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The Good Traveler makes a last-minute call outside Nat Geo's HQ in D.C. before taking off. (Photo by Leslie Trew Magraw)

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.