Welcome to the Roaming Bohemian's Global Travel Blog! We are thrilled to have you here and hope to inspire your wanderlust with captivating photography and fascinating stories from around the world. From off-the-beaten-path destinations to world-famous landmarks, we cover it all. We'll talk about places to stay, eat, explore, and get lost in a wonderful adventure. Don't forget to sign up for our weekly emails to stay updated on the latest travel news, photography tips, cultural insights, and much more. Let's explore the world together!

Off the Beaten Path in Iowa: Exploring the Resilience and Charm of the Amana Colonies

April 09, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

As a travel photographer and free spirit, I am always on the lookout for unique and off-the-beaten-path destinations to explore. On a road trip in August of 2020 through seven states, I had the opportunity to visit the Amana Colonies of southeast Iowa. The Amana Colonies are a series of seven villages settled by German immigrants in the mid-19th century, known for their rich history, culture, unique architecture, and craft traditions.

Day one of my journey began in Madison County, Iowa, where I spent a day exploring the area where the historic bridges are located. Overnight, I camped out at the local campground in the pick-up truck bed tent. From there, I headed west towards the Amana Colonies, eager to explore this charming destination.

Strolling along the historic streets of Amana, Iowa is like taking a step back in time. The charming buildings and quaint shops are a testament to the rich history and traditions of the Amana Colonies. This photo captures the essence of Amana, with its beautifully preserved architecture and vibrant energy. From handmade crafts to delicious local cuisine, there's something for everyone to discover on these charming streets.
Off the Beaten Path - Step Back in Time: Exploring the Charming Streets of the Amana ColoniesMargie Jane's on 220th Trail in Amana, Iowa, is a treasure trove of unique finds and hidden gems. From vintage collectibles to handmade crafts, this charming store offers something for everyone

Upon arriving, I was immediately struck by the beautiful architecture of the buildings and the welcoming atmosphere of the community. One of the highlights of my visit was exploring the artisan shops and antique stores in the villages of Amana, Middle Amana, and High Amana. From handmade quilts to intricate woodworking, the craftsmanship on display was truly impressive.

This photo captures the heart of Amana's charming streets, with the historic Ox Yoke Inn restaurant standing proudly in the middle of the road. With its charming architecture and warm ambiance, the restaurant offers a taste of Amana's rich history and traditions. Whether you're indulging in classic German fare or savoring the flavors of local cuisine, a visit to the Ox Yoke Inn is a must for anyone exploring the vibrant streets of Amana.Timeless Beauty: Capturing the Charm of Amana's Off-the-Beaten-Path TreasuresA Taste of History: The Ox Yoke Inn Restaurant in the Heart of Amana's Charming Street

Of course, no visit to the Amana Colonies would be complete without sampling the local cuisine. One of my favorite stops was the Ox Yoke Inn, a classic Amana Colonies restaurant that serves up traditional German fare. I enjoyed a hearty meal of schnitzel, corn on the cob, and strudel, washed down with a fruity libation. The food was utterly delicious and reminded me of the food I grew up eating with my family.


This photo showcases a mouthwatering plate of Wiener Schnitzel, Sturla, and corn on the cob, served up at the historic Ox Yoke Inn restaurant in Amana, Iowa. These classic German dishes are a staple of Amana's rich culinary heritage, and the Ox Yoke Inn is renowned for its authentic preparation and warm, welcoming atmosphere. From the crisp, breaded exterior of the Schnitzel to the tender strudel and the perfectly cooked corn on the cob, this plate offers a true taste of Amana's vibrant history and traditions.Indulging in Amana's Rich Culinary Heritage: The Ox Yoke Inn's Delicious Wiener Schnitzel and MoreSavoring the Flavors of Amana: A Mouthwatering Plate of Wiener Schnitzel, Strudel, and Corn on the Cob from the Historic Ox Yoke Inn Restaurant.

Another must-see attraction in the Amana Colonies is the International Christmas Market, which features vendors from around the world selling handmade crafts, gifts, and decorations. The market is held annually in November and December and is a festive and colorful event, with live music and holiday cheer filling the air. Even if you visit at a different time of year, the market's charming buildings and decor are worth checking out.


