Megan Sullivan, who’d dreamed of traveling the world for years, had had a bad month. On her blog she writes that she’d fallen 50 feet while rock-climbing at Yosemite, had the distinct pleasure of being hit by a car, and, because all bad things come in threes, was then diagnosed with skin cancer. All in one month! While this would trip up a lot of people (how many of us would just take to our beds?), Sullivan decided that she wanted to do something special to remind herself of how precious life is. So she dropped everything, packed her bags, and realized her dreams of seeing all seven wonders of the world in one hectic and joyous 13 day trip.
Buzzfeed reports that Sullivan, who was diagnosed in 2015, began to question the meaning of life even before she was hit with the life-threatening news:
“It all started in Yosemite Valley, where I had been training for three years to climb the nose route on El Capitan,” Sullivan told BuzzFeed. “I was 2,000 feet up when I took a terrifying 50-foot fall. After a fall like that, I started to question everything… from why am I putting myself into these scary situations? What am I trying to prove to myself, or better yet, to the world?”
All excellent questions. And especially good ones when you’ve been dealt a “trifecta of bad luck” as Sullivan puts it. So, even with people questioning her choices, she stayed home from work, bought plane tickets and spent 13 days chasing her dream. In a little less than two weeks she’d done everything — from touching Christ The Redeemer in Rio, to walking The Great Wall Of China, to speeding along on a skateboard in Turkey. She’d also traveled more than 28,000 miles, visited 15 countries, and (most harrowing of all) took 15 flights to get there. If you’re counting along at home, that averages out to one flight a day (sometimes more) in less than a fortnight! On her blog, Sullivan writes that people have inundated her with concerns about her “mental stability,” but just a glimpse of the pictures she posted to her Instagram shows that what everyone should really be asking is, “what can I do to give myself this much life-affirming joy?”
Here’s Sullivan taking a ride on an electric skateboard in Istanbul:
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what should be my next adventure? electric skateboarding throughout istanbul was one of those experiences that I can't stop dreaming about… so I'm thinking that I should go on another, right?! //check out the video link in my profile that documented this trip. #livemorenow
Here she is throwing her hands up on The Great Wall:
And here’s a shot of her waving hello at a Mayan pyramid in Chichen Itza:
But there’s so much more! Like her visit to Machu Pichu:
And this beautiful shot of her pledging to #livemorenow at the Taj Mahal:
One of the biggest misconceptions about her trip, Sullivan points out, is that you need a lot of money to travel the world the way that she did. She told Buzzfeed that she’s fortunate to have a high-paying job, but that anyone thinks that you need to be “Bill Gates to travel” is wrong.
“Decreasing useless spending on your day-to-day will allow you to not only save for any trip that you desire; but, it will empower you to get rid of a lot of waste in your life,” she continued. “Personally, I constantly have a savings account specifically for travel and I don’t put anything onto credit cards. But, I also have been wearing the same jeans for three years and my friends know that I always bring my water canteen filled with box wine to any San Francisco bar.”
Sure, not all of us can do what Sullivan did with less than 10 days of planning (she details exactly what you need to prepare for on her blog here) (pay especially close attention to the companionship part) by wearing worn-out pants and swilling Franzia, but her point is solid: You have to figure out what you want to do while you’re here, check out what it takes, and then start planning to make it a reality. Does it have to be travel? No. Should you have something life-affirming to keep shooting for? Absolutely. Would Megan Sullivan trade her experience for anything in the world? Just one look at the video up top should give you your answer.
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It's been nine months since I got that #stupidcancer removed… a scar remains serving as a constant reminder of prevention and protection against uv rays. I urge you to get a yearly skin check and to constantly use preventative measures as you are enjoying the great outdoors…. think "big picture" here… lets be friends and look fantastic when we are 150 years-young #livemorenow // Last night I had the incredible opportunity speak on the @stupidcancer podcast to share some of my experiences. Check it out and the organization: https://soundcloud.com/stupidcancersh…/359-show-some-empathy
Sullivan’s cancer is gone (although she says that it’s important to have “routine checks and wear sun screen”), but she’s sticking by her promise to “live more now” every day, continuing to travel and experience the world. And never forget to be grateful for the little things:
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…after a week like that… it's the little accomplishments in life… #ipoopedtoday // I am truly thankful for the love and support of my best friends and family this weekend. You guys have the amazing ability to make me laugh at a time of utter despair. I love you @kwmichels @carlymelhuse @summergirl22 @lucy_kate @toridegen @emilyhanour //#livemorenow #getoutside #optoutside #rei1440project #californiacoast #centralcoast #cambria #sunset #coast #sanluisobispo #cloudscape #coastline
Here’s just one more beautiful shot of Sullivan on her trip, saying “what’s up?” to Christ’s statue in Rio.
Kind of makes you want to plan something this weekend, right?