(Coveted Teapot via Heath Ceramics)

“The answer, I believe, is identifying the things you love (particularly the little things) and seeking to experience them each and every day.”

A friend of mine emailed me a few days ago to let me know that she really liked this quote I had written. I was completely flattered, but also a little bit surprised because I didn’t remember writing it – sometimes the words just end up on the page – but sure enough, there it was, and it was a nice thought to savor this week.

And so, here, I’d like to introduce to you a little project I’m embarking on. While working on my life list, of the big and small things I want to do and accomplish and learn, one of my happy topics was tea. I love tea, I drink a lot of it. I love the moments that surround tea drinking, and tea culture. With tea, I’m calm and peaceful, creative, and sometimes challenged. So I decided to add tea to my list, 500 unique moments with tea, and I’m going to try to share as many as I can here with you.

There is something so wonderful about starting a new passion project, and adding a new sense of purpose to your life, and finding a new lens through which to look at the world. I’ve been having fun shaping this adventure – and I think it’s going to take on a life of its own as it goes along.

In designing this project, I wrote out a series of questions, and I think I’d like to share them with you, in hopes that maybe this inspires you to take on a project of your own. For this part of the process I really wanted to put ideas out there, without any intention of answering them (yet). I find this is a good exercise to start any type of project.

  • What is this project really about? Is it about tea? Is it about people? Places? Solitary moments? Shared moments? Moments where I feel alive?
  • How do I best communicate this project? Public vs. Private?
  • Do I want to take 500 pictures of tea? (Yes.) How can I make these pictures tell a story?
  • What do I want to write about? How do I organize my thoughts to share? How much, or how little can I share?
  • What type of consistency am I looking for? One cup a week? One cup a day? Should I have a schedule? Do tea tastings count?
  • What books do I want to read about tea?
  • What are the greater themes that relate to tea?
  • How much depth do I want to give to this project?
  • Does this stay on The Second Lunch? Do I dedicate a website to the project?
  • How can I subsidize the project?
  • What if I decide that I really want to have 500 cups of coffee? (This could have easily been five hundred types of cheese, another passion of mine, but that got nixed because 500 one ounce pieces of cheese could easily translate into 14 pounds in the long run. Tea is a little more up my alley.)
  • How long will this take? Is five hundred unique cups of tea enough? Can I double up? 500 blends of tea? Am I going to have to drink 1000 different types of tea? (aka.. will this spiral out of control).
  • What do I want to get out of this at the end? Is the visual record enough? Is there a book in the making?
  • What type of expertise am I trying to gain? Is this about savoring the experience? Cataloguing data? Keeping score? How do I make sure that I keep this enjoyable?
  • Am I allowed to quit?

And so here is where you come in: I’d love to solicit ideas to help me shape this project. Make it better. Make it more fulfilling for me (and for you). Do you have your own passion project? (Share a link here if you’d like!) I wholeheartedly welcome (and encourage) comments, or emails (sam at thesecondlunch.com) to help strategize. You will be thanked profusely, and who knows, maybe get something out of it in the long run.