Someone Different: UTP’s Own Brand of M&Ms
Posted on Sat 24 Jul 2021 · by Oana Moldovan
We can toot and tweet night and day about the various Something Different. Somewhere Different experiences we offer. In reality, what we’re really proud of and what makes our trips unique is our ever-dedicated team.
Untravelled Paths consists of an interesting bunch, who, through their sheer passion, expertise and enthusiasm, bring in the missing ingredient. And because there’s never a dull moment on the trips (or our office, for that matter), we want to share a little sneak-peak with you all.
Here’s to Someone Different.
Marius & Marius are Untravelled Paths’ dream team. Besides having the same name in common (perhaps that’s the secret!), they both share the same dedication and zest. Soaked in a fountain of knowledge, top-notch care and their never-ending antics, a Marius-run trip is always a delight.
So who are the Mariuses behind the trips? Let’s hear it directly from them.
MG: I’m the older Marius of the team. In “real life” I am a drummer in a local band and a dad to a four-year old called Vlad (after Vlad the Impaler, of course). As a part of Untravelled Paths, I am in charge with Sales & Partnerships, as well as running trips in Romania and other locations. With Marius M, we are the team’s go-to people for tailored and private trips.
MM: I’m the other part of the M&M team! I lived in Italy for two years working in the hospitality industry, which I fell in love with. Moving on to tourism seemed like the next best move, so here I am. In UTP, I am working alongside Marius G for 3rd party relations and tailored trips, and showing Romania and Italy off to our guests.
To add to the similarities between you two, you were both working at the hotels Untravelled Paths partners with before joining our team. How did the magic happen?
MG: That’s true. Back in 2013, I was working at the reception at Bella Muzica in Brasov. That’s where I met James, the UTP owner, who was actually running a trip. On this particular day, they were running late after being stuck in traffic, so James called to let us know. I decided to start the check-in process while they were still on the road and have everything ready so that by the time they arrived, all the guests needed to do was collect their keys and enjoy their day. Apparently, James was impressed by that and a few months later offered me a spot on the team. I don’t think he regrets it!
MM: I joined a bit later, in 2015. I was working at Rembrandt Hotel in Bucharest and I knew most of the team as they were usually in and out of the hotel with the guests. We developed a pretty close working relationship so when a spot opened up with UTP, they approached me. It was Marius G and Cristina who came with the proposal, and after a meeting with James, I was all in.
Tunnel Trek with Marius G (left) and snowmobiling with Marius M (right) at the Ice Hotel in Romania
Due to the nature of our trips, we might encounter bumps on the road – it’s in the name, after all! Can you recall some of these challenging moments?
MG: Going to a new locations is always great, but you are also initially out of your comfort zone. Running a trip for the first time means you need to get your bearings fast and organise yourself. And that applies tenfold to running a trip outside of your home country. I remember my first Scotland trip, thinking that I could never get used to driving on the other side! Thankfully, it turned out to be pretty easy. Besides, seeing the Basking Shark up close was an experience out of this world.
MM: I’ll have to agree with Marius G here. I was quite nervous on my first Dolce Vita trip to Italy. Even though I know Italian having lived there, the trip itself is very different from what we do in Romania. I also remember that for that particular trip we needed to use alternative accommodation due to a festival happening, so the pressure to have everything else happen perfectly was even stronger! Thankfully, all went well and the guests had a really good time. 🙂
Other than that, I would say that anything that is out of our control is quite challenging, because there’s little you can do. For example, the weather is the one we are against most of the time. For the Ice Hotel, strong winds might mean not being able to reach the Hotel, so on the rare occasions this happens, that is an obvious problem. Most of the time, we are able to swap the nights and make it work. On this particular trip, the cable car didn’t work on our designated day, so went the following night. However, another UTP group was there that night, so we overlapped. In the end, it actually turned out better! We had a party in the Ice Restaurant and everyone mingled and had fun.
