Berra Marcusson and his wife Ulrika are truly living a working life. Together they run Tjauls Gård on the Swedish island of Gotland, where they offer motorcycle events, horseback riding and just about any activity their guests ask for.
“Yeah, you could say I’m a real ‘Gute’ – which means a Gotlander of at least third-generation descent,” says Berra Marcusson as we meet him in the midst of the summer season.
Berra, formerly a farm hand and an international project manager for power plant constructions, had a life-changing idea one day: to take part in the Paris–Dakar rally – and do all the preparations himself.
In the 2004 run of this highly demanding desert race, over half of the field dropped out midway through. Berra’s tenacity, however, saw him complete the race after 17 dramatic days. Standing at the finish line he vowed never to do it again, but was nevertheless back the following year – and the year after that.
Strategy: Have fun at work
While competing in the Dakar rallies, Berra decided to start his own business.
“My strategy was based on three main factors: I wanted to be on Gotland, I wanted to ride a motorcycle – and I wanted to have fun at work.”
Initially working with motorcycle activities on Gotland and overseas, the company has now evolved into a comprehensive event organiser.
“Yeah, these days we offer pretty much anything. On the agenda tomorrow there’s chocolate testing, multisport, clay pigeon shooting, climbing and riding. By offering all these activities together, we can make it work financially.”
When Berra says “we” he means him and his wife, Ulrika. Together they own and run Tjauls Gård, a bed and breakfast and venue for a range of adventures and activities. Berra and Ulrika are the only ones working full time on the site, and with a recently arrived one-year-old added to the mix there’s plenty to keep them occupied.
“We’re open all year round – twenty-four hours a day, I was about to say. We have our own jacuzzi, but I can count the number of times I’ve been in it myself on the fingers of one hand,” laughs Berra. “That said, I like to keep busy. It’s really satisfying when we manage to keep everything ticking over.”
Always trying new ideas
However, successfully running this type of business requires considerable drive and motivation. Berra says that he’s always looking to try out new ideas, like new activities and different approaches to organising conferences and group events.
“My accountant reckons we should offer the same thing all the time to make it easier to calculate the costs, but I’m not so sure. ‘Those who follow their own path need no map’. I wasn’t the one who said it, but that’s the way I think.”