The International Christmas Market in Amana, Iowa, is a bustling, colorful scene with vendors selling handmade crafts, gifts, and decorations. The festive atmosphere fills the air with the scents and sounds of Christmas, making it a must-visit destination for anyone exploring Amana's charming streets.A Festive Wonderland: Exploring the International Christmas Market in Amana, IowaBringing Christmas Cheer to Every Day: The Vibrant Sights and Sounds of Amana's International Christmas Market


But my journey through the Amana Colonies was not without its challenges. A day or two before my arrival, a severe storm swept through the area, leaving destruction in its wake. The storm had flattened cornfields and destroyed crops, leaving the landscape changed and the community shaken. However, I was inspired by the resilience and strength of the Amana Colonies community. Despite the chaos and destruction, neighbors and businesses worked tirelessly to clear debris and keep their shops open. By supporting local businesses, I felt that I could contribute to the community's recovery efforts and be a part of something greater than myself.

As I continued my journey through southeast Iowa, I was struck by the contrast between the beauty of the landscape and the challenges the community faced. But through it all, the Amana Colonies showed remarkable strength, resilience, and a deep connection to their history and culture. The architecture, craftsmanship, and local cuisine are all testaments to the enduring legacy of the German immigrants who settled in this area so many years ago.

In conclusion, my journey through the Amana Colonies of southeast Iowa was a truly memorable experience. From the charming villages and artisan shops to the delicious local cuisine and the resilience of the community in the face of adversity, there was so much to appreciate and enjoy. If you're looking for an off-the-beaten-path destination that offers a unique blend of history, culture, and community, the Amana Colonies should be at the top of your list. And as always, don't forget to support local businesses and communities whenever you can - you never know what kind of unexpected adventures and experiences await you.

As always, more pictures will be posted in my portfolio, which you can access through the link at the top of the page. Thank you for reading, and thank you for visiting my website. Hope you enjoy it!

Capturing the Charm of the Bridges of Madison County: A Road Trip Adventure

April 01, 2023

In this blog post, I am excited to share with you a day of my pandemic road trip that I took a couple of years ago. My adventure started with a journey to the Bridges of Madison County in Iowa. As a seasoned travel photographer, I enjoy exploring the freedom of the countryside and capturing stunning landscapes, all the while camping in the bed of a truck. The Bridges of Madison County have always fascinated me, and I was thrilled to finally see them in person after years of dreaming about them. In this post, will take you on my journey, sharing my experiences and recommendations, so you can plan your own adventure.


It started with a strong need for a vacation, and I really wanted to get away, but I didn't know where I wanted to go, and with the pandemic in full swing, some things were not even open. Europe was definitely out of the question with the lockdown. As I was currently living in California surrounded by people, I also had a strong desire to get away from the masses. I enjoy the wide-open spaces that this country has to offer, and I knew a road trip would be the best thing for me. I also delight in small-town USA, and my Baby Canon Is nothing short of overused when I hop from town to town. Camping in the back of a truck, combined with a road trip, is the perfect pairing for me when it comes to finding places across the country to take pictures, and I decided this was exactly what I was going to do. Road trip adventures, here I come!


After deciding that a road trip would be the best way to get away and capture some amazing photos, I started planning my adventure. During this trip, I covered a lot of territory. I visited multiple states over the course of over two weeks. As this was at the height of the pandemic, it was also interesting to see how various states were handling the pandemic at the same time, which, may I say, varied greatly.


No matter the adventure, safety has to come first. For those of you who haven't seen my prior blogs, I travel solo. Throughout my adventures, I have been in some wicked storms, one of which I was certain was actually a tornado. Also, I have encountered some wildebeest along my way as well. I recall something snorted outside of the pickup one night in the middle of the night, and I knew that thing was about as big as I was or even bigger. Animals that can take me down, even the small ones that like to slither, are always on my mind when I'm out in the country. So, always remember your safety, no matter where you are, and have a backup plan to leave quickly, if necessary. 


A dirt road with an incline leading to the left, surrounded by trees on each side, in Winterset Iowa, on the way to the Bridges of Madison County.Road to Adventure: Exploring the Bridges of Madison CountyJourneying up the winding dirt road, surrounded by lush trees on either side, on the way to the Bridges of Madison County.

