Nik O'Donnell - Bachelor of Business (Honours) - 2013

Nik O'Donnell

Co-founder of 

Originally from Parkes, NSW – home of ‘The Dish’ radio telescope – Nik O’Donnell grew up with a passion for space and innovation.

Having graduated with a Bachelor of Business (Marketing and Tourism Management) in 2007 and a Bachelor of Business (Honours) in 2013, Nik now combines his love of travel and technology as co-founder of startup venture A travel idea generator, uses an algorithm to match users to their ideal holiday destinations.

Here Nik shares how helping others discover new destinations is one of the most fulfilling experiences in life.

My mother attended CSU in Bathurst when it was Mitchell Teacher’s College. All of  my four brothers  and I have been through academic studies now.

I’m currently… living in Southern Germany, having moved from Amsterdam. I have just become a father and am co-founding an exciting start-up called with a very brilliant lad from The Netherlands. 

At school I... suffered from the monotony and structure. I longed to be outside and had slightly too much energy to sit in class all day long. 

My childhood was... survival of the fittest! Being one of five boys, there was always mischief to be made. Yes I know, our poor mother - she did an amazing job.  

As a child, I was most curious about... space. I guess being from Parkes with a family farm that you can see 'The Dish' (Parkes Radio Telescope) through the kitchen window, I loved to think and learn about stars, planets, asteroids… still do actually. 

I chose CSU because… that's where I was accepted. I didn't get a brilliant UAI so I was just thrilled to make it in. I knew Bathurst well from going to the Bathurst 1000 from childhood. 

My best experiences at CSU... the social life with dormies, time spent chilling out on the Village green (John Oxley Village) .

My worst experience at CSU... failing my very first assignment (I started it at 4am the day it was due) in Business Law. I ended up getting on the Dean’s list for academic achievement in my second year but it took a lot of work to recover. 

At university I was inspired… by some great friends and a few wonderful lecturers whose passion was infectious.  

Today I’m motivated… to be a good father, create a kickarse travel website that people love to use and see as much of this incredible world as time and funds allow.

In my profession it is important to… travel with an open mind and connect with people. 

I never dreamed I would… have the chance to merge my passion for travel and innovation with my professional life. 

To experience a glimpse of other places around the world, their culture, how they live, think and dream is the greatest gift afforded to those able to enjoy it. So to work in this space in a new way with a site that enhances someone’s ability to discover new destinations and experience travel is deeply fulfilling.

I used to think that work was the necessary evil one had to do to enjoy life, but this is completely backwards. You must enjoy what you do professionally to be happy and fulfilled in all other areas of your life. 

The biggest influence in my life... was and continues to be my father. He dreams big, travels, runs a company, races cars and flies aircraft. He lives life to the fullest and this has always been a strong influence on me and my brothers to pursue our own happiness. 

My greatest achievement is... yet to be realised. I have done things I am proud of, and achieved some good results for certain things; but in terms of a greatest achievement, I think (and perhaps always will) believe that this is yet to come. 

In the future I’d like to… go to space.

The topic I Tweet about most is... travel, startups and technology.

The best piece of advice I ever received... see the world! 

The single-most important issue in the world is… our persistent, though unnatural indifference and lack of empathy for one another. There are plenty of issues facing our world, but if we transcended this we would go a long way to solving the others – we could do so much more and be so much better. 

The thing I wish I had done but never got around to... so many things. A few come to mind like dive the Great Barrier Reef whilst it still exists, learn to (wind/kite/longboard) surf, see Uluru, visit Tibet, high five a monk... but this gives much to look forward to. 

One last thing... if thing was pronounced 'ting' in the Irish style we'd all be happier and the world would automatically be a little more awesome. Go on, say 'one last ting' and try not to smile. 

One final last ting... enjoy your life, see the world and try to be a good person...Oh and visit if you want a really cool way to discover new places to see.