Seeking Winter Writing Retreat – Southwest United States

Edna needs some R&R time.
Edna needs some R&R time.

Hello, my community! Edna Lu (the Free Tea Bus) and I are looking for a place in the SW to hunker in for a few months this winter to finish writing The Tea Bus Factory Service Manual. As many of you know, I’ve been working on this book for a few years. I’m currently about 3/4th of the way done writing, and I need a place to finish it!

About a retreat space: So many places I go, I feel a great sense of wanting to reciprocate and help out (usually by fixing and building things). I need a place now to help my community in a different way: by finishing writing a free book that empowers people.

Necessities in a retreat space:

–       Space – I need to be able to hunker with little distraction. Mostly, I simply need a semi-level place to park Edna without lots of shade (need solar power to run my computer).
–       Nearby access to real food – Preferably 1 hour or less of a drive to a town that has real (organic/local) food.
–       WiFi and/or Verizon 4G data service. I need these things for research. I’d be open to not having these things onsite if it were easy to bike or walk to them.
–       Warmer nights (in the 40s+) or, if not, access to firewood (I’m pretty good at finding wood, whether in the forest, scrap, pallets, etc.).

Bonuses in a retreat space:
–       Access to a shower and toilet.
–       Access to water for filling my water tank.
–       Access to soil/plants to dump my greywater tank on.
–       Nearby town where I can serve up some free tea once every week or two.

Extreme bonuses:
–       Food provided.
–       Access to a workshop for a few small bus projects.

Time and location of retreat space:
I’m open to anywhere in the Southwest United States, and potentially even northern Mexico (Baja?). Sorry Texas, I can’t make it this time around. Currently, I’m in Colorado and plan on heading south in late November. Temperatures seem most welcoming in southern Arizona, and even southeast California (Slab City?). I’ve been looking at some free campsites about 45 minutes outside Phoenix, as well as some spots outside Tucson. I’d rather not be in the mountains due to cold, but I could be open to it with proper access to firewood.

About the book:
The Tea Bus Factory Service manual is a guide for small-scale, mobile, off-grid, low-cost, DIY, earth-friendly, and reclaimed living systems that uses Edna Lu, the Free Tea Bus as an example. Some of the systems and topics included are: water and plumbing, electricity and solar, WVO and biodiesel, coolant and utilizing waste engine heat, healthier options, reclaiming materials of all sorts and using them, and some of the philosophical ideas that guide these physical manifestations. One of the main aims of this book is to empower people with their own projects like tiny houses, vehicle conversions, off-grid cabins, and more. When people are able to live a more connected life to the things that make them live, they can focus less on “making a living” and more on things that are important to them. The book will be available to all for free as a PDF download, however I may eventually make a donation-based print version.

Thanks for taking the time to consider if you have a space, or know someone who does. Please share this post with people who you think may be able to help.

Thank you in advance!

Guisepi (and Edna Lu, the Free Tea Bus)


12 responses to “Seeking Winter Writing Retreat – Southwest United States”

  1. Katie Ray Avatar
    Katie Ray

    Hey Guisepi!

    I know your note says no texas but i couldn’t help but offer Alpine and our backyard – shop and some meals included! We do fit all the criteria very well…just saying.

    hope you are well friend. come back and visit sometime. Our daughter is 2 years old now and we’ve got another one arriving in January.


    1. Katie – This little note here gave me the biggest smile! I was so tempted to come to your place for the winter! I tell everyone about how I fell in love with West Texas. I miss you and your family. I look forward to the next visit (winter 2020?) and to meeting your daughter. – G

  2. Nick & Gail Tiffany Avatar
    Nick & Gail Tiffany

    Hi Guisepi and Ally,
    Nick & Gail liveaboard sailers from Friday Harbor here. Re: place to create “users manual”
    Consider Ajo, AZ (check out Culey School, etc.) Lots of creative energy flowing there – cheap to live – boondocking galore. We’ve been spending Nov – April there last 3 yrs. Let the Sonoran Desert stir the creative juices. We love the manual idea.
    All our best,

