They say home is where the heart is a trend which is true for many heroes as they leave home to embark on the hero’s journey. 

In one of the Big Read meetings for our area teachers, participants were asked what aspect of home they miss most when they go away from home. I answered that I missed a stocked pantry the most because my mom always has the one at home full of our favorite snacks. When I am away from home at college, I rarely spend the money to buy things to fill the pantry. 

One of our teachers linked homesickness to Odysseus’s travels in the Odyssey. He spends 10 years at war and then another 10 years trying to get back to his wife and son. Then, when he returns home he finds a home full of people trying to woo his wife, Penelope. This is likely not the homecoming Odysseus was expecting. 

Ties to Greek Mythology

In Greek mythology, the goddess Hestia is the goddess of the home and the hearth. She’s one of the 12 gods and goddesses of Olympus and receives a portion of all the sacrifices made to any of the other gods.

Most gods and goddesses on Olympus are prideful and aim to gain power over the other Olympians. However, Hestia is arguably the best-liked Olympian. This is significant because it shows that the Greeks felt that home should be a place of compassion and peace.

The term nostalgia also has links to the Greeks. The roots of this word are derived from the Greek nostos (return) and algos (pain). This translates to mean the suffering felt because of the desire to return to one’s place of origin. 

A desire and a longing for home links people. It is even a natural part of the hero’s journey since the hero must leave what is familiar and cross the threshold into the extraordinary world. Yet, the hero usually returns home at the end of their quest. 

Let us know what you miss most when you leave home in the comments below!

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