Day 1: The Big Yellow Border

My list of things to do today is massive. I’m about to take off from D.C. on a 4,000-mile road trip across America in search of good will.

But all I’m worried about is what to wear.

Call it shallow, superficial, silly – but it’s the truth.

See, I’ve been called to The Office of The Magazine with The Big Yellow Border.

It’s capitalized because this is about as big as it gets for someone like me.

Growing up poor and landlocked in Tulsa, Oklahoma, there was a lot we didn’t have. Vacations and a television were two of them. Which meant on Saturday mornings, while all my pals were watching G.I. Joe save the world again, I was on my way to the public library. 

And there it was, all the way back in the periodicals section — the magazine with the bright yellow border, calling me out of my adolescent angst. My escape. My ticket out of Middle America.

L.A. was no longer an expensive flight away.
Paris wasn’t just for millionaires.
And Egypt was no longer on the moon.

Week after week, I saw more and more of the world.

And when I turned 18, I packed up everything and moved all the way to Texas.
Five years later, I sold everything and moved to Europe.
Four years after that, I showed up in China with $500 in my pocket.
Five  years after that, I just started showing up: Africa. The Middle East. Australia. South America.

And later today, I’ll arrive at The Office.

I’ll thank them for the escape they’ve provided me as a kid, and what they’re doing for me now.

And then I’ll take one of their cars and head south, past the Lincoln Memorial, and over the Potomac River into Virginia and beyond to find the good that this country has to offer.

Because, lemme tell ya – there’s a whole lot of it. [Librarians not withstanding.]

Think I’ll go with the button-up and some nice pants.

Right now, Aric’s on his way from D.C. to Charlottesville, Virginia. Keep up with his adventures — and tell him what to see along his route — on Twitter @GoodTraveler and Instagram @GoodTraveler.


  1. […] from Nat Geo headquarters in Washington, D.C., down to Otis Redding’s hometown, then all the way to Los Angeles and […]

  2. aoife
    June 16, 2012, 1:45 pm

    Love the blog! National Geographic was my escape growing up and you explained it perfectly NG brought me closer to my dreams of seeing the world as soon as I opened those pages I was transported to anywhere it would take me.. can’t wait to read more of your amazing blog

  3. Aric S. Queen
    May 16, 2012, 5:50 pm

    Thanks guys, sorry to be late in getting back to this. I meant ‘librarians not withstanding’ meaning they too are a whole lotta good… giving me the magazines.

    Did I write that wrong? There’s a good chance I did. If so – apologies. Obviously, I owe them a whole lot.

    [This is where one goes ‘Some of my best friends are librarians!]


  4. Beth
    May 10, 2012, 4:49 pm

    You must tell us what you think of Chicago!

  5. akajill
    May 9, 2012, 12:39 am

    Yes, what do you mean by “librarians not withstanding”? Are you implying that librarians held you back or that they aren’t good? That is generally what “not withstanding” means. I am not sure I understand that. It is more like the librarians brought you the world by providing you that magazine with the yellow border.

  6. Andre
    May 8, 2012, 10:36 am

    Yep. Those new pants are indeed needed.
    Have a nice trip and enjoy!

  7. JP Marshall
    Panama City Beach, FL
    May 8, 2012, 9:03 am

    We got it Good Will, Good Pizza, and Good Times.
    If you make it to the panhandle of Florida you need to check out The Red Bar and Morrison Springs or any of the Hundreds of cold springs Florida has to offer.

  8. Jean Lightner Norum
    Charlottesville, VA
    May 8, 2012, 7:17 am

    I, too, grew up devouring National Geographic. Looking forward to following your travels.

  9. Gaelyn Olmsted
    Grand Canyon NP North Rim
    May 8, 2012, 1:05 am

    Have a great journey and keep the rubber down.

  10. Joe Farney
    May 7, 2012, 3:56 pm

    The adventure begins!

  11. Judith Siess
    Champaign, IL
    May 7, 2012, 2:06 pm

    what do you mean “Librarians not withstanding?”