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Oh the Places You’ll Go

Dr. Seuss died in 1991. But if you read his last book, you might think he saw 2020 coming.

“Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” is Dr. Seuss’ ode to adventurous spirits everywhere. In it, he encourages readers to chart their own path through life, take chances and rise above adversity.

Dr. Seuss couches his advice in a second-person story about all the ups and downs young people will experience in life. After a period of successes, he says, they’ll hit some obstacles, get caught in a slump and struggle through uncertainty. And that struggle is likely to lead them to what he calls “a most useless place” — the Waiting Place.

What happens there? People just stand around… waiting:

Waiting for a train to go

or a bus to come, or a plane to go

or the mail to come, or the rain to go

or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow

or waiting around for a Yes or No

or waiting for their hair to grow.

Everyone is just waiting.

I’ve read this passage to my kids dozens of times. But those words resonate with me now more than ever, because they seem to encapsulate the place our society — and our industry — is stuck at the moment.

We’re all waiting for something. Waiting for the masks to go, or a vaccine to come, or a cure to grow, or guests to come, or a tour to go. Everyone is just waiting.

If you listen to the pundits today, you could easily be convinced that waiting is the only thing we can do.

But I reject that reasoning. And I’m pretty sure Dr. Seuss would too. Here’s how he continues:


That’s not for you!

Somehow you’ll escape

all that waiting and staying

You’ll find the bright places

where Boom Bands are playing.

Staying and waiting weren’t viable options for Dr. Seuss, and they’re not viable for us either. If we wait for things to be perfect, we’ll wait our industry out of existence.

All around the country, destinations, attractions and other travel providers have taken extraordinary steps to ensure that guests can visit in healthy and safe ways. There are hundreds of places you can go right now. Life is too short to let waiting steal the joy of travel.

Sure, there will be critics. And yes, some of your travelers will be too nervous to go. But would that stop Dr. Seuss?

“You’re off to great places! Today is your day!” he writes at the end of the book. There’s a world to explore. “So… get on your way!”

Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. In more than a decade of travel journalism he has visited 48 states and 25 foreign countries.

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