Road Symbolism & Meanings (Adventure and Freedom)

In films and literature roads symbolize new discoveries and journeys towards self-discovery. Similarly, in dreams, entering a road is symbolic of embarking on an adventure.

If you enter a road in your dream, take time to notice the details along the way. They will tell you whether your new beginning consists of doubt, success, or unexpected encounters.

Road Symbolism & Meaning

Road Symbolism in Books

In books roads don’t simply lead the character to a single destination. They also symbolize an adventure where the protagonist searches for deeper self-understanding and (in some cases) freedom. 

1. A Search (Often for Freedom)

Works as old as The Odyssey by the Greek poet Homer use roads symbolically. The Odyssey follows the protagonist going back home after the Trojan War. On the journey, he finds out more about himself.

Similarly, in Jack Kerouac’s modern classic On the Road, the road and the journey symbolize the search for freedom.

2. Adventure

Whether it holds a central or a background role, the road is a metaphor for a big personal journey.

This essential symbol is present in many great adventure stories.

Miguel de Servantes’ Don Quixote, Mark Twain’s children classic The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley are just a few of the more famous examples.

Even though the books mentioned are vastly distinct from each other, what connects them is the road not only as a physical object but also as a path to transformation.

Road Symbolism in Films

The road in films serves as a symbol of personal change, finding oneself, and shifting your perspective.

1. New Adventure

Think about Thelma and Louise (1991), Sideways (2004), and The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003). These are all very different in terms of genre, story, and subject. Yet, they all share one thing in common: the characters embark on a new adventure, one that might turn out to be perilous but also exciting and even hopeful at the end.

2. Making Progress

The characters heading down the roads shows they’re making progress in their journeys. As they travel down the road, they develop new insights into life and themselves and go through changes.

The books and films that focus on and feature roads as part of the plot share a similar purpose. They use the road as a symbol of an adventure.

Road Symbolism in Dreams

If a road shows up in your dream, it could mean that you are faced with an important decision or are on the verge of a new adventure.

Take a good look at the main elements of the road in your dreams because they will tell you what lies at the edge of the great unknown.

Below are a few potential interpretations of a road in your dream, depending on the type of road.

Remember that interpreting dreams is very subjective. Just because you dreamed about one of the following scenarios, it doesn’t mean that this is the meaning being sent to you. You need to journal and reflect because these are just examples of possible interpretations.

1. Rough and Unknown Roads Symbolize a Hard Journey

This type of road signifies a journey that is going to be tough. If it is a gravel road, it most often means it will be hard and will require significant effort and work.

The roughness of the road can indicate the futility of the adventure. Therefore a rough road may foreshadows gloom, misery, or waste of time and efforts.

Don’t let this discourage you because according to other interpretations, rough roads just mean you need perseverance and patience.

This means that not only can you achieve your goals but also that you are the one paving the way through a rough track, making it easier for others to follow. You should be confident in yourself because you are a leader who can set the way and help others.

2. Smooth Roads or Roads Bordered by Greenery Symbolize a Hopeful Journey

A serene road surrounded by trees and flowers is thought to symbolize hopefulness and steady progress.

In such journeys the path taken is delightful with unexpected but likely fortune. This most often is a metaphor for success, progress, and growth, be it personal or professional.

3. Detours and Curves Symbolize a Journey to the Unknown

To be on a curvy road symbolizes that you might soon go in an entirely new and unknown direction.

Finding yourself on detour in your dreams (or in real life, even) is usually an unexpected occurrence. You may not have planned it, but it is solely up to you to achieve your goals despite any surprising setbacks. In other words, it is in your hands to turn your luck and create serendipity for yourself.

4. Crossroad Symbolize Choice

This is a very popular and common symbol for a choice one needs to make and for a pivotal moment of change.

It is not a coincidence that there is even an idiom “at a crossroads”. Since ancient times, it has signified choosing between two contradictory directions. Dreaming about a crossroad is equivalent to indecision, uncertainty, and ultimately, a shift in a previous way of life.

5. An Encounter on the Road Symbolizes a New Relationship

An encounter has a dual and diametrically opposed meaning depending on whether you see a creature or a person in you dream.

If it is a threatening creature, then it is an obstacle or a real-life hostile circumstance you need to overcome. If it is a person, it usually suggests a new relationship coming to your life.

6. A Flooded Road Symbolizes that You’re Out of Control

A flooded road symbolizes either that you’re out of control or have an excess of emotions.

If you dream of a flooded road, it means you are letting something else control you and hinder your journey. To achieve your goals and move forward, you need to shed all negative feelings that burden you and become more objective.

Related Articles:


Roads as symbols of a spiritual journey have been used in books and films for a long time.

A road may be the central theme or a background element of the story, but you can easily recognize the pattern – it a sign of a shift in the ordinary lives of the characters.  

In dreams, the road you are on signifies the type of journey you will have. The ending and the final goal depend on how you choose to tackle the obstacles on the way.