TRAVELLING has been the greatest passion in her life as she lives, breathes and dreams travel. Well-known for her hops around the globe, Mary Kalymnou from Koniari, Athens, has experienced finer aspects of life.
A travel legend, she has been made famous by her travel blog, named Maryhop.
Travel for Mary has given satisfaction of travelling non-stop for the last 13 years, when she joined aviation back in 2006. With her passion set, she has already managed to hop all around the world — both as a VIP Flight Attendant, as well as a frequent passenger.
She always had a fascination with Arabia and the Middle East and was expecting nothing but loving her journey to the Sultanate. “Oman completely surpassed my expectations,” says Mary as being a stunning country, with the most welcoming and friendly people, who are always eager to share their culture and tradition.
“I wanted to visit some local places, to see what the people do daily and I was completely taken aback when Amar, my guide, invited me to his home in Saiq town, Al Dakhiliyah. Here I learned how a family rosewater business runs or how roses are treated in the mountains. Those moments of having lunch with his family have been some of the greatest during my visit.”
Mary was appointed social media influencer when Oman Air launched its inaugural direct Athens-Muscat flight from June 1 this year. Her role was to promote the destination to people of Greece and to promote the new direct flight.
Mary shared her rich experiences in the Sultanate with her followers and readers via Instagram (@MaryKalymnou) and came to know how wonderful the Sultanate is.
Oman Air collaborated her Oman trip when they were contacted by the PR team at Athens International Airport who worked closely with Oman Air in finding people with travel influence and were asked to visit Oman as part of the new destination promotion.
“I was overwhelmed by the invitation and immediately arranged my journey, at least one month before the first flight, so people have a clear picture before the route opening. Oman Air arranged an unforgettable journey for me and I am grateful for the experiences,” she says.
While driving through different governorates, she could feel the peace among the people, interesting history, variety and distinctive beauty of the all places I visited.
“I could speak non-stop about my experience in Oman, a country with stunning mountain ranges and dramatic landscapes, amazing sand dunes that appear to go on forever, magnificent architecture in Muscat and especially the Grand Mosque or the Royal Opera House Muscat and of course the ancient forts and old villages.”
Mary has donned several hats from being flight attendant, travel blogger or career coach. Each role, she says, has seen lots of hard work with complete dedication and love.
As a VIP flight attendant she had the opportunity to offer services to passengers who choose to fly on private jets, something that requires excellent experience. As a travel blogger, she enjoys sharing her travels with her followers and feels grateful when someone decides to take a trip because of her influence. While as a career coach, she shares her experience and help people succeed in their lives. This, she recalls, as the biggest satisfaction in her life.
Her travel blog www.maryhop.com was awarded as best travel blog in Greece in 2016.
She started the VIP Excellence back in 2016, as she wanted to help people to get prepared for joining aviation. The VIP Excellence is a Career Development Center which provides exceptional customer service excellence courses to individuals in order to reach their highest potential in the workplace.
She creates tailor-made courses and one-to-one personalised coaching sessions for individuals who need help to be perfectly prepared for an interview or need help with their CV or transition for commercial cabin crew to corporate flight attendants.
As a career coach, she is committed to raising the standards within business aviation by utilising her 13-year experience as a VIP flight attendant.
As a career coach, she also helps and supports many every week and all her coaching sessions are performed via Skype. This also opens the door to people from every country to speak with her without boarders and learn necessary tips for landing them their dream job.
Her career centre also specialises in business aviation and is the very first of its kind in Greece.
Her recent new project, ‘Excellence as a Habit’ course for businesses, trains employees working in the luxury industry or those from the luxury boutiques, on attaining excellence in customer service field.
She began her aviation career back in 2006 with Viking Airlines, a Swedish charter operator and since the very first months, remembers searching online about private aviation. She had then set her goal, to become a VIP Flight Attendant.
In 2007 Mary joined corporate aviation at K2 Smartjets, an Athens-based operator. A few years later, she was offered a job as a VIP flight attendant and inflight personal assistant with a family.
Her strong background as a personal family flight attendant, contributed in acquiring deep understanding and expertise on fulfilling passengers’ extraordinary needs and special requests.
For the last seven years she has worked as a freelance VIP flight attendant and mainly flies for Swiss operators. She is also qualified as a part of high standard cabin service on business jets, where she repeatedly hosts high-ranking international clientele including members of royal families, heads of state, CEO’s and various celebrities.
What is her advice to millennials?
Mary who believes in mentorship says, “Sometimes we don’t know where to look or who to trust for advice and advises millennials to find a mentor they can trust and is genuinely interested in them and their career.”
She further adds that it is important for them to become great listeners and good observers, to learn from their mistakes and always target high. It is essential that they must know their value and understand that they are the ones responsible for their career.
For the younger generation she advises them to find ways to travel. “Finding a position where they can travel while they are young. It’s a great experience and will gain valuable insight into the thoughts and motivations of other cultures.”