“Be spontaneous. Try new things and don’t be afraid to be out of your comfort zone.” Born in Glasgow, Jack Newman is a graphic designer, runner and world traveller. She discovered FINDRA when she realised it was founded by Alex, her cousin! In her blog, she explains the events that led to Sean Connery influencing her career choice, how she started running and why she always says ‘yes’ to adventure!
Hey Jack – Tell everybody where you are based and what you do!
Hey I’m Jack and I’m a freelance graphic designer based near Guildford, but I was born in Coatbridge near Glasgow. I went to uni in Glasgow to study Economics and Politics. The Scottish International Education Trust – which was founded by Sean Connery – then very kindly sponsored my Masters in International Banking & Finance in Edinburgh, for which I am very grateful!
I worked for an American bank in London, Cardiff – where I met David, my husband, and New York. Eventually we settled in Surrey and I had a family. Once they were older I decided to pursue my interest in design so at the age of 40 I went back to uni and studied for a degree in Visual Communication.
Now I have my own graphic design business – Boo Design – which is named after the little girl from Monsters Inc, a family favourite!
How long has the outdoors been part of your life?
Since 2004 when my friend was diagnosed with cancer. She wanted something to look forward to so we decided to sign up for The Great North Run. We trained together but I didn’t run it that year as, just before the event, my dad passed away. We entered the year after though, and we’ve ran it nine times over the years since!
Two and a half years ago I had a hip replacement so that stopped me from running for a while and it’s been a slow process of rehabilitation. I’m getting back with the help of the Couch to 5K podcast. I also mountain bike locally and love walking my dog.
What’s been your favourite trip or adventure?
A while ago I made a decision to step out of my comfort zone and say yes to any trip that was proposed because I was out of the habit of trying new things and being spontaneous. I missed the excitement that comes with the unknown.
Then a friend suggested we did a 4×4 safari around Peru. I didn’t know what to expect and it involved lots of moving around in remote areas. It was exciting and intense, driving along some of the scariest roads in the world along seemingly sheer mountain sides with centimetres to spare. We also visited Machu Picchu, an Incan citadel, and it was so beautiful.
Another time we did a self-guided trip to the Namibian desert. One night we camped in Sossulvlei – one of most IG’d places in the world. While we were waking up having slept on the roof of a 4×4 in a tent, someone turned up in a designer outfit to have their photo taken by a dead tree.
How do you find a balance between being active and life’s other responsibilities such as work and family?
I plan a schedule and I always stick to it! I work from home too, which helps.
Is there anyone who inspired your love of the outdoors?
My friend Sally, who was diagnosed with cancer, inspired me to start running to support her and so her illness became a positive driving force for both of us.
Do you find that spending time in the outdoors has a positive impact on your well being and mental health?
Absolutely. I think everyone needs to be surrounded by the colour green on a daily basis – for me that may be walking the dog, cycling or running. My desk faces into the garden so even when I’m working I can connect with the outside.
What is it about mountain biking that you specifically enjoy?
Recently I have been doing more mountain biking and I love it because it enables me to connect to places cross country that I would have previously driven to on the road. It’s the same world, from a greener perspective!
When did you discover FINDRA?
I discovered FINDRA a few years ago when my brother met Alex at a business conference where she was a speaker. He recognised her straightaway – because she is our cousin! It’s a small world and I’m really excited to see her success.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
To focus on what’s really important in life, know your priorities and don’t get sidetracked – “Is it really anything to do with me?” is a good little reminder that I ask myself if I’m distracted.
Do you have a motivational or inspirational message to share with our followers to inspire them to get outdoors more?
Be spontaneous. Try new things and don’t be afraid to be out of your comfort zone.
Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart
It’s about a little boy growing up with an alcoholic mother in Scotland during the1980s. It reminded me of growing up near Glasgow, the dialect that I don’t hear anymore now that I live in the South of England, and realising from reading it that not everyone has an upbringing as good as I had.
The High Low by Pandora Sykes and Dolly Alderton
They are clearly very good friends and its like eavesdropping on a really interesting conversation about things that really resonate with me.
Jamie Reid’s God Save The Queen print – I love images of the Queen – a woman who I really admire. I like that this particular one is black and white, and that it has some notoriety due to its association with the Sex Pistols.
My favourite music has to be Simon and Garfunkel in particular The Sound of Silence. The version by Disturbed is amazing!