Every year, I enjoy going back home, renting a truck that I earned free days for, picking up my truck tent and my camping supplies, and heading off on a road trip for a couple of weeks. I never know really where I'm going or where I might stop, but I do enjoy the adventure. In lieu of staying in hotels, I enjoy finding small-town campsites, state parks, and even primitive camping sites to lay my head down at night. This also keeps my costs down and keeps me on vacation longer. Being a travel photographer, landscapes are one of my favorites to shoot at all hours of the day and night. So being able to take off in the truck and head for wide open spaces is one of the greatest things that I enjoy the most. If it wasn't for the truck tent, and an air mattress inflated by a battery-operated pump, I don't think I would enjoy my adventures quite as much.


As I continued my journey, I reminded myself of a place I had always wanted to visit - the Bridges of Madison County in Iowa. These bridges have always captured my imagination, and I was excited to finally see them in person after years of dreaming about them. I had lived in the Midwest years prior, but I had never seen the Bridges of Madison County. I figured this would be my first stop to bring my baby Canon and take some amazing pictures that I could enjoy for a lifetime. I confess, I really enjoyed watching Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood in the movie way back when. There was something about the simplicity of the land that reminded me of the back roads of South Dakota that I grew up on. So, I made my way to Iowa from southeast South Dakota to find the bridges of Madison County.


As I made my way down the rural roads of Iowa, I was delighted by the colors. Shades of green and light amber from the array of crops, including corn, soybeans, alfalfa, and wheat. The journey had rolling hills, and In August, the Midwest looks absolutely beautiful as you come over every mound and down again into the valleys. The swaying, the waves over the fields…the views are stunning as those fields stretch for miles. If you want to experience wide-open freedom, this is the best place to go and the right time of the year, when everything is absolutely gorgeous to the eye and the lens. 


Eventually, I made my way to Winterset, Iowa. I was disappointed to learn that the bridges had such an issue with vandalism. However, the county has done a great job at keeping them up regardless, but I could tell from the cameras inside the bridges that there was a greater concern than I had imagined. Probably not known to many people, there used to be 19 bridges. Today, only six remain. 


A photo of the Hogback Covered Bridge, a historic wooden bridge located in Madison County, Iowa. The bridge is surrounded by lush green trees and foliage, and features a peaked red roof with wooden beams supporting the structure. The bridge spans a calm river below.Hogback Covered Bridge, Winterset, IowaStepping back in time at the historic Hogback Covered Bridge #BridgesOfMadisonCounty #TravelPhotography


First, I visited the Hogback Covered Bridge. Inside was a map of all the others and some history about the bridges. The sign indicated it was unknown how many covered bridges were built between 1850-1900, but it was estimated to be about 100. I took some pictures and some lovely deep breaths. Having tackled my first bridge, I was on to the next, which was the Cedar Covered Bridge. This bridge is the first bridge in the movie where Meryl meets Clint to take pictures. That bridge was nearly destroyed by arson, and only renovated in 2019.


After Cedar, I made my way to the Cutler-Donahoe Covered Bridge. I also wanted to see where I’d be staying for the night before it became dark. I decided to stay at the Winterset City Campground, which was right around the corner from the Cutler-Donahoe Covered Bridge. It was a nice, clean campground, and very peaceful. I highly recommend staying there. Lots of history in town, too, if you’re a John Wayne fan.


A photo of the small white house in Winterset, Iowa where John Wayne was born, with a historic marker in front."Birthplace of John WayneExploring the birthplace of the Duke himself, John Wayne, in Winterset, Iowa.
Before turning in for the night, I headed to Roseman Covered Bridge, the most famous bridge from the movie, I had to go through town and pass the house where John Wayne was born, in the town of Winterset, Iowa. Luckily, at Roseman I didn't see a lot of people around when I was taking pictures, which was perfect for me. I was even able to stand and take some selfies where Meryl Streep stood, and where Clint Eastwood stood when he was taking his pictures of her. Made for quite a memory...


