The road less travelled
What's the meaning of the phrase 'The road less travelled'?
The road less travelled is the unconventional or uninvestigated option. More metaphorically, it is also used to refer to 'the life you never had' - what might have been had you made different choices. The notion is near to what is nowadays called 'alternative'.
What's the origin of the phrase 'The road less travelled'?
'The road less travelled' is from Robert Frost's poem The Road Not Taken, 1920:
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 kept 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.
Note spellings - In the UK: travelled; in the USA: - traveled.