The heroic journey usually goes as follows:
This is usually when the main character is presented with the journey ahead of him, namely his fate, if looked at from that perspective. The main character can then accept his fate, deny it, or any other combination therein. This may occur in several ways. He could deny it first, then go through circumstances that force his choice (through good or bad forces), he could deny then be begged by those in need, or he could be asked by a higher authority (old man, God, spirits, ancestors etc...) which may or may not give him supernatural powers or the courage to continue.
This stage is as simple as it sounds. The main character must face odds, obstacles of some kind must be overcome to prove his worthiness and ability to continue the journey. This may take their shape in several ways. I won't go into detail, you can fill in the blanks just fine.
Whatever the main character faced, he must make a choice, whether to return or not to return. He may not want to return. This may be due to love or to inability (such as death). But may return as well. The reasons are left up to the reader, in this case, and the author in most cases.
What occurred to me as I was thinking about the typical heroic journey is what ones life would be like if they had chosen to not undertake the journey. I mean really, without redemption or a second chance. I think going through the emotions that he/she may feel would be very interesting. Guilt, regret, relief, fear, really who knows how one would feel. But I can't think of a story that begins with a hero who did not have the courage to begin at all, and chose to reject the call. Wouldn't we be able to relate with that more? Failure is more familiar to us than courage and brevity. Not to say that we aren't capable of doing great things, but many of us daydream about not taking chances as much as we dream that we do. Anyways, I think that one would have as great of a heroic journey dealing with that choice as one who battled dragons or traveled to a distant land.
I would like to write a story surrounding that concept. I also do want to write about far distant lands with magnificent imagery and heroics, but I myself would seem more likely to back out of an opportunity to do such a thing.
anyways, just an idea. Let me know what you think.