I remember watching Hamlet for the first time and realizing that it was the source of many common phrases. Not that we use the Bard’s words verbatim. No. But we have turned his turns of phrase into our own. Consider:
- “Though this be madness, yet there is method in ‘t.”
- “The lady doth protest too much, methinks”.
- “In my mind’s eye”.
And the quote most apt for solo travelers: “This above all: to thine own self be true.”
Another line in Hamlet says that “Brevity is the soul of wit”. So get to the point, Janice.
My point is that we often use great phrases but have no knowledge of their origin. This was the case for me with “the road less traveled”. And, as with Shakespeare, it is not true to the words of its source. It comes from “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost – today’s Travel/Life poem.
Whether the road less traveled is the better path or not isn’t what interests me here. What counts for me in this poem is that one does choose a path. When I travel, I make choices large and small. From my destination country to taking a left rather than a right at an intersection, I make choices. And I can never return, as the same person, to explore the alternative.
In travel, in life, is the road less traveled more courageous? Is it better? Maybe. Maybe not. But whatever course you take it will make all the difference.
The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
You can find all the travel poetry I’ve posted by clicking on the “A Solo Point of View“ category. They are there amongst other musings.