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East, west -- home's best.
When a character's major, overriding goal - one that takes priority over all others - is to go home again. "Home" can be as specific as the character's house, or as general as his/her home planet. Usually comes as a result of being Trapped in Another World, going Down the Rabbit Hole, or being a Fish Out of Water. Sometimes leads to The Homeward Journey.
As a part of a Downer or Bittersweet Ending, the character may find that he/she can't go home again. In a happier variant of that ending, the character can go home but chooses to stay, or discovers a new home that is as good as, or better than the original.
If the protagonist is a pet animal, see Tropey Come Home.
- The beginning of Fushigi Yuugi has the girls go back and forth between "this world is awesome, I wanna see more of it!" to "no way, I want to go home now". This becomes the conflict between Miaka and Yui.
- Digimon has aspects of this.
- The heroes' goal in Secret Wars.
- This was the entire raison d'etre of the DC Comics villain Superboy-Prime - to return to his homeworld of Earth-Prime (aka our earth), where super-beings only exist in comic books. (Of course, once he gets there, he discovers that his parents and girlfriend have been following his exploits in those comic books - including the tortures, mutilations, and twelve-digit body-count that he racked up. Not exactly a hugs-and-happiness homecoming.)
- Quoted word-for-word in Gotham City Sirens; Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn and Catwoman have all gone their separate ways for Christmas, going back to the only places that could even tenuously be called "home" for any of them (Ivy to the rainforest, Catwoman to Wayne Manor, and Harley to her actual birth-home, complete with biological family). They each view these places with different levels of fondness, Ivy loves the forest, Catwoman tenderly reminisces about who used to live in the Manor, and Harley is completely and finally fed up with her family, but they all leave these places and return to their shared apartment to spend the rest of the holiday together since "there's no place like home."
- The Trope Namer is, of course, the film version of The Wizard of Oz. Surprisingly, the phrase never actually shows up in the book.
- Back to The Future
- ET the Extraterrestrial
- The ultimate goal of Maximus in Gladiator.
- In Labyrinth, it's rescue Toby, THEN get home.
- Simba in The Lion King.
- Kate and Humphrey in Alpha and Omega.
- Flynn in Tron.
- Alice in Wonderland
- In The Odyssey, the protagonist has been unable to return home to Ithaca for 20 years of warfare and increasingly lonely wandering. Even when the goddess Calypso wants to make him her immortal sex buddy, all he wants is to see his mortal family again.
- Referenced in a well-known sonnet from the collection Les Regrets by Joachim du Bellay (1525-1560), who felt homesick for France while serving as a cardinal's secretary in Rome: "The seat my fathers built pleases me more than the Roman palaces with their bold front, more than hard marble I like the fine shale, more the Gallic Loire than the Latin Tiber, more my little Liré than the Palatine Mount, more than the sea breeze I like the Angevin sweetness." The opening words, Heureux, qui comme Ulysse ("Happy (is he), who like Ulysses") have also been used as as the title of a film starring Fernandel, who takes an old horse to the Camargue to set it free.
- Another Neil Gaiman novel, Neverwhere, also uses this.
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Ford Prefect uses this as a method of coercion "In moments of great stress, every life form that exists gives out a tiny subliminal signal. This signal simply communicates an exact and almost pathetic sense of how far that being is from the place of his birth." Ford hits the barman with an "incomprehensible sense of distance" and very much gets his point across.
- This is Bobby Pendragon's original motive upon learning he was a Traveler. This changes about a third of the way through the series.
- A World Without Heroes follows the story of the main character, Jason, who is doing everything in his powers to get home.
- Older Than Dirt: In the Ancient Egyptian Tale of Sinuhe, the main character goes into self-imposed exile from Egypt during a time of political upheaval and ends up settling somewhere in the Levant. He becomes quite wealthy and starts a family, yet unhesitatingly jumps for it when offered the opportunity to return to Egypt. It wasn't just a question of living the rest of his life in a foreign country: being buried by foreigners, using "strange" funeral customs instead of Egyptian mummification and priestly spells, was regarded as an unhappy fate. Or at least, that's the message of what may have been a piece of government propaganda.
- Jonathan Thomas Meriwether (aka "Jon-Tom") spent most of Alan Dean Foster's Spellsinger series desperately wishing to return to his home dimension. When he finally could, he decided to take some of what he considered the best bits of it and return to his friends and love interest in his adopted dimension.
- Subverted in Piers Anthony's Virtual Mode series, where Colene, who had little to keep her in her home dimension, spent the entire series trying to get to her love interest Darius' dimension.
Live Action Television
- Life On Mars
- Aside from the obvious "plane crash survivors wanting to go home" plot (which is resolved halfway through the series), a much more specific form of this trope comes in season 6:
The Smoke Monster: "I want the one thing that John Locke didn't. I want to go home."
- Ian and Barbara in the first season of Doctor Who.
- Also Jo in Planet of the Daleks. She even turns down a chance to stay with a man in love with her because she wanted Earth.
- Gilligan's Island
- Quantum Leap
- Star Trek: Voyager
- The Fantastic Journey (1977)
- Otherworld (1985), which had a very similar plot to The Fantastic Journey.
- Sliders. Ironically, the group made it back to their own world at the start of Season Two... but they mistakenly thought that they hadn't because the gate was oiled since becoming lost, so they left again.
- Half the quest in King's Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella is returning to her kingdom (the other half is finding a magic fruit to cure her father), and you can end the game without actually getting the fruit.
- One of the two driving forces for Sora's gang in Kingdom Hearts. The other is finding their lost friends.
- Annyseed desperately wants to be human again. Or at least feel like part of the human race.
- Done nicely in Kickassia. After The Nostalgia Critic banishes The Cinema Snob, he finds his room has turned into his old review room with his Catch Phrase echoing when he touches the table. He's far too gone with the need to be in power by this point, but just for a moment you can tell he desperately wants to go home.
- The Dungeons and Dragons cartoon.
- Samurai Jack's main goal is to get back to his home time, though, of course, Failure Is the Only Option.
- Larry in the fourth VeggieTales video, Rack, Shack, and Benny.