[[quoteright:349:[[Film/HomewardBoundTheIncredibleJourney http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/homeward_bound_movie_4514.jpg]]]]

->''Woo, hoo, here I come! Woo, hoo, back to you! There is no home like the one you've got, 'cause that home belongs to you!''
-->-- ''Disney/{{Bolt}}'', "Barking at the Moon"

Basically, a story where the main goal is to [[HomeSweetHome get home]].

These stories begin with some sort of displacement: The child is separated from his parents, or the family moves and accidentally leaves the dog behind. This is ''TheCall to Adventure''. From there, the story essentially follows the long, winding journey of TheQuest, except there's usually no evil wizard to fight at the end -- once our heroes reach their destination, that's the end of their Hero's Journey. Tropes frequently seen in this type of story: The WackyWaysideTribe, the TravelMontage, HitchhikerHeroes, RandomTransportation (primarily in the case of science fiction or fantasy).

This differs from HomeSweetHome in that the focus here is on ''the journey'' to get back. [[Film/BackToTheFuture Marty McFly]] wants to get back to his own time, but he stays in the same town the whole movie; [[Literature/TheOdyssey Odysseus]] wants to get home, and he travels [[{{Determinator}} all over ancient Greece]] ([[ToHellAndBack and beyond]]) to get there. [[TheSevenBasicPlots Structurally]], the Homeward Journey is closer to ''The Quest'' than ''The Voyage and Return''. It's common for works using this plot to be a WholePlotReference to ''Literature/TheOdyssey''.

In an open-ended series, this inevitably leads to FailureIsTheOnlyOption, because StatusQuoIsGod; films and series with a definite arc are more forgiving.

Contrast BoringReturnJourney.

----
!!Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Anime/{{Ulysses 31}}'', which is basically ''Literature/TheOdyssey'' (see below) InSpace!
* In ''Webcomic/KissWood'' Sul, a CoolOldGuy, must escape from a HungryJungle full of authoritarian communities and exploding plants to reach the Gate that will take him back home.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''[[ComicBook/{{Legion of Super-Heroes}} Legion Lost]]'': A handful of Legionnaires end up in an unknown region of space and try to find their way back.
* One part of DC's ''ComicBook/FiftyTwo'' mini-series follows Adam Strange, Starfire and ComicBook/AnimalMan, who were stranded in an unknown galaxy at the end of InfiniteCrisis. Before they can return to Earth, they have to ally with some questionable folks and survive dangerous encounters.
[[/folder]]


