Get To Know Stockholm History Guide Angus Carlsson

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Making history come alive for his tour customers is clearly a specialty of Time Travel Tours History Guide Angus Carlsson. His enthusiasm, sense of humour, and passion for sharing the stories of the region are what makes his tours so much fun.
Did you have jobs or a career before “tour guide”?

No, I was a student. I studied Social Sciences with a profiling of Behavioral Studies. I decided to go straight into business after finishing my studies because I had a dream and vision about building my own company and an independent economic future.

How did you make the transition to becoming a tour guide?

Since I was a little kid, I had a passion for travelling and exploring the world. Therefore, I have for years considered working in tourism for many reasons, I’ll give you two examples. Number one, to be able to create great experiences and possibilities of exploration for others. Number two, to able to experience meetings with new people from all around the world. These two examples sum up what tourism is about, to experience something that is not just a part of everyday life, and to meet people that you would probably never meet if you don’t explore.

What does a typical day look like for you?

A typical working day for me is filled with very variating content. To guide is, of course, the most fun part of working as a tour guide, but since I am a self-employed entrepreneur there is a lot of other stuff to do as well. So even if I would love to give you a romantic view of my job I really can’t. I love it, but it’s far from only about guiding. The typical working day consists of having important contact with clients, preparing tours, keeping a check on our company’s finances, working with social media and much more. Sincerely, I enjoy most of my tasks for most of my working time.

You are obviously very taken with different periods in history – if you did have a time machine, but could only pick one date to return to, what date would it be and why?

Well, our tours are like a time machine, so I travel back in time every time I’m having a tour. Well, if I could do it in the most ultimate form, by breaking the laws of physics, I would surely choose to turn the date to 600 AD and visit Vada burial mounds north of present-day Stockholm. This is a sight on one of our tours and it would be amazing to see the history that I’m educating about. We can’t surely ever go back in time with a time machine, but we can create a great experience with the feeling of time travelling. That is what I and my colleagues do at Time Travel Tours.

How would you describe your style as a guide?

I would describe myself as humoristic, calm, educating and contextual. I love to make fun and insightful comparisons between the historic and present. I also love to put the facts into a story about the people of the epoch and the context of the fact. This is how I make the facts more interesting and more entertaining for the visitor. A tour with me is never a fact-drained marathon with no end in sight. The context is clear and the tours are categorized into chewable parts of information which makes it much easier for all visitors to stay focused and entertained throughout the tour.

What is the best part of your job?

To see when visitors are really engaged in my tours, when they are learning and start to ask more questions and become really hungry for insight on the subject. To educate is something I really enjoy doing (we work with local schools as well) and to give people a larger interest in history delights me.

What’s the most bizarre experience you’ve had on a guided tour?

On a tour about two years ago, I had a very engaged visitor, over-engaged. He was so interested and passionate about the subject that he started to talk so much that he almost took over my tour for 10 minutes. This was a situation where I as tour guide had a really good lesson for myself, sometimes you just have to interrupt and say NO. It is great that visitors are engaged and ask questions, but there is a limit to that too. A good tour can only work if the tour guide is in control.

Ever had any odd requests from clients?

No actually not yet, but I’m sure it will happen sooner or later.

Every job has its ups and downs. Are there any aspects of your job that you don’t like or aren’t that keen on?

Well, most parts are nice but to do bookkeeping is far from a pleasure always, even though it is ultra-important for the well-being and control over my company’s present and future development.

When you’re not busy guiding tours – what’s the favourite thing you do that we would most probably find you doing?

I like to travel a lot myself of course, but a lack of time and money can put a halt to that. Of course, I have interests that are of more every-day life nature. I read a lot about history and other stuff related to social science, and I follow the news a lot. To know what is going on in the world is very important for me as a Tour guide and as a private person.

As an experienced guide yourself, can you explain to our readers what the benefits of hiring a guide are?

The benefits of hiring a guide are many. There is a lot of extra value that you can receive by hiring a guide compared to going on by yourself. I enjoy personally to travel without guides or groups sometimes but when I’m on a guided tour I most often realize the advantages of having someone that takes care of your traveling problems and gives you information, stories, meetings and so much more that you can not experience without a guide. A guide can also in many cases be the greatest opportunity for a person to meet a native of a region or a nation. Travelers can often be a bit nervous about interacting with local people because there are few natural situations for such meetings, but if you have a local guide like me you have the opportunity to get so much extra value just by talking with me and asking me questions.

Tell us something about your area/activity that only a guide would know

There are so many “somethings” to answer this question. Our tour is a mixed composition of knowledge and research from different experts in the fields of history and archeology. There is some open and free information about the sights we guide to, but it is really poor and lacks context. Only a guide can put these facts (and more other relevant facts) into a story and a context, a story about the epoch and the people who lived it.

In your view, what makes a good tour guide?

To be a good tour guide is, to be honest, not an easy task. It requires constant development and passionate understanding of what I as a guide can improve. There are some aspects that we at Time Travel Tours are always improving even though our scores in our paper surveys are very high. We always discuss between colleagues how we can be even more fun, friendly, empathetic, engaged, service-minded and communicative.  A good tour guide masters these and a good tour guide always try to get even better at these personal skills.

And finally, have you got any tips for people who are interested in booking a guide like yourself, but aren’t too sure what to look for?

Start yourself by answering this question: what are my passions and interests? Write down 3 things on a piece of paper. When you’ve done this you can go on with asking yourself: What destination matches these 3 passions of mine? Continue by writing 3 destinations on the paper, and if you have a trouble finding them search for e.g “Historic cities” on Google if history is your passion for example.

After you have decided the destinations for your passions, search for keywords regarding the passion and destination. For example “Historic tours in London” if you are interested in history and have decided to put London on your destination list. When completing this Google search, you will probably have a lot to choose from. Continue then by breaking down your passion into sub-passions, what parts of history are you more interested in? For example, you might choose WWII history, and after that, you can easily do a new search and find a WWII history tour in London that suits your needs and wishes.

If you liked this article, check out Six Sights Off The Beaten Track For Ancient Rome Lovers and How 6 Famous Places Earned Their Nicknames.

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