A few years ago while struggling with my career direction, I remember reflecting on my life, and although I loved the people in it, my career left me unfulfilled. I hated that I woke up every morning saying ‘I don’t want to go to work today’. So I wrote down on my 'goal' board that I would one day love what I did, and never say those words again.
I was a hairdresser, and for a time I did love it. Working in the hairdressing industry for nine years did bring me at times career satisfaction, because for as long as I could remember, all I ever wanted to do was be a hairdresser. I excelled in my work (being one of the most booked out team members in the salon that I worked in). I loved the time I spent working on people's hair and talking to them; it allowed me to help them feel beautiful on both the outside and in the inside.
Times eventually changed. Towards the end of my career as a hairdresser, I started to feel lost. I still loved helping people, but I didn't feel the passion from cutting hair anymore. I slowly grew tired of that world, and not to mention, hated working with so many chemicals. I eventually came to realise that is was not meant for me anymore, and so my quest for fulfilment began.
Growing up, tea was never really a big part of my family life. Coming from a European background, coffee (which I still enjoy and have an appreciation for) played a bigger part in our everyday. At home, we only ever had Lipton English Breakfast tea bags that I would have every now and again. Come to think of it, funnily enough, we only really whipped out the Lipton tea bag when one of us was sick. We'd add some honey and lemon, and this would surely fix us up! The only other time we had tea was when we stayed overnight at Nonna's house (that's grandmother in Italian). Nonna would always give me chamomile when I stayed over in the evening before bedtime, to help me sleep. I never wanted to sleep (what was I missing out on?)!
Then, my life changed, and I was fortunate enough to discover a world of tea I never knew about as a kid.
I'm a Wollongong girl, but moving to Sydney changed everything! It would mean a fresh start and new career. I quit hairdressing and handed out a few resumes. As luck would have it, I landed a job in a tea shop, this is where my love and passion turned a new leaf (pun intended) over to this wonderful and mysterious world of tea.
My hunger for learning about this ancient beverage only got stronger, and I needed to know more.
I put myself through a Tea Masters course, which I didn’t even know existed until I found Australian Tea Masters. This seriously blew my mind and excited the hell out of me. There is SO much to know about tea and to be honest, once I started my studies I soon realised it's a life pursuit, I could live ten lives and still not know everything. Tea is a journey, one shared and enjoyed in both company and solitude.
I graduated both as a Tea Master and Tea Blender, but more importantly I knew this was my calling. I had to make it my life's work.
So here I am today, still learning, and excited more than ever to be sharing Tea Esk with you all. Like most journeys, the road is at times rocky, and yes the self-doubt creeps in (more than I would like). I've never run my own business before, so it's something my customers get to experience with me. I'm scared, I'm out of my comfort zone, but all in a good way. Because, I believe, as long as you live an honest life and you're having fun doing what you love most then it’s a journey worth travelling. Tea has given me all this and more; it makes you appreciate time, reminds you to take a few steps back from our busy lives even if it’s only for fifteen minutes in your day. Tea is welcoming, not judgemental and humbling. It's a gift we give to others, and ourselves.
As I write this, I reflect back on my goal board from those years ago and feel proud that I wake up with a smile. I've achieved what I set out to do, now when I get out of bed I get to say that "I love what I do!"
I warmly welcome you all to come on this colourful journey with me.