MG: Yeah, it’s usually the unexpected issues like big crowds at the main sights during public holidays, weather or traffic. You can do your best, but in the end it’s out of your control. But we always aim to keep everything ticking over and entertaining. That’s what “untravelled” entails, after all
There’s no secret you are UTP’s own A-Team. You are usually the ones running our group trips together. What’s a memorable moment you’ve had together?
MG: We were in Italy tour managing a private trip and it was a particularly hot day. The kind of hot where it isn’t even fun to stay outside. After the olive farm visit, on our way to Bari, we agreed to take a detour to the beach. Everyone on the trip took a swim in the Adriatic Sea and then had an ice-cream or beer at a nearby beach bar. It was quite refreshing!
MM: I also remember one of our research trips in Spain. Marius G was proud of having learned the Spanish word for water, so he went around shouting “Agua! Agua!” in every store or bar we went to, while I was trying to place the orders, which was a little embarassing! On a personal note, I saw The Atlantic for the first time in Cadiz, which was definitely memorable.
Marius G overlooking the scenery in the Simien Mountains, Ethiopia (left) and Marius M looking over the Transfagarasan, Romania (right)
Why do you do what you do? What do you enjoy the most about being a guide?
MM: I’m a people’s person, so I enjoy surrounding myself with other people. I love getting to know other customs and traditions and, of course, sharing my own. Being a guide allows me to do both.
MG: I totally agree with Marius. I would also add that travelling is a pretty big perk. Out of the office and in the open doesn’t really feel like working most of the time! And then you get to travel to new places to do some research and it’s all great. The recent situation is hard, but hopefully, everything gets better soon as we can’t wait to be out on trips again!
Alright, enough about you two 🙂 We’d love to hear your opinions on your colleagues. I’ve prepared a little list for you to go through, so let’s see what you really think of the rest of the team!
Best team mate to collaborate with:
MG: My other half, Marius M!
MM: I’ll be going with Oana for this one. Sorry, Marius!
Most encouraging and optimistic:
MG: Cristina, she’s always there for us.
MM: You can count on Marius G to be supportive.
Best problem solver:
MG: Oana, she seems to have an answer for pretty much anything.
MM: Depending on the problem, either Cristina or Marius G.
Most inclusive and attentive to others:
MG: Marius M. He’s grown to be a very good friend.
MM: Right back at you! Marius G is always welcoming.
MG: I’d say myself…
MM: Yes, Marius G and Alin – both Brasov-born people
Most likely to be a politician:
MG: My Ethiopian buddy, Shigo!
MM: Cristina can be pretty persuasive.
Most likely to become famous:
MG: Anyone who’s ever been on a trip with him would know that is Dragos.
MM: Dragos for sure!
Most likely to be a comedian:
MG: You can always have a good laugh with James.
MM: Marius G always makes us laugh. Without fail.
Most likely to be late at their own wedding:
MG: You know this answer, Oana…
Most likely to travel the world:
MG: Alin, the young and restless.
MM: Oana probably will.
Now, let’s see what your colleagues think about you…
UTP: We don’t do favourites, but if we did, M&M would be close… They are extremely fun to be around and our team building and meetings are always made better by their presence (especially Marius G’s). However, when it comes to working, we couldn’t ask for a better pair. The humour is replaced by professionalism, initiative and a sense of teamwork to rival none. They are reliable, supportive, loyal and communicative. Thank you for all you do – great job!
And our guests…
We literally arrived home in the early hours of this morning from our La Dolce Vita trip with the two Mariuses (or Marii as they became known)! They have run this trip for our usual local independent travel agent for the last couple of years and on this occasion she didn’t even feel the need to accompany us. The guys were friendly, polite and helpful on first meeting us at the airport but soon became friends to us all. Nothing was too much trouble and both are so knowledgeable and great fun – we’ve had an absolute blast! They are a real credit to your company. Already looking forward to seeing them again for the flamenco experience next year! Thanks again guys – you’re amazing!
For more reviews of the two Mariuses or the other team members, do check out our TrustPilot page.
The Mariuses having fun on trips
If you’re interested in joining a Marius-ran trip, you can catch them in Romania, Spain, Italy & Scotland – just let us know!
Written by Oana Moldovan, Untravelled Paths
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