What if the road is more traveled by

by Lorin Michel Tuesday, January 24, 2012 11:58 PM

I love Robert Frost. His poetry wasn’t flowery or ornate, but it was often profound. I often pull my edition of The Poetry of Robert Frost down from the shelf in my office and just read a couple of poems. They make me feel lighter even when the subject matter is heavy. His most famous poem remains The Road Not Taken, written in 1915. In it he speaks of possibility, of hope, perhaps of hope lost.

“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.”

It has long been interpreted to mean that taking the road less traveled is the best way to go. But what if, when looking at the two roads in the forest, the choice was the one more traveled by? It’s a question I’ve long pondered. To take the road more traveled would be a chance to revisit the past while planning for an unforeseen future. It would be an opportunity to meet old friends again, to spend time with family, to look at decisions made and the consequences of those actions; to perhaps make alterations in the direction I’m traveling. Why couldn’t it be the right path, the right road, because it is the road I’m supposed to be on?

A more traveled road is a well-traveled road, one that has allowed me to learn from my mistakes, like a first marriage, as well as from all those who traveled the road before me. People who have worked and played, experienced happiness and despair, loved and lost. This is living. It’s what traveling any road entails. And it leaves behind lessons learned for those who will travel next.

To be well-traveled is to experience difference: different people, different cultures, different languages. Maybe I don’t have as much experience as I’d ultimately like but I think part of being well-traveled also means being open to different people, different cultures, different languages. I am. I’m big on different. I’m intrigued. I want to know more. I’m open to the possibilities and hope that different represents. When I was younger, different scared me. Now, different fascinates me. I love different.

What does it mean to be well-traveled? Well-traveled means knowing how to navigate an airport easily, where to look for signs, how to read them; how to get around in a city, easily; how to find money and hotels when needed. Of course, being on the internet can help. Well-traveled means being ready.

Traveling new roads means new adventures, always a good thing. Old roads mean nostalgia and memories, also a good thing. Naturally taking either the road more or less traveled is ultimately immaterial since taking one means you’ll never know what would have happened if you took another road, another path. It’s the same with any decision. You have choices; you choose one. And hope that it’s the best one. But you also have absolutely no way of knowing if you had made a different choice that anything would have been any better. A different choice could have been worse. Taking the road less traveled means a chance for pioneering, for changing your life, for truly making a difference on your own terms. But taking the road more traveled means a chance at redemption, at being with those you love and those you don’t; of being amongst different people of different cultures who have different ideals, who have been here before and will be here again, after you’ve passed through. It means being in the middle of it all. Life, love, reason and doubt. To me it means living it out loud.

I’ve taken the road most traveled a number of times in my life, when I have been at crossroads, and it’s a good thing. It has brought me together with people from my past, who I had thought were gone and whom I have met again. It has given me a chance to learn and to persevere. It has brought me love and happiness. It has given me a chance to revisit the past while planning for the future. It has given me my center.

A more traveled road has made all the difference.

“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 most traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

Comments (1) -

1/27/2012 5:26:07 PM #

Beautiful essay, Lorin.

May I please submit this youtube link of mine:


as a further tribute to roads and where they sometimes lead? Pam gorgeously choreographed a dance to my soundtrack here.

Living it out loud here in Utah. Time to bring the "bear pupple" in now!

Fred United States

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