Not Just a Myth: The Hero’s Journey
The word hero is injected with, burning buildings, infants enveloped in muscled arms, crowds of cheering people, and sometimes radioactive spider bites. But what about the neighborhood-hero? The neighborhood hero: the teacher who gave you an extension on a paper, the girl who comforted you after your first break-up, or the person who handed you a wad of toilet paper from the next stall over. Humble and small, the neighborhood hero exists everywhere, including inside of us. But if you still don’t feel like a hero, then perhaps what you need is a hero’s journey.
If you’ve ever taken an English class or read Beowulf then you’ve probably heard of the term, “hero’s journey. The hero’s journey, coined by Joseph Campbell, is a narrative pattern where a person departs into the unknown, is tested in a victorious trial, and arrives home transformed or changed. Anything that has a narrative can be a hero’s journey, whether that be a book, a movie, or even a video game. No matter the setting, genre, or medium, the hero’s journey is unrestricted. The hero’s journey isn’t limited by discriminatory cliches or stereotypes either; even the movie Dope, as contested by Wendell Bernard Britt Jr. in his article about Black films, follows the hero’s journey.
A Journey of Your Own
Not just in fiction, young British men in the 17th to the 19th-century would venture through Europe as a form of education as noted by UNQ professor Brent W. Ritchie in his book Managing Educational Tourism. While you might not be a young British man and your journey may not be as fantastical as a Harry Potter, it can be just as exciting with places to choose like Nairobi or Chiang Mai. Don’t settle for the safe and ‘known’, choose a place that excites you and suits your endeavors.
Although you probably won’t have a battle with a leviathan or liberate a race of elves, your journey will provide unique trials. One trial traveling presents is learning to accept different cultures, no matter how ‘extreme’ they may seem. Another trial you may face is looking at your own culture and perhaps your national history and questioning your allegiance to it. You might begin to question yourself and your identity as you’re faced with new surroundings. The trial will test you, but unlike folklore and myths, you’ll have multiple chances to redeem yourself so don’t let it scare you.
By your return, your transformation will have occurred inside of you. Everyone will have a different metamorphosis, but you can expect your perspective to expand and your cultural and social awareness to sharpen. And if you’re a cynic, then one unique benefit to traveling you might find is an increase in generalized trust or a belief in human benevolence as found in this 2014 study.
The return back home may be sad, but remember that because you’ve embarked on a journey, succeeded in your trial, and returned transformed, you’ve reached the status of a hero (at least, according to Campbell).
GBA transforms the lives of minority youth into global citizens, by way of international travel.
By offering global opportunities ranging from language courses, community service projects, to internships, we encourage and provide international travel programs for minority youth for a chance to encounter diverse communities. Globally Abroad aims to help our participants build their own understanding of world events and culture as they encourage their own communities to do the same. We full-heartedly stand by our mission, which is why we intend to inspire action, break barriers of discrimination, and operate in excellence.