The Roseman Covered Bridge stands tall over a river, with a wooden roof and sides, surrounded by trees and greenery.Roseman Covered Bridge - A Charming Landmark in Winterset, IowaStanding tall for over 130 years, the Roseman Covered Bridge is a must-see attraction in Winterset, Iowa. Featured in the famous movie "The Bridges of Madison County," this charming landmark is a favorite spot for visitors to take pictures and create memories.


The start of day two was the Holiwell Covered Bridge, and I wrapped up with the Imes Bridge. The Imes Covered Bridge is the oldest of the remaining covered bridges, built in 1880. It was moved twice, once in 1887 and again in 1977, to its current location. 


I must say, it was fascinating to walk across all the bridges. Their structure is very unique, each of them. They have these large Timbers from one side to the other, just huge. As you're walking, it's very interesting to be on these enclosed bridges, as each of them is a little different. Bridges like these are very rare. Even though they all have been restored, they still look very good to this day. Weather in the Midwest can be extreme, and the covers were actually to protect them from the elements. 


The structure of the bridges also took me back to a different place and time. As I was walking through these bridges, it was easy to think about all the people who would have crossed the bridge, and in what manner, as back in the day, it would have been by foot, by horse, and by carriage. There is a lot of history with these bridges, and it's definitely something to soak in. I highly recommend a visit, not only for yourself but for your camera as well. Fortunately, they are very close to one another and easy to find. 


Not too far away from the bridges, is the house where they also filmed a large portion of the movie. It's not open to the public as it is privately owned, and there are a lot of brush, trees, and bushes that hide the view of the house. However, it was nice to go down those dirt roads where the filming occurred. The county is very pretty, and it's so easy to soak into a relaxing mood, driving on these dirt roads, sipping a pop, and eating seeds. On top of that, I have some of the most amazing pictures of the Midwest, and these bridges, to cherish for a lifetime.


To see more photos, visit the Bridges of Madison County gallery by clicking the PORTFOLIO button above and sign up for our newsletter by clicking the CONTACT button as well.


Below I've listed some of the gear, and camping accessories that I cannot live without when I go on an adventure, along with some things you might not have thought of if you are thinking of heading off on a camping road trip. By using the affiliate links provided, you'll be supporting my future adventures and helping me bring you more travel stories and recommendations. Safe travels, and happy exploring!

  • Truck Tent for Full Sized Truck Beds - this is the universeral truck tent I used on this journey. There will be pictures of it in subsequent blog posts.
  • Truck Tent - this is the next truck tent I intend to purchase, as I like that it has just a little more head room, since I use an air mattress which does take up some space.
  • Full Sized Air Mattress - so I learned the hard way, full sized mattress or less. I use full. I did have to buy two one year, as I started with a queen, which laid tilted on the wheel well. I like to spread out in the heat and humidity, so space was of of the essence. If you're a minamilist, know that the grooves in the bed of the truck, do not feel good. Also, a lesson learned.
  • Battery-Operated Air Mattress Pump - I tried the cigarette lighter operated pump on my first truck camping trip and then found out the mattress didn't fit in the opening of the tent. There was no opening from the back window to pull the cord through either. So, do yourself a favor and buy some batteries. Much more convenient.
  • Sheet Set - two things to consider. First, the time of year you are traveling. It was August, it was hot, it was humid, and I was NOT going to put a suitcase over my body or snuggle up in one. However, I had one handy to soften my bedding if I wanted, or if by chance a storm was on the way and it was cool (which it never was despite the fact there were storms). Second, space. The pillows and sheet set didn't take up much space, but a little more than the sleeping bag. I chose cooling sheets, and it was perfect.
  • Sleeping Bag - Lightweight - Purely for emergency cool weather nights, which never graced my vacation. I did use it to make the bed softer a couple of times.
  • Rechargeable Camping Light - This is not the exact model I used, but it is the next one I'm purchasing. I could not find a recharageble one at the time, but it was the height of the pandemic and random items were not available in the price range I was searching.
  • Pillows - I literally found the cheapest pillow I could find.

On my journeys, I support local, so I do not have any cooking/kitchen type items. I enjoy going into town and eating at various places, so I don't bring cooking gear on my trips.

I hope this blog inspires you to take off and enjoy a minimalist, and I do still feel it is even though I use an air matress, camping road trip. Don't forget to bring your camera, even if it isn't a Canon.


