For most of us, there will come a time in our life where we might not feel as happy or fulfilled as we used to. That moment will require you to make a lot of tough choices. Maybe it’s changing your job, or breaking up with your partner. Hey, maybe it’s just getting your hairdresser to give you bangs and calling it a day.
For one man, that moment meant leaving everything material behind and finally conquering his dreams. Ian Usher never expected that a messy divorce would be the best thing that ever happened to him. Continue on and read about the incredible journey of the man who sold his life on eBay.
A Messy Divorce
Ian Usher seemed to have everything going for him. He was born in England and received a BEd in Outdoor Education. In 2001, he moved to Australia to work in sales where he met his wife and got married.
Sadly, the marriage didn’t last and ended up in a messy divorce. Ian was left in a foreign country with no motivation.
What he would do next would gain press around the world.
Taking A Chance On eBay
Ian did what no one else had thought to do before: he was going to sell his life. He had nothing left tying him to his house, his marriage, or Australia. He decided to list his “life for sale.”
Included in the sale was everything from his house to his hot tub and his jet ski.
The Details Of The Sale
The nitty gritty for the eBay sale was pretty simple. The highest bidder got everything material from Ian’s life so that he could have a “fresh start.”
Ian wasn’t exactly sure what to use the money for, but he knew it would go toward leaving Australia and moving on with his life.
A Media Storm
It didn’t take long for the media to pick up Ian’s story. Never before in the history of eBay had someone auctioned off everything in their life.
Before he knew it, Ian was doing multiple interviews a day which only helped his cause. More and more people began to log onto eBay and start to bid on Ian’s life.
A Shocking Response
Ian’s life-for-sale may have had a lot of media coverage, but it didn’t translate to numbers. When the auction closed on June 29, 2008, the highest big was only $399,300.
To make matters worse, the top bidder couldn’t even follow through because they didn’t already have the funds in place and they weren’t an Australian citizen.
Disappointment And A New Plan
Ian couldn’t help but be disappointed. Selling his life on eBay was supposed to be a fresh start, but he didn’t let failure deter him.
Despite not getting $400,000 from eBay, he decided to go on with selling his items individually. All that was left was to figure out what to do with his life now.
Ian turned to books and films to show him what to do next.
Inspired By “Into The Wild”
One of Ian’s main inspirations for packing up (and selling) his life was the book about Christopher McCandless, “Into The Wild.” In the book, Chris leaves all material possessions behind to travel and experience life.
Ian said that Chris’ reasons for leaving his life behind resonated with him and inspired him to do the same.
100 Goals In 100 Weeks
Finally, Ian figured out what to do with his new lease on life. Ian decided to use the money from the sale of his material items to travel the world and accomplish his bucket list.
Most people don’t think to try and complete their bucket list until they’re older. Ian was only in her early 40s but he figured it’s now or never!
Unfortunately, $400,000 wouldn’t be enough to accomplish all these goals. Ian needed to find a way to make money elsewhere.
Starting A Book
Of course, a man smart enough to sell his entire life on eBay is also smart enough to know a good opportunity when he sees it. Ian decided that his story of selling a life online and achieving 100 goals in 100 weeks would be popular in book form.
He began to write a book as he tackled his adventures. The result would be life-changing.
From Walking The Cannes Red Carpet…
Over the next 100 weeks, Ian set out to accomplish things many of us could only dream of. From skydiving, driving across America on Route 66, to juggling with fire clubs, he knocked off a bunch of his bucket list items.
One of the more impressive goals was being able to walk the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival as a guest!
…To Meeting Richard Branson
For Ian, meeting a self-made millionaire like Richard Branson was more than enough inspiration to keep him going. In fact, Ian said that meeting Branson was one of his personal highlights of the two years he spent crossing items off his bucket list.
Many of Ian’s bucket list items are easy for anyone to accomplish. Some were as simple as seeing the northern lights (we’re looking at you, Canada) to going to Oktoberfest in Germany!
The numbers it took for Ian to accomplish these goals are absolutely mind-boggling!
Some Monumental Figures
Accomplishing things like seeing an iceberg and joining the mile high club wasn’t exactly easy.
It took 41 airlines, 81 airports, 112 flights across six continents and 31 countries to come close to finishing his bucket list. The two-year journey came to an end on July 2, 2010, at the crown of the Statue of Liberty.
Despite the staggering numbers, Ian only accomplished 94 of his 100 goals. It seemed like nothing could go his way. Ian still hadn’t accomplished some of his goals like learning how to lucid dream or see a baby being born.
Luckily, the failure didn’t matter when one of the biggest opportunities of his life was about to come calling.
Next, Ian never expected one of the biggest companies in the world to come knocking at his door.
Disney Enters The Picture
When Ian wrote his first book “A Life Sold” in 2008 about his auction and bucket list, he expected some profits but nothing more. Disney came calling to option his book and life story into a movie.
The movie still has not come to fruition, but the paycheck Disney sent Ian for the rights to the book definitely helped him finish off a few of those bucket list items.
