Nishan Rajakaruna '08
Nishan Rajakaruna
Photo: Hasitha Dewapriya
A Higher Journey
A Higher Journey
After building a successful travel agency, Nishan Rajakaruna ’08 finds a new focus
EARN ENOUGH MONEY, and you can buy anything you want. Or you can take the opposite path.

After launching and growing a successful travel agency in his home country of Sri Lanka, Nishan Rajakaruna ’08 refocused his life on the teachings of Buddha.

“After I reached my financial target, I realized that money gives me happiness, but it’s not permanent, lasting happiness,” he says. “As soon as those materialistic objects are removed from your life, that happiness goes.”

Success for Rajakaruna happened almost by accident. After graduating from Bucknell with a degree in chemical engineering, he found a job at a tea company in Sri Lanka. One day in 2010, he was flipping through one of the company’s brochures. He saw a line that read, “We are your total tea solution.”

A name popped into his head: Total Travel Solution. Rajakaruna’s father, a tour guide for French-speaking travelers, had dreamed of starting his own travel agency but never had.

Rajakaruna registered Total Travel Solution in 2011 and began calling foreign tour operators to establish partnerships. To his delight, one in Spain was interested. Eight years later, the company has made more than 600 bookings and has partnered with five major travel websites, including Viator, owned by TripAdvisor.

Rapid growth kept Rajakaruna busy, but before long, his desire to live a simpler life outweighed everything else. He remains the company’s owner and CEO but has stopped expanding the operation.

“Business is going at a comfortable pace, so I have enough time for meditation,” he says. “I just want to live a simple life.”

These days, Rajakaruna has a strict daily routine with built-in time for exercise, meditation and helping others. He coaches young people (using the pseudonym Coach Carter) on how to start a business — sharing the entrepreneurship lessons he first learned while taking management classes at Bucknell.

“I believe that the more you give, the more you get,” he says. “It’s simple as that. It’s how the universe works.” — Bryan Wendell