The Ultimate Guide to Solo Travel and Photography

March 23, 2023

Are you someone who is passionate about travel and photography, but you're hesitant to venture out on your own? Don't be! Solo travel can seem intimidating and overwhelming, but it can also be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. I have traveled solo for well over two decades, and it was the most freeing feeling I've ever known. Very liberating, and I wish I had started a lot sooner. As a solo traveler and photography enthusiast, I've learned a thing or two about how to make the most of these adventures. Below, I'll share my tips and tricks for solo travel and photography, as well as some recommended travel destinations and accessories. Some I've tried, and some are on my bucket list.

Solo travel can be an empowering experience, but it's important to take some precautions to stay safe and make the most of your trip.

  1. Plan ahead: Research your destination and make a plan for your itinerary. This will help you feel more confident and prepared when you arrive. Whether you are staying at a hostel or a 5-star hotel, because you earned it, do your research on the location. I always look for safety reviews. 

  2. Stay connected: Make sure someone knows your itinerary and how to reach you in case of an emergency. Consider purchasing an international phone plan or bringing a portable WiFi device. My add-on phone plan costs $10 a day while I'm traveling.

  3. Be aware of your surroundings: Trust your instincts and be mindful of your surroundings. I would say to avoid walking alone at night or in unfamiliar areas; however, I've done this. I try to stay in populated areas, and if I don't feel right, I open a ride-share app and leave. Make sure to find rideshare apps in the country you are located. Lyft is not in every country.

  4. Meet locals: Solo travel can be lonely, so make an effort to meet locals or fellow travelers. Join a walking tour, a planned tour, or attend a cultural event. I found many family-style dining establishments where I've met some of the greatest people - people I still talk to years later. Irish pubs are excellent for meeting good people and listening to wonderful music.

Photography is a great way to capture memories and share your travel experiences with others. Here are some tips for taking great travel photos:

  1. Play with perspective: Experiment with different angles and perspectives to create unique and interesting photos. It's easy to find yourself taking pictures looking up. Think - cathedrals, highrises, mountain tops. Try new angles, or accentuate your low angle. If you're using a phone, turn it upside down and take a panoramic picture, moving the phone upwards until you reach the top of the picture you want. Crop it later while editing. 

  2. Use natural light: Take advantage of natural light to enhance your photos. Early morning and late afternoon are great times for photography. However, if you find yourself in shadows, then take some shadow pictures. For example, statues. Play with the lighting. 

  3. Capture details: Don't just focus on the big picture. Look for details that tell a story about the place you're visiting. I happen to love the beads of New Orleans, and it's interesting where you will find them, and what will be next to them.

  4. Edit your photos: Use photo editing software to enhance your photos and create a cohesive look for your travel album. There are many packages out there, but learning for yourself is the best gift. Lightroom can do many things, and YouTube, and even TikTok, can teach you.

Whether you're a seasoned traveler or just starting out, there are plenty of destinations that are perfect for solo travel and photography:

  1. Paris, France: The City of Light is a classic destination for solo travelers and photographers. From the Eiffel Tower to the charming streets of Montmartre, there's no shortage of beautiful sights to capture. The people, the architecture, and the ambiance - don't miss out.

  2. Reykjavik, Iceland: Iceland's otherworldly landscapes make it a dream destination for photographers. From the Northern Lights to the Blue Lagoon, there's something for everyone. This one is on my bucket list. 

  3. Rome, Italy: a city rich in history, culture, and amazing cuisine, with famous landmarks such as the Colosseum, the Vatican, and the Trevi Fountain. Millions of people visit Rome for a reason. What will yours be?

