DOUG Greenshields isn’t quite sure what he’s going to do next.
For the last 10 years, the former farmer from central Victoria has been running a guesthouse in Ecuador alongside his economist wife, Rebecca, from New Zealand.
The pair bought La Casa Verde (which means “The Green House”) while they were backpacking in South America. At the time, it was merely a shell — and it cost almost all of their savings — but together they built it into a successful eco-friendly lodge.
Two weeks ago, they put it on the market — but not in the way you’d expect.
“Raffling it off for US$29 per ticket gives everyone the chance to do it if they want to … It’s better odds than Tattslotto,” Doug told news.com.au.
The couple clearly likes to do things differently, and they explained they came up with the idea of raffling it off due to the huge number of guests who said they loved the place and wished they could do something similar.
Of course, it’s not easy to simply pack up and move to South America, so in addition to winning the property and the successful business, the lucky ticket holder will also get US$10,000 to get themselves started.
“We’ve got a target to reach of 35,000, and then the place is up for grabs. We’ve got a maximum of 250,000 tickets — not to limit the price, but so people know what the odds will be,” Doug explained.
The little slice of paradise is set along the Pastaza River at Baños, which is essentially half way between the Amazon rainforest and the Andes mountains.
He and Rebecca have been living at the property with their nine-year-old son, John, and three-year-old daughter Lexie — both of whom were born in Ecuador.
“It gave us the opportunity to work from home in our own business, so we were there for our kids all the time. It also gave us the opportunity not to have a mortgage and to be debt-free, and to have a profitable business and travel,” said Doug.
“You have to be up for a bit of a challenge. Growing up in quite a conservative upbringing in central Victoria, then going to somewhere like La Casa Verde and meeting people from all walks of life, from every corner of the globe, it taught me a lot of good skills.”
He explained the property is currently leased, and that having managers meant he and Rebecca were able to take their kids on two six-months stints of travelling through the United States, Canada and Alaska.
When they first travelled around South America, Doug said he and Rebecca became frustrated when many “green” lodgings failed to deliver.
He told news.com.au they built the kind of place they’d have like to stay in.
“One of the big things was plastic water bottles. We’d stay in so-called eco-hostels and they’d just give you a plastic bottle with no efforts to reduce the garbage,” he gave an example.
“There was that aspect of it and also the deforestation of the Amazon, a lot of them had logged an acre of it to build the place. We wanted to get away from that.
“We built it all with sustainable material, and set up our own water filtration system and provide rainwater for the guests so there’s no water bottles or anything. We built our own septic system, there’s no treatment plant or anything.”
To enter the draw, you simply need to buy Doug’s e-book online. If the couple doesn’t sell enough tickets, they’ll simply split the prize pool with the winner.
“Hopefully that doesn’t even come into it. We really want it to go to someone who wants to change their life,” he said.
Find out more about La Casa Verde, or enter the competition to Win the Lifestyle.