Sold my Life, Bought an Island

Whatever next?

He sold his life on eBay and travelled the world – now Ian Usher has bought his own Caribbean island.

Situated just off the coast of Bocas del Toro, in north-west Panama, Mr Usher’s private tropical getaway has no name and is undeveloped.

The 47-year-old, who hit the headlines in 2008 when he sold his Australian home, car, job and friends as a package on internet auction site eBay after splitting from his wife, bought the 2.2-acre island from an anonymous British ex-pat for an undisclosed sum.

It was purchased by Darlington– born Mr Usher for less than $50,000 (£30,000).

The proud new owner, who was educated atBarnard Castle School and who emigrated to Australia in 2001, plans to build an off-grid house on the island when he moves there in six weeks’ time.

He spotted it on a property finding trip to Panama, in April.

Speaking from Canada last night, where he is living with his partner, Moe, he said: “The island’s main asset, I believe, is its location. It is in a relatively sheltered part of the Caribbean, so has very calm water.

“It is about 15 minutes by boat to town. There is snorkelling and diving almost right off the dock, and some lovely restaurants a short boat ride away. The island hasn’t ever been used for anything – it’s just an overgrown, forested, undeveloped island at the moment.”

Mr Usher is now planning on relaxing and living the simple life, at least for a while.

“I plan to make a relatively simple home there, all off-grid and as self-sufficient as possible,” he said. “Water will be from rainwater collection, power from solar. I plan to grow coconuts, bananas, pineapple, mango, and maybe some coffee, and keep chickens for eggs, too, perhaps.

“I also want to have some toys, maybe a sailboat and a jet ski, and some diving gear.

“Hopefully, over the coming years I can make it pretty special.”


15 Responses

  1. Keep us in the know, my only caution for you is that you will not be looted by others that know where you are. The enemy does not care what you have, they are covetous and want it, “just as long as you don’t have it or enjoy it” is their motto. Be safe and keep friends who will protect each other.

  2. Hi there fellow. I have always had a desire to live like you. I’m very much a visionary and I love to talk, and be out doors. I’m so desperate at the moment that I feel defeated by the obstacles in my way. I bet your wife is kicking her self in the ass as I speak.

  3. That’s all fine n dandy, until a Tsunami strikes and washes you out to sea to become fish food, or you just wanna run to the store for a box of corn flakes or tampons… A sailboat isn’t man’s best friend for a reason; what if you wanna get out and stretch ur legs? An island makes for one lonely home… most folks would go stir-crazy in such isolation.

  4. “The idea was to eliminate everything unnecessary, to make the whole as direct and simple as possible, but always with the beautiful in mind as the first goal.” – Henry Greene 1912
    Congratulations Ian, best of luck to you both :)

  5. WoW ! you are my idol! I want to do just that! you have to have luck and be in the right place at the right time.
    Maybe one day. write a book, i want the knowledge!
    the best of luck
    amanda – rural france

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