He auctioned his entire life – car, home, job and friends – on eBay in a midlife crisis that made headlines the world over.
When Ian Usher’s wife Laura left him six years after they emigrated from Britain to Australia, he shed every part of his old life.
Then he took the proceeds and made a fresh start, travelling the world armed with nothing but a list of life-goals.
A forlorn Ian Usher auctioned his entire life on eBay in Perth, Australia, after his wife left him four years ago
Meeting millionaire Richard Branson was one of the experiences on Mr Usher’s list of 100 things to do
Four years on he has achieved most of them, has found love again . . . and is living on his own Caribbean island.
Mr Usher, 48, who is originally from Darlington, made £192,000 after putting his three-bed house near Perth in Western Australia and all its contents on sale. The eBay lot included his Mazda car, motorbike, jet-ski and parachuting gear.
The keen sky-diver also included an introduction to his friends and a trial at his job as a sales assistant at a rug shop.
Still heartbroken after his marriage split, Mr Usher boarded a plane for Dubai, then on to dozens more countries. And since then he hasn’t looked back or wasted a minute.
He has lived each day to the max – running with bulls, cage diving with great white sharks and even joining the Mile High Club.
Ian Usher used the proceeds from auctioning everything he owned to buy a Caribbean island like this one off the coast of Panama (file photo)
Ain’t no mountain high enough: Standing in the shadow of Mount Everest
Mr Usher has ticked off 93 of the 100 experiences he planned to complete within 100 weeks. During what he describes as an ‘incredible’ two years, he learnt French and how to fly a plane, met Sir Richard Branson and scored a bit-part in a Hollywood movie.
A life sold: Ian Usher also published a book about selling his whole life
He said: ‘I think a couple of standout ones were swimming with a mother humpback whale and her calf in Japan, and riding a motorbike on the Wall of Death. My week in Pamplona in Spain was fantastic, and terrifying too, running with the bulls there.’
The wish-list also included ‘flying a plane solo, seeing the red crabs at Christmas Island . . . I could go on. It was an incredible two years’.
Along the way he founded an online network for others who, like him, feel they have been ‘blindsided’ by life. He blogged about his adventures and has self-published his book A Life Sold – another goal checked off the list.
Before his money ran out he bought an idyllic 2.2-acre island off the coast of Panama, believed to have cost around £30,000, where he is building himself a home.
And while it wasn’t on his to-do list, Mr Usher has also managed to find romance along the way.
The new woman in his life is a Canadian called Moe, who often visits him at his new home.Mr Usher told the Sydney Morning Herald they met while dog-sledding, but didn’t see each other for a further 15 months although they kept in touch.
‘When we met up again in Florida, spending a week together in Jamaica, then a further week in Costa Rica, romance developed,’ he said.
He admitted that the choice of Panama in Central America as a place to settle was ‘a little random’.
Living life to the limit: Ian Usher stands on the edge of the Grand Canyon as part of his whistle-stop world tour
‘I really didn’t want to live somewhere where I’d have to work to be able to afford to live – at least for a year or two. I made an offer on a small island, which was accepted. It’s very laid back and relaxed.’
He lives in an archipelago Bocas del Toro (Mouths of the Bull), a popular tourist destination near the border between Panama and Costa Rica. Visitors are drawn by its beautiful natural landscape which includes lush rainforest, golden sand beaches and a coral reef.
Unsurprisingly Hollywood has come calling, with Disney snapping up the rights to Mr Usher’s story.
He said he hasn’t regretted his decision for a second. ‘It has been the most incredible adventure – exactly what I was after. [I’ve learnt] that I am much happier and more fulfilled when sharing life’s adventure with a partner, and that I am very resilient and resourceful.’