A Hero’s Journey Abroad
I’ve spent the last three years of my life on a spiritual quest to heal pieces of my soul that have been broken. Before we embarked on this “trip of a lifetime,” I realized I was living my life on auto pilot. I was living like a robot; without much depth or emotion. Life wasn’t that meaningful. Soon after this realization, I began searching for more happiness, bigger love, better health and deeper connections.
As I am writing this, we’ve been traveling now for nearly five months. This has given me enough time to realize that this is my Hero’s Journey. This trip is helping me find my true self.
The Hero’s Journey is about taking risks and going on an adventure to find out who you really are. Fiction loves the story of the hero. It’s just like Luke Skywalker and Harry Potter but without the light saber and wand.
Part of this healing to find a myself and more meaning in life is to heed the call of the hero. I know it sounds rather dramatic but anyone can be a hero. According to the anthropologist, Joseph Campbell, who coined the term “Hero’s Journey” states the journey is a normal part of being human. Normal human beings from other cultures around the world can turn into heroes.
Campbell goes on to state, before taking the leap to adventure there is an immediate refusal to heed the journey based on fear. Fear of leaving behind comfort, fear of failing, fear of losing responsibility, etc. Diving into adventure often means diving into the unknown. It can be scary.
Before we sold everything we own and left our normal lives behind, I was terrified. Initially, I was scared to leave the comforts of my stable job, my friends, my family and my home for a life surrounded in uncertainties.
The beautiful thing about traveling full time is that it’s given me time to reflect. One thing I’ve realized to be true is that I’ve been scared my whole life. I have been able to hide it well but it’s true. The fortunate things is that fear hasn’t stop me and I found the courage to take the hero’s leap anyway.
Campbell continues to say, “the hero’s refusal is followed by a mysterious event, object or coincidence that sparks the hero to take the leap.”
Before I began my path to healing, while I was suffering greatly, I happened to hear an interview on the radio with a couple (honeytrek.com) who had taken a year long honeymoon to travel the world. Several months after hearing this interview Karl and I both got home from an exhausting day work. We were burnt out and sick of working for Corporate America. We wanted and needed a change. It was at that moment I remembered the interview and immediately picked up the laptop to find out how they made it happened.
I distinctly remember turning to Karl and asking “why don’t we quit our jobs, travel for a year and write a travel blog?” It was a very important day and I remember this day so vividly. I remember the room we were sitting in, the clothes we were wearing and even what lights were on. It was very peculiar looking back on it. I knew this is what we were going to do.
It sounds like it would be easy but you will be flooded with doubts and insecurities about whether or not you can make it happen. When we decided to pull the trigger, it seemed very impractical at the time. Why would we sell everything we owned, quit good paying jobs to write a blog and travel the world? We weren’t writers and neither one of us had any idea how to start a blog. It was crazy to think that this is what we were called to do. Naturally, I tried to ignore the call, but it began to eat at my insides. Chewing at me until my insides were ground to a pulp and there was no other choice but to answer the call.
If it’s not hard enough up until this point, it gets even harder. It’s on this adventure that the hero will be tested. The hero will be put in vulnerable positions but the outcomes will reveal parts of herself that she did not know existed. Thus, personal growth is achieved and a hero is born!
A hero’s journey is never easy. There are loads of trials and tribulations one must endure but the rewards are plentiful. I was inspired to write this post after reading Finding Your Way In a Wild New World, by Martha Beck. In the book, Martha states when you travel the “road of trials” you break all limitations you set upon yourself and by the end of the adventure you find confidence in whatever situation you find yourself.
I’m still in the infancy stage of my journey, but I can tell you I’ve already been tested over and over again. Each test proves to be easier as time goes on. I’m not sure if it’s the experience or strength, or a combination of both, but it’s worth the difficulties to find the path towards truth.
I know this is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing at this very moment.
When you listen to your call, know your hero’s journey doesn’t have to be quitting your job to travel the world. It could be starting a new business, raising children, teaching yoga at a prison, running for public office or going to your first AA meeting.
The hero’s call you receive might be challenging to heed. Not just because there is fear and doubts, but because the journey rarely follows the social rules. Be prepared to break the social norm. The social norm in the U.S. would say we’re suppose to keep our steady jobs, buy a bigger house and start a family. It does not say quit your stability for an adventure!! Don’t let the cultural norms get in the way.
The hero’s journey is never easy, but it is one we all must take to live out our truth and become who we were meant to be. To stay rooted in the norms of society and within our own comforts will prove to be easy but also dull, leaving us robots of humans no longer connecting to the larger world around us and not developing our human potential. Heed the call and as Mary Oliver says: “all your heroic adventures will break your heart, by which I mean only that it break open and never close again to the rest of the world.” Right you are Mary Oliver! Right you are!