A lot of us who live in Norway would head to the beaches when he have some free days. Ruben Nilsen Robertsen did something else. For the month of January, he offered his services and knowledge to people and companies who were interested to learn from his expertise. Hats off to that. At a young age of 29 years, he has already acquired 10 years of working experience in the travel industry with focus on hotel. He started from the ground up and it was not an easy ride, but he is where he is now because of his perseverance. I invited him to talk to my class and without any hesitation, he said yes. We were lucky to have him and the students loved him. What an inspiring history. I interviewed him after that and this is what came out of our conversation.
Ruben was born in Tromsø and now lives in Mo i Rana, both beautiful Norwegian cities in the north. He went to school at “Norges Toppidrettsygymnas” in Kongsvinger and was talented in football back then. He sees himself as an entrepreneur who likes to create new things and find new paths. I was surprised to hear he has ADD, which is basically ADHD without the the H (hyperactivity). He has learned to control the symptoms of his condition which has given him high implementation skills, huge working capacity and unafraid to go out of his comfort zone to learn something new. Amazing!
I asked him 7 questions.
1 What got you into Tourism, in particular the hotel industry?
I got a job as a night receptionist 10 years ago. My biggest wish then was to get one foot inside the hotel industry and I was very curious about Tourism. I did not make a wrong decision then.
2 What is your favorite destination in Norway? Outside of Norway?
My favorite destination in Norway is Kristiansand. It is a summer city with a sandy beach right in the city center. I can see myself living here. I like backpacking when I travel abroad. Have done it in Southeast Asia. Next on the list will most probably be South America.
3 What was your most memorable moment in the hotel industry?
I would say that my most memorable moment in the hotel industry was when I was 25 years old and got a call that I just got the job as Hotel Manager at Thon Hotel Kirkenes. A year later, we arranged a heads-of-state meeting for 5 State Ministers from Scandinavia. This event was the next biggest security operation since the second world war. We experienced this behind the scenes and cooperated with all the involved security services. Those were exciting times!
4 What do you never travel without? Why?
I never travel without my cellphone. In today’s world, we are so dependent on our cellphones. I can travel without luggage, but my cellphone has to be with me.
Biking on the alps is a dream for Ruben
5 What is your dream destination?
I have several dream destinations. I would very much want to climb Kilimanjaro, experience safari in Tanzania, backpack in South America, and bike on the Alps in France.
6 What do you have in your handcart?
I have the standard briefcase. I use it to carry my laptop, chargers, toiletries, work documents and iPad.
7 What is your best travel / hotel tips?
On your cellphone, you should have Trip Advisor, Uber and AirBnB. For a backpacker, that is all you need. I like to go upstream. Two years ago I was in Cambodia and this summer, I will travel to Serbia and Montenegro.
I am happy to have met Ruben and look forward to following his career. This guy is going places. He is Mr Customer Service, after all.