COLFAX — Stephanie Homann believes vacations are more than just visiting the top tourist destinations.

For her, it’s about experiencing a new culture and stepping away from the typical tourist attractions.

Homann recently founded Intentional Journeys, LLC, focusing on vacations that provide travelers the chance to give back to the communities they are visiting beyond just having a typical tourist experience.

“What makes it better than a traditional vacation is it truly gives you an opportunity to interact with the people of that country or that destination versus hitting a few of the typical tourist stops,” Homann said of a volunteerism-based trip.

Homann previously led Dream Vacations travel agency for more than eight years, and recent trips that featured excursions outside the beaten path sparked her desire to travel again and assist those who wish to do the same.

“The opportunities I had over the past year, it involved doing some additional charity work and getting off the typically tourist path as well, so that sort of ignited my desire to help other people experience things in a little bit different way than the traditional tourist experience,” Homann said, “and get a little bit more into the actual culture of the destination, engaging in the people and the culture and the environment there.”

While being active in a community has always been a part of Homann’s life, she had never previously volunteered beyond her local community. Giving back to other places provided a different type of satisfaction on a trip.

“Having a chance to do that in other areas is very rewarding and it definitely gives you an inside look to other parts of country or other parts of the world as well,” Homann said.

Homann hasn’t just partnered with tours and trips that include the opportunity to volunteer. There is also the chance to experience a new culture. Homann said interacting in this type of way also helps unify people of different cultures. Instead of eating at a chain restaurant to learn about local cuisine, trips can include visiting with local people and creating a favorite local dish.

“If you are learning about their local culture you’re interacting with some people from a small village and making a craft with them, or cooking with them their traditional way, truly in an environment that’s true to that region,” Homann said.

Intentional Journeys is now open to booking vacations. She said she has vacations for not only families but also lone travelers who can still experience a new country while being safe traveling by themselves.

Homann said the most important part of her job is listening. Hearing what people want to get out of their vacation allows her to customize a trip just for them.

“It’s not just this trip goes to this destination and it’s the best price, so here you go,” Homann said. “We want to make sure it truly gives them the experience they’re looking for out of it.”

For more information on Intentional Journeys, LLC, contact Homann at 715-456-2022 or email steph.homann@icloud.com.

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