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Classic Car Rebuilder, Backpacker & Bon Vivant

From the garage to the mountains to the dinner party table, WebMD Health Services Director of Experience Design Tristan Robinson fits it all in. This mix is just part of how he creates a well-rounded life that keeps him feeling his best. Let’s see how he does this.

It seems that digital experiences aren’t the only things you design or build.
No, far from it. Since I was a teenager I’ve had my hand—literally—in rebuilding engines. Over the years, I’ve rebuilt a 1979 Chevy Chevette, a 1967 Ford Mustang, a 1965 Mercury Comet station wagon and a 1987 Saab.

My real dream when it comes to cars is to own and fix up a 1989 Mercedes 560SL. That, however, has to wait until I have a house with a garage because that type of garage princess must never be left to sit out in the Portland rain!

We’ve actually heard that you yourself try to not be left out in the rain.
Yes, that’s true as well. I discovered a new love in backpacking a couple of years ago but admit to being a fair weather backpacker. So, when it’s dry outside, you can likely find me first on a trail on Mount Hood and eventually veering off the trail to set up camp—ideally at a great little spot next to a creek and surrounded by huckleberries. I’ll just pitch the tent and stay a night or two.

So, be honest—do you always hike up to your camp spot?
Well, most of the time. But, once we were on a multi-day hike and came upon a beer festival at a ski lodge. It only seemed that the friendly and polite thing to do was to stop and visit with the folks there. After a few beers, we took the ski lift back up the mountain to the elevation of our campsite. Those beers and grilled sausages sure made for a very civilized camping meal!

Sounds like your affinity for being friendly is something that continues even off the mountain.
Yes, I do try to keep my social life active whether it’s having dinner with one or more friends a few nights a week or something else. It’s an area where I know a little neglect can let friendships atrophy so I make decisions that support strong relationships rather than taking the lazy way out and staying home to watch House of Cards, which is often what I’d really like to do.

Do you also fit in time just for you?
Yes, because time alone along with time spent with friends is important to me for my own well-being. This might be as simple as leaving the office a little early twice a week to meet my trainer and lift weights for an hour. I admit that some days when I’m rushing to get out the door and I see my boss in a conference room I can get that, “Hmm, I really should be working longer hours” feeling. But, I also know work will consume as much of my life as I give it and that making at least one decision in favor of my own well-being daily helps every part of my life, including the quality of my work.

Any other secret hobbies or interests?
I’m not sure they’re secret but I have a 12-year-old dog named Silas who often accompanies me on hikes. And, I do love to speak French even though I don’t get to practice it that much. I even went to a French immersion camp in Canada once. It was pretty intense—they had spies that would ding people who spoke even one word of English. One girl got booted after being caught for the third time. So for me, one warning was all it took and then, c’était tout en français!


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