Every time I embark on a quest and leave the village the only way to return home is to die. I don't know if I'm missing where the village is marked on the map or something.
You can return to the village by going back to the tile marked with an "A".
A full list of all the map icons, reproduced here in case the link goes bad.
I IRON MINE
C COAL MINE
S SULPHUR MINE
U ABANDONED VILLAGE