Joseph Campbell + The Hero's Journey

Muddy Shoe Adventures's programs are largely based on the work of Joseph Campbell. Campbell (1904–1987) was an American writer, mythologist, cultural anthropologist, and teacher who was best known for his work in comparative mythology and religion. Throughout his life and career, Campbell explored thousands of stories told over the course of human history, across cultures and religions. In his first book, The Hero With a Thousand Faces, Campbell identified a thematic process of personal and communal transformation that permeated all of these stories that he called 'The Hero's Journey.' He described it this way:

"A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder (where) fabulous forces are 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."

Campbell described the Hero's Journey as occurring in a cycle consisting of three phases: The Departure, where the hero leaves the comfortable and familiar world and ventures into the darkness of the unknown; The  Initiation, where the hero is subjected to a series of tests in which s/he must prove their true character; and The Return, in which the hero brings the boon of their quest back for the benefit of not only their own life but to help save the community and often times the world.

More than anything, the Hero's Journey is about growth and passage. The journey requires a separation from the comfortable, known world, and an initiation into a new level of awareness, skill, and responsibility, and then a return home. Each stage of the journey must be passed successfully if the initiate is to become a Hero. To turn back at any stage is to reject the need to grow and mature. 



The Hero's Journey + Muddy Shoe Adventures

The Hero’s Journey is at the heart of every Muddy Shoe Adventure: Every Adventure follows our Your Hero's Journey (YHJ) process. YHJ begins with our pre-trip Call to Adventure program, during which you'll join your fellow travelers and MSA Program Leader in series of calls and/or meetings designed to get you prepared for your life-changing adventure! You'll also have an opportunity to work with and get to know your Program Leader during a one-on-one call. 

Your Adventure will combine exciting and challenging physical activities with immersive and authentic cultural experiences. Along the way, you'll be supported by your fellow travelers and your Program Leader in a journey of self-exploration, discovery, and transformation. Your Program Leader will use the trip's many adventures and experiences as catalysts for casual yet inspirational group discussions and conversations that will help you reflect on what you are learning from your adventures. Time for personal reflection will leave you feeling rejuvenated, re-energized, and reconnected with yourself as you begin applying those lessons to your life. Optional one-on-one meetings / coaching sessions with your Program Leader are also included. 

Your Journey continues even after the Adventure ends with our Return of the Hero program. On this month-long, post-adventure program, you'll work with your friends and Program Leader as you continue to integrate what you learned on your adventures into your day-to-day life.

MSA's Founder & Chief Adventure Officer Michael Bennett has written several articles and been interviewed about his personal Hero's Journey as well as the integration of the Hero's Journey into our Adventures. Click here to learn more! 

If you have any other questions about The Hero's Journey, Muddy Shoe Adventures, or any of our programs, please Contact Us!