[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheBraveLittleToaster'': Five appliances travel from country to city to find their old master.
* ''Disney/{{Bolt}}'': A dog from Hollywood is accidentally transported to New York and has to make his way back to find his "person." Are you sensing a theme, yet?
* ''WesternAnimation/TheLandBeforeTime'': A team of young dinosaurs, separated from their families, go on a long trek through hostile land to get to the Great Valley.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Madagascar}}'': A group of zoo animals from New York find themselves stranded in Madagascar and spend at least three movies trying to get home.
* ''WesternAnimation/ThePagemaster'' is about Richard just trying to leave the library and go home.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/{{Apollo 13}}'': In 1970, the Apollo 13 was launched, headed for the moon. But this ill-fated flight would never reach its goal.
* ''Literature/TheIncredibleJourney'' and its remake ''Film/HomewardBoundTheIncredibleJourney''. Two dogs and a cat travel through California to get back to their masters.
* ''Film/TheAdventuresOfMiloAndOtis''
* ''Film/OBrotherWhereArtThou'' is a [[WholePlotReference modern day take]] on Literature/TheOdyssey, following the struggles of an escaped prisoner's long journey home.
* ''Film/TheWizardOfOz'': There is a big fight at the end between Dorothy and the Witch, but her goal at the start of the movie is to get back to Kansas, although it's not so much of a fight in the book.
* ''Film/TheWarriors'' is about a Coney Island gang traveling through New York to get home while the entire city's street gangs are hunting for them. It's based loosely on ''Literature/{{Anabasis}}''
* A made-for-cable movie called ''Heck's Way Home'' is about a lost dog (named "Heck") who tries to find his way back home.
* ''Film/SesameStreetPresentsFollowThatBird'' involves Big Bird walking back to Sesame Street after deciding he's not happy living with a bird family in Illinois.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* ''Literature/TheOdyssey'': UrExample and TropeMaker.
** Although in actual fact Odysseus returns to Ithaca at the beginning of Book 13 - halfway through the epic - and the first four books detail his son Telemachus's journey to find news of him, rather than Odysseus's journeys themselves. Which means that only a third of the poem - eight out of twenty-four books - is a journey home story, the rest deals with the impact of his absence on his family and his quest to regain his position as king and dispose of the suitors in the palace.
* Also a lost epic, the ''[[Literature/TheTrojanCycle Returns]]'', which deals with the journeys home of other important Achaeans.
* The ''Literature/{{Anabasis}}'' by Creator/{{Xenophon}}
* Creator/RobertAHeinlein's ''Job: A Comedy of Justice''. While being beset by random shifts into {{Alternate Universe}}s, Alexander Hergensheimer tries desperately to get home to his home state of Kansas.
* Jack Vance's ''[[Literature/DyingEarth The Eyes of the Overworld]]'' starts with the, er, "[[VillainProtagonist hero]]", [[HeroicSpirit Cugel]] falling foul of the wizard Iconnu and being flown thousands of miles northward by a demon to a desolate beach. The core of the story is his quest to return home. [[spoiler:Painfully, Cugel muffs the final confrontation and while trying to target Iconnu for the same fate manages to get himself send right back to the beach, mere feet from where it all began. Getting home ''again'' is the meat of the next book, a SurprisinglyImprovedSequel.]]
* Literature/TheBible: The Literature/BookOfExodus: the return of the Exiles, and the parable of The Prodigal Son.
* ''Literature/ArabianNights'': Sindbad does this seven times.
* Creator/DianaWynneJones's ''Literature/TheHomewardBounders''. The main character, Jamie, witnesses somethings playing what look like a wargame... except the game they're playing is only a representation. They're actually playing the game with his world as a board, and people as pieces. So They exile him to wander through different worlds, with the proviso that once he finds his home, he no longer has to keep wandering. [[spoiler:Or at least, this is the plot for the first 3/4s of the book... then Jamie discovers that because time moves oddly on different worlds, his world has moved on and his home no longer exists.]]
* In ''Ribsy'', a Creator/BeverlyCleary book, Henry Huggins's dog gets into the wrong family's car in a mall parking lot and has to find his way home.
* ''Moonrise'' in the ''Literature/WarriorCats'' series. The journey to the sea was hard, but the journey home is just as dangerous ([[spoiler:In fact, one of them didn't make it back.]])
* ''Literature/TheIncredibleJourney'' has it right there in the title. It's about three pets, a cat and two dogs, crossing the Canadian wilderness to get home.
* Primo Levi's ''Literature/TheTruce'', which details the author's journey home to Italy after surviving Auschwitz. Not such a simple task with the ColdWar looming and anti-Semitic sentiment still running high in much of Eastern Europe.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* In the first episode of ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'', the ship gets flung about 70,000 lightyears from home and spends the rest of the show trying to get home.
* The overriding theme of ''Battlestar Galactica'' ([[Series/BattlestarGalacticaClassic both]] [[Series/BattlestarGalacticaReimagined versions]]) is this trope, though they're not heading for a home they know. Humanity is looking for its lost brothers and sisters, or at least a place to call home.
* ''Series/{{Farscape}}'s'' John Crichton fell through a wormhole and just wants to find a way back to Earth.
* ''Series/LandOfTheLost'' (both TV series)
* ''HRPufnstuf''
* ''{{Lidsville}}''
* Several epiosdes of ''Series/ThePrisoner''
* ''Series/QuantumLeap'' has this OpeningNarration:
--> "... And so Dr. Beckett finds himself leaping from life to life, striving to put right what once went wrong, and hoping each time that his next leap... will be the leap home."
* ''Series/{{Sliders}}'' started out with this as the premise: Four people jumping from alternate Earth to alternate Earth at random, trying to survive (and maybe leave things better than they found them) until the next slide. This lost focus in later episodes when villains were discovered that could jump Earths as well, meaning if they did manage to find the right world, it wouldn't be safe unless the threat could be sufficiently dealt with.
* ''Series/LostInSpace''
* ''Series/StargateUniverse'' sends a large crew through a Stargate onto an [[{{Precursors}} Ancient]] spaceship in another galaxy with no way to get home. Though partially subverted by the fact that they could BodySwap with people back on Earth.
* ''Series/TheTimeTunnel''. The two scientists tumbling helplessly through time, with their MissionControl using the title device to try to bring them back to the present.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Homeworld}}'' centers on the revelation that your race's current world, Kharak, was ''not'' the planet you came from, and your efforts to try and reach your original planet, Hiigara. [[spoiler:The fact that Kharak is razed a few missions in, killing everyone on it and meaning YouCantGoHomeAgain, sort of forces the issue.]]
* ''VideoGame/BitTrip Flux'' has that as one of the main themes.
* One of the scenarios in ''VideoGame/EliteBeatAgents'' features a lost dog trying to get back to his owner.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/BeyondReality'', Orion and Laura are traveling through worlds to get home.
* ''Webcomic/{{Digger}}'' wants to go home, but doesn't have much of an idea how to go about it, and more pressing matters keep coming up. [[spoiler: We never do find out if she gets home, as the comic ends right before she leaves town with the merchant, but given her tenacity it's a safe bet she does.]]
* ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'' uses this trope a ''lot'', given its love affair with TrappedInAnotherWorld stories.
* ''Webcomic/{{Para-Ten}}''
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* LetsPlay/NakaTeleeli's ongoing ''VideoGame/{{Minecraft}}: Journey Home'' series of vids, which focuses on him trying to get back home after the events of the ''Minecraft Survival'' LetsPlay.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/ReBoot''. Enzo and [=AndrAIa=] spend a decent chunk of the third season "Game Hopping" from system to system and traveling through the web to find Mainframe.
* ''WesternAnimation/DungeonsAndDragons'' deals with this after the main characters take a roller coaster ride and find themselves trapped in "the world of Dungeons and Dragons". [[spoiler:They eventually do make it back, but while the final episode was scripted, it was never actually made.]]
[[/folder]]

----