Anyone who's been to Luang Prabang, Laos, has likely spent time at L'Étranger, a cafe where you can trade books, buy fair-trade art, and even settle in for a movie screening. Canadian owner Isabel Dréan built the place about a decade ago when she came to town for a couple of days and ended up staying for ten years. Now, she's giving it all away so that someone else can have the dream life that she created for herself. Yes, really.
Travelers are encouraged to enter the contest that's giving away her bookstore, cafe, fair-trade gallery, motorcycle, $10,000 USD, foreign investor resident status, and more. According to Dréan, she's simply looking for someone that can prove they're the right person to continue her legacy.
In a statement, she said “Rather than selling the business the traditional way, I wanted to show gratitude and change someone’s life [...] I'm looking to find someone who will keep the magic alive." She then adds "I know it's hard to believe but I really want to pass on the chance I was given to someone else because I think it's the perfect ending to this beautiful story. I had to find a solution to let it go in a way that I can live with."
Those looking to enter the contest will need to write a 200-word essay or create a two-minute video explaining why they're the perfect person to take over. In addition, all entrants have to pay a $50 fee — a price that apparently could rise, but is meant to offset the costs to Dréan. From there, 30 quarter-finalists will be chosen, and then 10 semi-finalists. And get this — all ten semi-finalists will receive a ten-day, all-expenses-paid trip to Laos to meet with Dréan herself. After that, she'll select the final winner on June 6 to take over her beloved legacy.