I’ve always been fascinated by literary theory, particularly in the examination of the Monomyth or the Hero’s Journey. In this form, the hero begins in an ordinary world, enters a new strange world by some unknown force, faces challenges, receives new knowledge or a boon, and then returns to to his/her own realm to practice and spread the gift he/she has been granted, which also presents its own challenges and can be more difficult than the journey itself. Good examples of this form include Star Wars and The Odyssey. The story has been summarized into 17 individual steps, which make up three greater headings: Departure, Initiation, and Return. In this journey to Honduras, it’s safe to say that we are at step 4 of 17: The Crossing of the First Threshold.

We are about to leave the comfort of our homes and lifestyles to enter into a new world not entirely unlike our own. The rules are different, the obstacles unknown, and the experience… unparalleled, unique, and worthwhile.

This is my first trip with ASB, but I’ve had the opportunity to travel outside the country before during a semester-long experience and one that lasted three weeks during an interim. If I have learned anything during these trips, it’s that nothing goes as planned, and that things turn out better if you don’t hype them up. I’m excited for this trip because, for the first time, I have no real plans or ambitions for the trip.

In this trip, there is a singular united goal: to make a difference. Our issue is rural healthcare. We’re looking forward to helping others in service to a world that has granted us so much. Some of us get to dust off our old Spanish skills and take them for a test drive on a highway. There will be laughter (because I’m there), potentially tears (also because I’m there), and overall the experience should go swimmingly, no matter what happens. We have the opportunity to affect not just the experience of but the very being of human life here, and there is no higher calling.

There are two goals accomplished in the Hero’s Journey from the hero’s perspective: Step 11, the Ultimate Boon, which is the achievement of the goal of the quest, the completion of the task the hero sought after. For us, this is the service itself. Perhaps more important, however, is step 10: Apotheosis, the revelation of divine knowledge of happiness, love, beauty, and bliss.

I hope we find it. I hope we see that this trip is more than just service, a snapshot into Honduran culture, an examination of rural healthcare practices worldwide, and an opportunity to be with great people doing a great thing.

I think it’s possible. I’m excited.