Mayfield junior becomes cross-country traveler


Greg McNelly

Megan McNelly while visiting Hawaii, the 50th state she has visited.

Alexa Passafiume, Guest Writer

After years of traveling, junior Megan McNelly finally completed her goal of traveling to all 50 states with her family.

Starting with Ohio and ending in Hawaii, McNelly can now check a long-awaited goal off her bucket list.

From a young age, McNelly has been living with the idea of completing a cross-country expedition. Recalling the start of the experience she said, “When my sister and I were young, my dad noticed that we’d been to a lot of states. He came up with the idea to travel to all 50 before my sister, Kristen, graduated high school in 2015.”

During her traveling, McNelly was exposed to drastic changes in lifestyle. Living in Ohio her entire life, McNelly quickly realized how different life could be when only a few hours away. Referencing her trip to Hawaii McNelly said, “It was so much different than all of the other typical vacation destinations in the lower 48. Not just the scenery, but the people, it’s almost like you’re in a different country.”   

Being able to see different lifestyles around the country allowed McNelly to grow as a person. The trips varied from some extreme lows to superb highs. She said, “I’ve seen destroyed houses in New Orleans from Hurricane Katrina. But, I’ve also seen houses the size of schools in California.” No matter the situation, McNelly saw sights that have never left her.

Most kids McNelly’s age do not have the information that she has gained through her travels. Seeing such drastic variations of life across the country allowed McNelly to mature and gain a point of view that some people will never have the opportunity get. She is now able to better understand who she is and is more aware of the world around her.

McNelly’s mothe, Karen said, ”Megan had benefited by getting a different perspective of life around the country. This will help her later in life because she will be more diverse and will have a more broad understanding of others.”

McNelly said not every trip was the same, making the journey more spontaneous and enjoyable, while also giving her valuable memories. “We would go to one state and then drive to all the other states around it,” she said. For example, my aunt and uncle live in Colorado, so we’d go there and make stops in the surrounding states.”

Each trip gave McNelly a different insight to her surroundings that she will remember for a lifetime. McNelly’s father Greg, said, “I wanted my daughters to have something that would make them remember their childhood forever and so they could have stories to tell their children and their children’s children.”  

When reflecting on her journey, McNelly realized how incredible this experience was. She hopes to continue her travels in the future and said, “Someday, I want to take my own kids to the states I had the best memories in.”

She said keeping up with traveling later in life remains important to her.

McNelly’s travels have provided her with unforgettable experiences and they are not over yet. She said, “I plan on traveling around the world for new experiences later on.” She soon hopes to take her travels across the world.