How I became a Renegade aka „What intriques a Millenial?“

„I felt like it“ can be stated as my main motivation for saying „yes“ to Kristiina, when on the 1st of January she asked me, how would I feel about joining her and Hannes in the journey of growing tea in Georgia. I can now say that I only made an impression (for myself as well) like I was thinking about it, but actually, I already knew the moment I read Kristiina’s proposal. I can’t really say that there were too many rational reasons for me to make the decision I made - but to be super honest, I think that most of us actually use our feelings to decide… Or at least we should.  The brain just has to follow the heart and come up with some rational reasons to back up the decision that is actually been made already.

Miina Saak

Need to save (or at least change) the world

As Kristiina already mentioned in her story (read it here), one big influencer for all of us is the history of Georgian tea and the idea of making a change in its future - I suppose everyone likes to feel that the world is at least a little bit better place because of them. I think that the more technology evolves and all the „boring“ stuff can be done with robots or computers, our brain-power should matter in the ways that machines just can not. Since our brains mostly work on feelings, not rational things, we can see the value where technology can’t. This was the biggest reason I started to think about leaving my previous job way before Renegades reached my radar. It was an awesome place, but I felt that my job could have been done just as well (or even better) by someone else (maybe even a computer) and also world would not collapse if I was not there. My work was definitely highly valued, but it wasn't essential. Growing tea in Georgia, on the other hand, seems like something that can not happen that well without me (small amount of self-praise and sarcasm here, that I hope you understand). And it is surely something quite different from anything I had thought about before. Apparently, not many people in Georgia (or anywhere else) have thought about this either.

Fragment from Ophurchkheti tea factory. 2018
Fragment from Ophurchkheti tea factory. 2018.

Less fear and patience

I had also seen Eat Pray Love and plenty of other movies, that probably played a part in the knowledge that every successful corporate career must end with a meditation camp and „rebirth“ in India (or smth else like that). But I definitely can’t say that I reached this point- my corporate career lasted less than three years and was not spent being miserable and feeling like my superiors did not hear me, as it usually is in movies. The opposite! I have been amazingly lucky to always work with quite inspirational people, who have taught me a lot and also had the wisdom of listening to me when I had something to say. I suppose I (and probably all the other millennials ) just don’t have enough patience to struggle until the change becomes inevitable and calls for a who-knows-how-long meditation trip in India.

What’s the worst that can happen?

As I have only seen great (or just fine or normal) things happen to me in life, the question for me is “What’s the worst that can happen?”. Inversely to many others, the worst thing that has ever happened to me is my parents not understanding me in my teenage crazy-years, the small number of likes on my FB picture or nothing good enough to eat in my fridge. But I know that none of them is an actual problem. This has probably made me slightly “immune” to fear and hesitations about the future - I just can’t imagine anything irreversibly horrible happening. I do not feel the need of staying somewhere, or doing something, in the fear that it might be worse somewhere else. Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I often feel that it’s the case with a lot of people – maybe because they have been in contact of „the worse“?  

Being the reasons whatever they are, something surely makes me eager to jump on board of projects with unknown future, like the project of crazy Estonians partnering with a Lithuanian and going to grow tea in Georgia without any actual knowledge of tea-growing... I also really liked the movie Cool Runnings - the story of a group of Jamaicans, who did not know much about cold, ice or bobsledding, but had a lot of enthusiasm and courage to follow their dreams and set goals even bigger than they could have ever imagined! And I don’t actually mind jumping the same way - just as the Jamaican bobsleigh team knew that Jamaica just needs a bobsleigh team, I know that Georgia needs a crew of somewhat crazy Estonians to get the once so amazing tea industry going again.

Miina with her new rubber bootsMe and my rubber boots are ready for upcoming challenges!