Moving To Island Time
You’d think that selling your life and traveling the world for two years would leave you happy and fulfilled, but that wasn’t the case with Ian. In 2011, after finishing off 94/100 items on his bucket list, he was left wondering what to do next.
So he did what any of us could only dream of and he bought a private Caribbean island.
How Exactly Do You Buy An Island?
We might all dream of buying an island, but why did Ian actually do it? After completing his first book and having Disney buy the rights to it, Ian had to decide where he’d want to live.
He took a trip to Panama because he preferred the tropical lifestyle and, as a joke, made a ridiculously low offer on an island. The agent seemed particularly motivated to get it off their hands and in no time Ian was the owner of his own private island!
A Whole New Type Of “Fresh Start”
The only problem with the island was that it was just that, an island. It was covered in trees and greenery but was missing things like running water and there wasn’t a building in sight. In early 2012, Ian took to the island and began to clear trees, and after a lot of hard work, built a house that was entirely self-sufficient!
For more than two years Ian lived happily on this island until something drastic changed his mind.
Finding Love In Paradise
Ian may have already found a second lease on life, but now he had a second lease on love. Ian met Vanessa while traveling in the United Kingdom. It didn’t take long for them to realize they were meant to be together.
Within six months Vanessa handed in her notice at work and took the plunge by moving to Ian’s island!
Now that Ian found love again, would he want to stay on the remote Caribbean island?
A Man Who Can’t Make Up His Mind
Most people would be happy living the rest of their life on a private island, but not Ian. After less than two years on the island and meeting Vanessa, he decided he was once again tired of his life.
So what did he do? He sold it again! This time, it was a Caribbean life for sale. Ian decided to auction off the entire island and the house built on it so he could travel the world yet again.
Book Number Two
As Ian waited for the sale of his island, he wrote and published his second book “Paradise Delayed.” In the book, he talked about the ups and downs of living off-the-grid and rebuilding his (first) life on a private island.
As Ian and Vanessa patiently waited for the island to sell, they had to take some time to figure out what they would do next.
TEDx Talk Time
Ian was completely shocked in 2013 when he received an e-mail from the coordinator of the TEDx Vienna conference. They wanted him to come and speak on living a life without any limits.
The TEDx talk was a great success and proved to Ian that he could make a living showing others that there is more to life than what they know.
Becoming “Global Nomads”
As their love grew, so did Ian and Vanessa’s desire to accomplish more and more goals. The two decided that after selling the island they would become “global nomads.”
Finally, in 2014, a man named Graham Hughes and his company decided to purchase the island. Ian and Vanessa were finally free to follow their THIRD lease on life.
Using House Sitting To Their Advantage
One of the ingenious ideas that Ian and Vanessa used to their advantage to travel was to become long-term house sitters. That means that for folks taking long vacations or business trips, Ian and Vanessa would stay at their homes and watch their pets for free.
The homeowners get to save on the costs of a kennel or pet sitter, and Ian and Vanessa get free room and board.
Traveling The World As House Sitters
Being house sitters allowed Ian and Vanessa to travel the world like never before. Rather than flying from place to place, they got to spend anywhere from one week to two months in one place and experience the culture.
In just one year as house sitters, they traveled to Texas, Spain, England, and Mexico!
A New Fulfilling Job
Being “global nomads” certainly was fun for Ian and Vanessa, but they were short on cash and wanted to do something more meaningful with their travels. The two decided to take a course on teaching English to children around the world.
Ian and Vanessa figured they could combine teaching with being house sitters to enjoy life and help others. After passing the course, they set off for their first assignment.
Off To China!
Ian and Vanessa’s first teaching stop was in China. Ian had already visited China as a stop for his bucket list back in November 2009. There, he achieved his 64th goal of walking along the Great Wall of China.
Ian probably had no idea back in 2009 that within five years he’d be back in China living there with a new love of his life.
Over To Figi
After one year in China, Ian and Vanessa became online teachers. That meant they could earn money, help others, and do it while traveling.
Their next stop would be a six-week gig at a luxury resort in Fiji looking after two bulldogs. It was here that Ian and Vanessa began to settle into a routine.
New Projects In New Places
Once again, Ian and Vanessa packed up to house sit somewhere else, but they began to realize their global nomadic lifestyle could be inspirational to others. They began the launch of a free magazine “House Sitting: The Ultimate Lifestyle Magazine.”
In it they connect possible homeowners with house sitters, talk about the advantages of house sitting, and even tips on dealing with different pets.
Ten Years Later
Ian sold his (first) life back in 2008. Ten years later, it seems like he’s lived many more lives and counting. People have asked Ian what the next ten years have in store for him and he admits he has no plans.
Instead, he says not having plans and making smart choices as you go is what will help you create the life you get to live in the future.
Ian always stresses that although he is by no means rich or well-off, without the debt of a mortgage tying him down, he is able to experience the world as no one else can.
From a messy divorce to building a house on a private Panama island and everything in between, Ian Usher’s life certainly won’t become boring any time soon.