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But Canadian Kyle MacDonald has achieved exactly that and will see his new home for the first time on Wednesday.
It took Kyle exactly a year of 14 internet trades to move from the paper clip to a house on Main Street in the tiny town of Kipling in Saskatchewan province - a place he has never been to before.
Now the 26-year-old is planning to write a book about the venture which saw him trade up through a novelty doorknob, a camping stove, a snowmobile, a recording contract, and an afternoon with rock star Alice Cooper.
"I knew it was possible," he said on the BBC's
One red paper clip
Beer keg with neon sign
Trip to Yakh
A large van
One recording contract
One year rent-free in Phoenix
Afternoon with Alice Cooper
Hollywood movie role
House in Kipling