Having the right travel accessories can make all the difference when it comes to solo travel and photography. Here are some of my favorites:

  1. Travel tripod: A travel tripod is a must-have for any photography enthusiast, and there are plenty of lightweight and compact options available. Now, let's be frank, there is only one. I'm a Manfrotto fan until the end. Aluminum will lessen the load: Manfrotto Travel Tripod

  2. Packing cubes: Keep your luggage organized and maximize space with packing cubes. I lived out of a backpack for 3 weeks, and these were great. I left one or two uncompressed, and it actually worked better tucked in the ones I did compress: Travel Compression Packing Cubes

  3. Neck pillow: Stay comfortable on long flights or train rides with a neck pillow. I use this one: Travel Neck Pillow

  4. Travel backpack: Necessity if you are moving around a lot and truly want to be free. I bought an Eagle Creek backpack in 1999 that I still use to this day. It had a separate smaller backpack I could remove from the larger one. Similar to that backpack is this one: Eagle Creek Backpack I still take the smaller one with me, but I also tried this one out recently and really liked it as well. I was not 'roughing it' like I was in 1999 and was choosing a slightly more classy style: Travel Backpack Suitcase

Solo travel and photography can be a transformative experience. With these tips and recommendations, you'll be ready to embark on your own adventure and capture beautiful memories along the way. Happy travels!


Ten Underrated Destinations for Photography

March 17, 2023

As someone who is passionate about photography, you may be familiar with popular destinations such as Paris and New York City. However, there are many other locations that are less known but offer fantastic opportunities for capturing stunning images as well. To provide you with some inspiration, I have compiled a list of 10 underrated destinations for photography enthusiasts.

1. Valparaiso in Chile is a colorful and unique coastal city renowned for its steep hills, vibrant houses, and impressive street art. With a mix of urban and natural landscapes, you'll have plenty of possibilities to capture remarkable photographs. Don't forget to take a funicular ride up the hills to enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the city.

2. Another awe-inspiring location on our list is Chefchaouen, a picturesque blue-washed city located in Morocco's Rif Mountains. You can expect to capture stunning pictures of the blue-painted houses and winding alleyways as well as explore the local markets for vibrant colors and textures.

3. The Faroe Islands, a remote archipelago situated between Norway and Iceland, offer dramatic landscapes with rugged cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and beautiful fjords that are perfect for landscape and nature photography.

4. Essaouira is another Moroccan city that is incredibly photogenic. It's situated on the coast and is known for its stunning beaches, historic architecture, and vibrant fishing boats. You'll have the opportunity to capture images of the old city's narrow streets, fortified walls, and beautiful sunsets over the Atlantic.

5. Kotor in Montenegro is a charming fortified town located on the Adriatic coast. It's an excellent location for photographers as it offers opportunities to capture images of medieval architecture, narrow streets, and breathtaking views of the Bay of Kotor.

6. Palawan in the Philippines is a group of islands that showcases gorgeous natural landscapes such as towering limestone cliffs, turquoise lagoons, and pristine beaches that provide an ideal setting for photography enthusiasts.

7. The Lofoten Islands in Norway are a collection of islands in northern Norway that are renowned for their striking scenery, fishing communities, and brightly colored homes. Particularly during the northern lights season, this location provides fantastic opportunity for scenery and wildlife photography. 

8. The unusual Italian city of Matera, which is noted for its historic cave houses and breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside, is situated in the southern region of Basilicata. Photographers have a fantastic opportunity to capture photographs of the distinctive architecture and stunning scenery in this city. 

9. In the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, Tulum is a stunning seaside community. Photographers will have many opportunity at this location to snap photographs of the magnificent beaches, vibrant sunsets, and historic Mayan ruins. 

10. Lastly, Petra is a historic city built into southern Jordan's red sandstone cliffs. Photographers have a rare chance to snap photographs of the historic structures, breathtaking desert vistas, and the Treasury building at this UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you're an Indiana Jones fan, you'll appreciate this place. The Nabataean city was featured in the 1989 "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" starring Harrison Ford.

In conclusion, there are a ton of undiscovered locations for photo aficionados that present fantastic opportunity to take beautiful pictures. Every photographer will find plenty of inspiration in these locations, which range from the vibrant homes of Valparaiso to the historic buildings in Petra. don't forget to take your Apple Air Tags with you when you go, and stuff them in your luggage, backpack, purse, and passport holder when you go. The tags were very helpful in knowing my backpack was exactly where I left it when I utilized luggage storage.

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***Please note that some of the links on this website may be affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, and as an affiliate for other companies, I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase through these links, but rest assured that I only promote products and services that I genuinely believe in and use during my travels. 
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