The Hero With a Thousand Faces was the first and most famous book by the premier mythologist of our culture Joseph Campbell. It might well be considered the summary and table of contents for the tremendously voluminous studies of the infinite variety of myths worldwide, which made up his life work.
Although Joseph did not overcome his prejudice against Christianity until the twilight of his life, he was aware of some of the biblical dimensions of his monomyth.
If you're too lazy, or pressed for time, to pursue these links, here in microcosm is the hero myth: the hero leaves home, willing or otherwise, goes to a strange place(s), has archetypal adventures, learns something, returns home-- and may or may not be able to share the gifts he has received with those who remained behind.
Various artistic types have exhaustively described how one might use this outline to "write your own monomyth". To them it seems to mean inventing a story. To me it means looking at your own life in those terms: did you leave home? have you learned something? can you share it with those who remained? (In Christian circles it's known as evangelism!)
Preparatory to this exhaustive endeavor you might look at your own heroes in those terms. Here are a few examples (some of the following fit the story-- more or less for there is an infinite number of variations):
The O.T. has muiltiplied examples; Israel himself is a good one. He left home, went to Egypt (was there 400 years), returned with monotheism to the Promised Land (where he had formerly dwelt).
Joseph is the personal embodiment of the story. Expelled from home by his jealous brothers, he was sold as a slave to Egypt. He learned a lot there, became supergifted, shared those gifts with his father and brothers. (Home for Joseph and his family became Egypt!)
Moses fits Campbell's monomyth nicely. In his book he referred to Moses' departure up into the mountain, where he received the Ten Commandments, and brought them back home to his people. In a larger perspective Moses, a prince of Egypt, was forced to flee out in the wilderness. He spent 40 years there before he returned home with his gifts, namely the power to carry out his job of Deliverer.
William Blake's poetry-- and his life exemplify the monomyth. The Four Zoas, elaborated into the long poems, Milton and Jerusalem, tell the story of the expulsion from Eden, the breakup of unity, and through much travail the return to Eternity.
He also lived it, or perhaps it lived him: flaunting 'religious values' for the first half of his life, he experienced a Moment of Grace at about 40, after which he preached a (admittedly unorothox) gospel.
Abnegation is a prominent feature of this story, a quality that always touches my inmost chords. San Martin, the father of Argentina, Albert Schweitzer, Gandhi, many others gave up valuable goods to do something better for all of us. Re returning home you might say that Schweitzer, like Joseph, and Jesus realized that their home was in Heaven.
A more modern example is one of my favorites: I've posted on Karen Armstrong before (many times), but her story is so archetypal I must repeat it here (shortly). Cast out of the Garden in her twenties, she has labored like Hercules to bring the riches of religious history to us. That is the return of her exciting adventures, and hopefully she has found a better Garden than the convent.
Buddha and Jesus round out this survey; the similarities are obvious. Both left home (the palace or the right hand of God) to come to this vale of tears where they suffered with and for us, and now have gone back home. Hurrah!
I could add my story to all these heroes, but you've probably already heard it ad nauseum. What about yours?