An Australian couple has decided to raffle off their tropical island resort to a lucky winner.
Doug and Sally Beitz built the Nautilus Resort on the Micronesian island of Kosrae in 1994 and have worked and lived their ever since.
The resort is debt free, sleeps 16 people and employs 16 full-time staff.
Now wanting to spend more time with their family in Queensland, the couple is running a worldwide raffle and have so far sold 53,000 tickets.
“It’s now time for us to begin a new chapter in our lives closer to family in Australia,” wrote the pair on their website, adding that they don’t want to sell out to a faceless corporate.
Tickets for the raffle cost $65 – making their loot so far $3.4 million – and have been on sale since April.
‘There has to be more’
Doug and Sally said they were stuck in the “corporate rat race” when they became entranced by Micronesia after watching a documentary on the idyllic island cluster.
A few days later, Doug saw a magazine ad for business opportunities in Micronesia and took it as a sign.
Knowing they were taking a risk leaving behind stable government jobs and to embark on the unknown world of tourism – with three small children in tow – the pair decided to jump in head first.
“We figured that, if it all failed, we were young enough to start over again,” Sally said.
Moving to the island was difficult in some ways, like missing avocados and tomatoes, but Sally and Doug said their children flourished in the natural environment and surprisingly, the couple’s social life also improved.
“Back then there was no internet or TV, so we would have a potluck three nights a week,” Doug said.
“We got to know the people here better in six months than you would in 10 years in a typical Australian suburban cul-de-sac.”
With their four boys now living on the mainland and a new grandchild they’re missing, the pair have made the decision to move back to ‘real life’ and say they want to give another couple a lucky break.
“We’re ready to pass the baton to someone else,” Doug said.
Entries close soon
Doug said he had been “brought to tears” by emails he’d received from ticket buyers.
“One man emailed me from Orlando a few days after the shooting, and said ‘The feeling in the city is shocking now. I might not win, but thank you for giving me a reason to hope’,” he told The Guardian.
Doug – a high school dropout – said the pair was willing to stay on to mentor the winner on the ins and outs of the business.
The lucky winner will be drawn on Tuesday July 26.