During the month of November 2014, Megan Sullivan fell 50 feet rock climbing in Yosemite, got hit by a car, and received a skin cancer diagnosis.
Such scary health concerns could take quite a toll on anyone, but Sullivan decided to use the negative experiences to make a positive change in her life.
"For me it was more of a wake up call," she told A Plus. "When tragedy hits you seem to question everything. Then you get to this point where you realize that with that loss comes an opportunity to fill that void with something else. It was at this point that I needed to start turning my lifelong dreams into a reality."
That dream was to travel the globe and see the New Seven Wonders of the World.
The New Seven Wonders are the results of an initiative started by a Swiss organization that asked 100 million people to vote from 200 existing monuments. They selected the Pyramid at Chichén Itzá in Mexico, Machu Picchu in Peru, Christ the Redeemer in Brazil, the Colosseum in Rome, Petra in Jordan, the Taj Mahal in India, and the Great Wall of China.
Sullivan saw a photo of Machu Picchu three years before her cancer diagnosis and, after some research, decided she'd want to visit all New Seven Wonders during the course of a single trip.
"From that moment on, I kept thinking one day I would do it," she said. "It took that month of bad luck to realize that it would continue to be just a dream unless I took the steps to make it into a reality."
So, just one week after her skin cancer was surgically removed, she embarked on a trip to visit all seven sites. A guy she had been dating for just two weeks joined her on the journey.
She managed to visit all seven wonders in just 13 days.
"It was an amazing opportunity to experience the world," Sullivan said. "Jumping from country to another continent within days of one another ... "
"... you soon realized that it becomes easier and easier to communicate with anyone no mater what the language or cultural barrier may be, and that, at the end of the day, we are all simply human."
She hopes that anyone else going through a rough time can turn their luck around, too.
"You will hit a point in your life when you think that there is no way it could get any worse until it does," she said. "Days, weeks, months or sometimes even years later, you will wake up with an amazing realization that you survived; you were able to get through that moment even though at the time you never thought it possible. You hold the power to decide how you are going to live each day, so you might as well make it the greatest day of your life."
For those of you who have wanderlust, but have been putting off your travels, Sullivan advises to just go for it. "It really is not as expensive as you may think," she said. "Last year I wanted to travel to Europe and was low on money ... so I took everything in my studio that I had not touched or used in a year and sold it on eBay. I was able to get rid of a lot of useless waste and pay for my trip."
For Sullivan, traveling isn't just a fun experience. It's a dream come true that has changed her perspective on life.
"With every trip I learn something new about myself and of the world to further develop a greater outlook on my life."
"This was my dream. Maybe your dream is to write that novel, or ask for a promotion at work. Whatever it is, I hope to inspire people to go after those ambitions. For the only regrets that I have in my life, are from the missed opportunities that I never took a chance on."