Why Hero’s Journey


Why did we use the name Hero’s Journey for our Philippine tour with Chinese families?  Last year, when Donna and I attended the Asia Pacific Democratic Education Conference, one of the speakers, Dr.Tsao Lin Fang talked about Joseph’s Campbell’s seminal work, The Hero’s Journey.  Dr. Fang chairs the Formosa Alternative Pedagogy Association and here are some notes I took from his speech during the Taiwan conference:

  1. A hero is someone who has the courage to become himself and take the journey that he believes he must take. Eventually, the hero returns home.
  2. The ultimate mystery is within yourself.
  3. Mythology is an excellent way to imitate the unlimited imagination. Myths inspire one to be more of a hero and have the courage to follow one’s dreams.
  4. Our schools should be a school for gods and our learning journey should be like a hero’s journey.
  5. Follow the bliss of being yourself.
  6. When people dream big, they can get into a state of bliss.
  7. The holistic hero tries to encompass the individual’s circle into the circle of the whole cosmos.
  8. Find the hero in yourself, the people around you and the people you love.
  9. Have the courage to take the journey you must.

From Wikipedia: “The hero’s journey, is the common template of a broad category of tales that involve a hero who goes on an adventure, and in a decisive crisis wins a victory, and then comes home changed or transformed.[1]

A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.[2]

When Donna and I were brainstorming about the tour, the name Hero’s Journey immediately clicked and resonated with us.  Our original intent was for it to be a camp but it ended up being more of a tour with a twist.  Parents and children were together and we added four facilitators who handled the children’s activities so that the kids are able to maximize English practice time in the Philippines through fun activities following our concept of educational tourism.

We went to Taal Lake, Tagaytay, Nasugbu and Manila.  The numerous hurdles and challenges we encountered proved this was more of a Hero’s Journey for the organizers whose patience and coordination capabilities were stretched to the max. However, the trip also brought out the children out from their shells through the help of the counselors who have ten years of experience running camps for children.

For our next journey, we aim to take it closer to our original intent of a real camp and have already found ideal locations in the following areas: 1) Jala Jala, Rizal, 2) San Antonio, Zambales and 3) Silang, Cavite.   The children will be separated from the parents who would be on the tourist mode of the travel.  The kids will be on a more adventurous mode as their independence will be tested being apart from their family for a week in an unfamiliar place forced to use whatever English they have in their bag of skills.  This would be more in keeping with the Hero’s Journey concept and we can’t wait for the next one.

Pictures shared by the parents on WeChat:


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