Welcome to Eye & Pen!

Thanks for visiting my indie travel blog, Eye & Pen! I’m Jessica, your guide to visually fueling wanderlust. Have a look around for travel tales and tips that inspire adventure. Daydream over photos from off-beaten locales. Plan worldwide treks using my tried budget itineraries. However I can indulge your inner nomad, I’m glad you stopped in! Questions? Drop a line – I aim to help fellow travelers. Grab some coffee and let’s escape routine through wanderlust!

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Meet Jessica

Hi there, I’m Jessica, the solo traveler behind the travel blog Eye & Pen. I launched my site in 2020 to share over a decade of adventurous stories and vivid photography from my expeditions across 30+ countries. When I’m not wandering, you can find me freelance writing from my home base in Denver, hiking Colorado’s peaks with my rescue pup Belle, or enjoying local craft beers with friends.

I specialize in budget tips, unique lodging spotlights, road trip routes, travel hacking guides, and female solo travel for publications like Travel+Leisure and Matador Network. Through my photography and writing, I hope to immerse readers in new cultures and compelling destinations not found in most guidebooks. I’d love for you to join me on my lifelong journey of visual storytelling!

Latest Guide & News

Is Rhode Island In New York?

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With its small size and proximity to its much larger neighbor, it’s no wonder Rhode Island is sometimes mistakenly thought to be part of New York. If you’re short on…

What Is The Standard Lot Size In Chicago?

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Lot size plays an important role when building or buying a home in Chicago. Understanding typical lot dimensions provides useful context for home construction and land use. If you’re short…

Is $60K A Year A Good Salary In Texas?

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Texas is known for having a low cost of living compared to other states, so $60,000 a year goes further here than it would in places like California or New…

Why Is Houston So Big?

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With a population of over 2.3 million people, Houston is the largest city in Texas and the fourth largest in the United States. If you’re wondering how Houston grew to…

Common Questions

I’m asked this all the time! It’s not cheap to travel continuously, but through travel hacking techniques, working remote jobs, and being ultra-budget conscious, I stretch my dollars. I’m always looking to open new revenue streams too as a travel blogger/photographer. I use travel rewards credit cards, airline miles, and lodging points through strategic sign-up bonuses. I score discounted stays testing hotels for reviews and housesit. Freelance writing & social media work for travel brands fund me too. I cook meals more than dining out and use public transit to save. It’s a balancing act for sure, but where there’s a will, there’s a way!

It’s understandable for safety concerns to arise. While no one can guarantee safety anywhere, these tips help ease worries: Research safe areas & trusted lodging, create an itinerary but stay flexible, familiarize yourself with local customs & language basics, only walk at night in well-populated/lit areas, secure valuables on your person vs. bags, don’t over-consume if drinking, be assertive saying “no” firmly if needed. Avoiding risky scenarios is key. Also consider group tours for added comfort initially. Stay vigilant, trust your gut, and locals are often kinder than portrayed.

As a travel photographer, good equipment is crucial but so is versatility as I backpack. I use a cropped sensor Canon 80D DSLR camera for higher-end shots paired with a Canon 10-18mm wide lens to capture sweeping landscape panoramas and close detail shots of food, artifacts, etc. For lighter treks, I’ll use my Canon G7X Mark II point-and-shoot instead. It still allows manual settings & captures vibrant imagery. I always keep spare batteries, SD cards, a tripod, remote shutter, filters, drying cloths & a weatherproof backpack. Investing in my photography makes a difference in end results and protects delicate gear on the road.

Heavens no! As a long-term budget wanderer, I’ve honed packing down to a lightweight science. I keep belongings stored between trips with family & donate unused items before each new adventure. The smaller my pack the better as I transit cities. I stick to versatile essentials that maximize outfits – mainly solid layers, pants, shorts, dresses, shoes. I hand wash clothing at lodgings vs. overpacking. For electronics, I only tote my phone, camera, laptop, backup drive, plug adapter & mini battery pack/charger. The focus stays on mobility. Minimizing belongings equals maximizing freedom!

There’s no separation for me – blogging is intricately woven into travels. I intentionally seek out wifi cafes abroad as makeshift offices. Scheduling content via social media scheduler apps lets me queue posts if offline for adventures. I journal daily chronicles & jot storylines for articles later. Photography is continually gathered too. While it’s not a 9-5 job, I put hour in during mornings or over afternoon coffee. Staying organized and planning ahead alleviates heavily editing everything upon returning home! Though let’s be honest – my first priority is always fully experiencing the cultures before me!