Last week, the “Grattittude” bus made the rounds in Ocean Beach, moving from lot-to-lot, wrapped in a banner that was very hard to miss. And, no, that’s not a typo, “Grattitude is an attitude,” as I was told.
As I boarded the 8 Billion Dreams bus, I was met by several gentlemen and one question: What is your dream? What is my dream? Do I even have one? Stephan Cesarini assured me I did as we sat and chatted.
Cesarini, a former tech executive, bought the 34.5-foot-long Airstream in 2012 after splitting from the tech world, wrapped it in a banner, and set out on a “dream-catching” tour.
“It was a way of slowing down and processing my life and rejection from a company [ReachLocal] I helped co-create,” Cesarini explains as he places a Peter, Paul & Mary LP on the record player by the dashboard. “I built [the company] from one to a thousand employees, from zero to $300 million in sales, eventually merged with another company, they went public, and I was ultimately fired — after building my dream and my vision. I had to process through being fired. It was traumatic, but now I understand that people have different life experiences. I have more compassion…and I want to support everybody with love and to bring people together without projection or reactive type of energy and to feel safe.”
Nadeem Kassam recently hopped aboard the bus after his exit from the corporate world.
“I’ve known [Cesarini] for almost ten years,” Kassam explained while lighting a small piece of wood. “We met at an entrepreneurial networking event. I had also built and sold a large technology company called Basis/BioBeats, had many employees, was part of the rat race, and sold it to Intel…. I thought that happiness would come after that, and it didn’t….
“I knew what Stephan was doing, so I tried to do a similar thing. I went to Hawaii and disconnected for a couple months but when I came out of hiding for the summer I bumped into Stephan on the streets in Venice after a festival…. I immediately checked out of the Standard Hotel and checked into the bus and I’ve been rolling for a few weeks now with my bro.”
Although not fully retired, Cesarini self-funds his dream-catching tours ($150 to fill up the tank) and is often joined by others along the way. Casual passersby are invited to write messages in chalk on the matte-black paint job.
“Over the years many friends who are mostly entrepreneurs come on dream-catching journeys with me around the country,” Cesarini said. “We are traveling together up until Thanksgiving for now…. After that, not sure where we’ll go. We have an event coming up next year in Kansas but don’t have a date for it yet.”
Cesarini says the Grattitude bus always has its door open for folks to walk in, chat, and explore dreams.
“The mission is to have every human on Earth declare a dream. Right now, we have 7.5 billion humans on earth,” Cesarini told me. “So, by the time we have 8 billion, the goal is to everyone declare their dream, then build a platform around that.”
So, how many dreams has the Grattitude bus heard?
“This bus has heard 25,000 shared dreams so far — that’s what the project we’re building is all about…. Some people are just — bam — they know what they want, some people — most, I would say — are less clear, and that’s why I love it so much; I want to help them get to that place, because when you say it [your dream] out loud to another person, that’s when the magic happens, in that space, the declaration of your dream,” explained Cesarini. “And that’s a big first step — getting them to say out loud what their dream is.”