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Man with a lot of goals visits Big Island

Karin Stanton/ Contributing Editor

Ian Usher doesn’t really have a plan, but he does have a long list of goals.

The Briton is traveling the globe – on a quest to complete 100 goals in 100 weeks. Now in week 24, he already has conquered the scary 5-meter diving board in the town where he was raised, got his tattoo buffed up in Ellettsville, Ind., and taken off paragliding over Gourdon in the south of France.

During a long weekend visit to the Big Island, Usher hopes to cross three goals off his list.

No. 27: Ian Usher visits an active volcano Saturday, Jan. 17 and crosses a goal off his list. (Photo courtesy

“Well, Saturday was No. 27, seeing an active volcano,” Usher said, reflecting on his tour of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

“To see that in person was pretty amazing,” he said. “It was a great day.”

Following his volcano outing and quick side trip to check out Kona’s snorkeling spots, Usher hopes to join a manta ray dive and is angling to hop on an island helicopter tour and actually take the controls – however momentarily.

“I never expected that one to pop up here, or the manta rays. That was originally planned off Western Australia,” he said during a lunch-time interview Sunday, Jan. 18. “It’s funny how things link together, how one person knows someone who knows someone.”

Usher said he is enjoying his stay in Captain Cook and seeing the “real” Hawaii.

Usher confessed Kona is rather easy to navigate. “I usually do my homework and know a bit before I get somewhere, but it’s really only a couple of roads, isn’t it?” he said, not realizing he’d just nailed the biggest complaint West Hawaii drivers have had for years.

“My image of Hawaii was more based on Honolulu,” he said. “My whole image of the U.S. comes from films and TV shows. It’s been great to see it in person.”

Usher, 45, was born and raised in England, got a degree in outdoor education, bounced through several jobs, started a jet ski business, then moved to Australia. After six years and a broken marriage, Usher decided it was time to try something new, or 100 somethings.

He attempted to sell his whole life on eBay – house, 1989 Mazda, furniture, clothes, an introduction to his friends and a try-out at his job as a rug salesman.

“That was goal No. 1, to sell my life and I didn’t. I didn’t get many takers at all, so it was back to more traditional methods of sale,” Usher said. “I planned to walk away with literally the clothes on my back, wallet and passport. I’ve had to tinker a bit.”

“And I never, ever said I was ‘selling’ my friends,” he said. “They are a good bunch and I would never dream of insulting my friends by suggesting I could sell them.”

He eventually did sell the Mazda for $750 and is in the process of selling the house in Perth.

“I’m on a backpacker’s budget and relying on a lot of other people’s generosity,” Usher said. “It’s amazing how much complete strangers will offer and how interested people are in what I’m doing. There are a lot of great people out there.”

Usher said his venture is proving that anything is possible and revealing philosophies that he will carry throughout his life, wherever it takes him next.

“This whole thing is an adventure, not a destination. I won’t really stress too much if I don’t accomplish it,” he said. “At times we limit in our minds what we can achieve. Once you get out and give it a go, it’s easier than you think. Ultimately, you have to write down your goals and just get out there.”

And if he looks silly while sky-diving nude or covered with tomato guts at the Spanish Tomatina Festival?

“I’ve never really worried about what other people think about me,” he said. “Who cares?”

Disney already has bought the option to his story, but Usher is keeping track of his adventures with frequent updates on his Web site.

“The blog and Web site are as much for me as anyone else. I always find it kind of split three ways – writing about what just happened, planning what’s next and just enjoying the moment,Usher said, although he confesses he is excited about goal No. 100 – securing a book deal. “It’s mostly just a nice way to keep the memories.”

Although Usher’s friends and family in Australia and England are connected to him, he is traveling alone, meeting new people and soaking up new experiences every day.

“I feel it’s not looking for one great answer,” he said. “I have an ease and acceptance, a general happiness. I do get lonely, but I also have great days. Emotionally, it’s like it’s turned up to 11, just more intensity.”

Still nothing has come close to changing Usher’s quest.

“I’m fairly flexible. I tend to be pretty easy going about plans,” he said. “I don’t have a ticket out of here yet. I just have a ticket from Honolulu to Japan on Jan. 26. That’s locked in.”

Japan is key to two goals – sleeping at a capsule hotel and the Sapporo Snow and Ice Festival.

“I saw a capsule hotel in a movie somewhere and thought I’d like to do that,” he said. “I saw photos of the ice sculptures in a travel article in a magazine, and added it to my travel list straight away. I thought that would be quite a sight.”

Only one goal so far has stumped Usher – a gathering of all the Ian Ushers in the United Kingdom was thwarted by scheduling issues. “But that hasn’t failed,” he insisted. “I just haven’t achieved it yet.”

Usher hopes to use his journey to kick-start a fund-raising campaign to benefit bowel cancer research. The disease claimed his father’s life in 1994, an event Usher said shaped the way he approaches the rest of his life.

“I still think now about all the plans he had and all the things he was going to do, the places he was going to see, and I feel sad that he missed out on all of this. And I suppose in a way this has shaped my attitude of simply getting on and doing what feels right, right at this moment,” he said. “I don’t know what my dad would think of what I am doing now, but I know he would have supported me in this as much as he supported me in everything else I chose to do.”

What does Usher expect week 101 to bring?

“Well, a year ago I didn’t know I was going to be doing this,” he said, “so I have no idea at all.”

And Usher seems just fine with that.

— Find out more:
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One Response to “Man with a lot of goals visits Big Island”

  1. Keahi Pelayo says:

    Good luck to Mr. Usher! May he cross more than 3 off his list.


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