  3. Larry Williams Avatar
    Larry Williams

    Hi Guisepi,
    Larry messaged you a photo of our place yesterday but the message got lost. Anyway, we would like to offer you to stay on our property this winter al long as you don’t have a dog (we already have 3 plus chickens). We are 25 miles south of Taos NM, in a town called Dixon. We are a short walk to a food coop/ deli, library, PO, in the heart of an organic farming and artist community. Wood is available to pick up or buy. You could use our shower and internet. It looks like you are nearby, if you want to come by and check the place out for a few days that would be fine.
    Larry & Barbara 505-579-XXXX

  4. Hey Edna! I met you on the PCT in 2013 in Nor California, I believe. I live in Moab, UT and have a 1/2 acre 2 miles south of Moab. You can park on my property for a bit this winter if you want! I work at Youth Garden Project
    We’d love to host you at our organization for a workshop of some sort.
    Let me know! 608-345-XXXX

  5. You may contact me to discuss a place to spend the winter. I live in Blythe, California (southeastern California on the Arizona border and the Colorado River.). I’m a retired public school teacher. Nearest weather station:

  6. Alas, we are apartment dwellers in Phoenix, else we would delight in hosting you. Maybe down the proverbial road – best success with your quest!

  7. Carol Ann who had the Casbah tea house told me about you. I would like to talk to you cuz I have land in south east Az. I do not go on email. Do not want to write phone. Umber here. I will start to check email

  8. Peggy Lynn Avatar
    Peggy Lynn

    If you need another set of eyes to proof-read your manuscript, please allow me to donate my abilities! It would be an honor. I don’t do editing. I proof-read and I am detail-oriented. I have done this with two other authors. If interested, let me know! Absolutely love tour approach to life!

  9. Peggy Lynn Avatar
    Peggy Lynn


  10. Java Bear Avatar
    Java Bear

    I love what you’re doing with the free tea bus and your lives in general. Have you found a good spot to hunker down for the winter? I hope so.

  11. Jeff Beebe Avatar
    Jeff Beebe

    Hey Guisepi,
    My name is Jeff Beebe “keep the revolution alive” We met at RTR – thanks for showing us your inspiring project. I am hoping to replicate some of your methods for raising consciousness in my campervan (Alan) over the coming years, while I travel around the Pacific North West region. I’m currently studying intentional communities (communes, eco-villages, etc.) and other subcultures on the moral periphery / ideological fringes. I would like to eventually help construct new spaces and ethical visions (or reengineer existing ones) to facilitate self-realization and enlightened co-existence. In all honesty, I am learning how to struggle against unjust systems of authority / exploitation, while prefiguring a genuine cultural revolution of values.
    I hope we have a chance to meet and discuss further somewhere along the journey – I should say that I am looking for mentors and / or individuals who can offer some guidance. I aspire to be a nomadic practical philosopher / existential counselor who can play a small part in nudging humanity in more virtuous directions.
    If you need a creative / unique space to write your book, I recommend checking out Garth’s Boulder Gardens out in Rimrock, which is near Joshua Tree / Pioneertown. It’s a quirky, mostly off-grid community populated by a mix of beatnik hippies, permaculture tourists, anarchists, artists, and other people who for whatever reason don’t jive with mainstream society.
    Garth (who technically “owns” the roughly square mile of land) has been allowing me stay on his property in exchange for some labor. I’m using the space with my traveling sage companion in order to meditate over vast expanses and read through my library of philosophy, etc. texts. I may stay there for another couple weeks / return travel elsewhere depending on how life goes.
    Anyway, check it out! The Boulder Gardens are very beautiful, and the property has most of the requirements you listed (water tanks, bus with wi-fi, access to firewood, scenic views, and some bonuses like interesting architecture and peacocks and meditation devices and a dog named Buddha). They have a couple gardens as well and need people to contribute in various ways. I would be surprised if they did not feed you occasionally (or all the time) if you visit / decide to stay and work in small amounts while doing your creative work. Garth considers it a sanctuary and the people here are very friendly and generous. They have a Facebook page.
    I’m not on social media, but if you want to know more please hit me up through e-mail. I would love to share ideas and consider possibilities.
    Good luck in your interesting life. May you venture into ever stranger and more enlightening territory!

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