A major event in this book is when Adam's dog, Nick, is stolen by the unscrupulous Jankin. As Adam goes after Jankin to try and get Nick back, he also loses contact with his father, Roger. This creates a challenging situation for Adam. Up until now he has been travelling with the security of having his father and his beloved dog accompany him. Now, he is left alone, and must fend for himself, and his journey turns into a quest to be re-united with his father and dog.
On his travels Adam meets all kinds of people, rich and poor, good and bad. He has many adventures, such as when he is taken in by a priest and his sister, who want him to leave behind his minstrel life and take up a religious calling. This is a test for Adam, as he has to decide what he really wants for himself. He rejects taking on a religious role, as the minstrel life is what he knows. However, even when he falls in with a group of minstrels he realises that the minstrel life has its darker side too; this group turns out to be rather low and crude, and he does not like being with them after all.
While eventually finding his father and Nick again, and also his old friend Perkin, Adam also learns a lot during his quest. The road, in fact, becomes a metaphor for his journey to maturity, as during his travels he comes to know much of the ways of the world. The road is of the greatest significance, as Roger explains to him.
A road's a kind of holy thing .... it brings all kinds of people and all parts of England together. And it's home to a minstrel, even though he may happen to be sleeping in a castle.
The road, then, serves to provide a microcosm of life and society, which is vital to developing the young Adam's understanding of the world. Also, as a wandering minstrel, the road is 'home' to him.