands of people interacting with it, only one time was it
ever emptied and that one time was someone who was in need and so it’s just
kind of fun to rethink human nature. When you share with someone you’re
saying to them, “hey I want to build a relationship with you” or “I want to see
you succeed.” Whenever sharing occurs it strengthens
and reinforces a bond. For me it’s all about building bonds and relationships
because those are super valuable. When multiple bonds are created and bonds are
strengthened and the response between people that’s the foundation of
resilience in the community. That’s the foundation of having your needs met
without having to focus on pieces of paper. Oftentimes change in our lives
doesn’t happen all at once. One of the most valuable things that I feel like I
can say to someone who is seeking something different is to take steps,
don’t get caught up in doing everything at once.
There’s this idea in permaculture of transitional epochs it’s like: This is
where we are. This is where we want to be. And there are steps to get here. You can’t
just jump from point A to point B. My main goal is to create a more sharing
world. The way that I do that is by sharing. Once our basic needs are met
humans are not innately self-interested. We’re actually very community oriented
beings. I hope you enjoyed this week’s episode. If you did be sure to LIKE
comment and subscribe. I’m currently in Joshua Tree which is a desert and
amazing ecosystem. I’m sure you like the outdoors as much as I do and that’s why
you’re gonna love Ecosia. Ecosia is a search engine for all of
your searching needs and for every 40 searches they plant a tree. That’s a cacti.
I’m in the desert and so I like to casually plant trees you know no big
deal. If you’d like to casually plant trees you can download Ecosia.
Download Ecosia today and plant a tree for every 40 searches or so. I bet that
you can plant 10 trees. If you would like to effortlessly plant trees and
contribute and give back to our ecosystem use Ecosia and feel relief
knowing that you’re helping make a better tomorrow.
Big Love. Have a great day. Got a spine in my finger, went through the gloves.

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