2022 Wrapped

2022 Wrapped
Kauai, Hawaii


  • Took a four month sabbatical from work and traveled across Europe and part of the Middle East
  • Saw Dreamcatcher (x2), LOONA, Rammstein, Lady Gaga, Charli XCX, 100 Gecs and Balming Tiger perform at various concerts/festivals I went to
  • Visited my friends in New York, Chicago and Hawaii (x2)
  • Picked up more Art Directing roles including for a big TikTok project that I was responsible for overseeing a team of animators, illustrators and video editors. I also got to visit the film set for the LA filming location which was fun!
  • Attended OFFF Barcelona and Half Rez and got inspired by the awesome artists giving presentations
  • Continued to run Motion Collabs and we finally launched our website

Looking back on it, I can't believe this year actually happened. I got to fulfill my dream of traveling long term and I saw and did so much while traveling. After the shitshow of the past 2 years, the trip was exactly what I needed to wipe clean my mental slate and finally get to talk to and meet new people again. I got to meet all sorts of fascinating people from all over the world.

At a bus stop in Ljubljana, I befriended these four American army officers who were stationed in Italy. They were all in their late teens and had no idea what they wanted to do with their lives so they joined the army, hoping it would bring them structure and some sort of financial cushion. All of them regretted the decision to join the army. One of them was a really talented photographer and he had his DSLR camera with him.

I had pizza with two Saudi Arabian women at 2am in Budapest, Hungary. Both of them told me that they dreamed of visiting America.

I befriended a Russian bartender at my hostel in Istanbul, Turkey. She fled Russia right when the war broke out and had no intentions of going back. She lived at the hostel and in exchange for room and board, she worked at the bar.

In my day to day life, I never would've met these people. I never would've heard their stories. Their hopes, their dreams. I mostly did not get the contact information of the people I befriended. Some friendships don't need to last forever — they can serve their purpose for that particular period of time.

I'm not new to solo travel by any means but my sabbatical was definitely the longest stretch of time I'd ever traveled especially by myself. When things go wrong and you're thousands of miles away from your support network, it feels so, so much worse. I got hay fever in Barcelona and felt miserable the first few days I was there. One of my cochlear implant batteries died on me (also in Barcelona) so I had to get my mom to ship a replacement part to my friends in London. Let me tell you, I didn't get robbed in Barcelona but everything else went wrong. Many things went wrong when I was in London, including the train strikes that were occurring when I was there. You just have to roll with the punches when things don't go your way.

Luckily, I'm fortunate to have wonderful friends in Europe. I wanted to visit Ireland but all the accommodations there were completely sold out so Tatiana and her husband graciously let me stay at their place for a few days. They even bought a new mattress just for me! If that isn't true friendship, I don't know what is. Ash and Zoe let me stay at their flat in London and cooked me some excellent homemade meals. My friends in Estonia were very determined to show me what authentic Estonian food was like so they dragged me around a supermarket and got me more drinks and snacks than I could possibly eat.

Even though I traveled by myself, I was able to split my time between being truly alone and hanging out with my friends. I'm glad that I'm able to be comfortable in my own company. I had friends in college who would refuse to eat at the dining hall by themselves. Well, I couldn't give a fuck if I'm by myself at a restaurant or a bar. If I ever felt awkward, I would just read a book or scroll on my phone. People really don't care about you so why should you care about any potential judgment? I used to be painfully shy in high school which really held me back from expressing myself. Now that I'm older and wiser, I feel a lot more settled into my own skin.

I'm proud of how I handled situations when things went wrong. I'm able to improvise on the fly and adjust accordingly. Things in life rarely ever go according to plan but it says a lot about a person with how they handle things not going their way.

Work wise, I pretty much split my time between political/advocacy clients and entertainment clients this year. I did some explainer videos, made some GIFs, the usual. I got more opportunities this year to do 3d animations which was fun — the majority of my client work is 2d After Effects animations but I think my real passions lie in 3d.

I also experimented with artificial intelligence programs like Stable Diffusion and Midjourney and have begun to incorporate them into my workflow.

I was able to pick up more freelance roles that allowed me to act as an Art Director which is a career milestone I've been wanting to reach for a while. I've been running Motion Collabs for the past 5 years so organizing the collabs, writing the briefs, and answering people's questions really helped me prepare to be an AD. As an Art Director, you have to have a clear vision while also being an excellent communicator. As Motion Collabs has people from all over the world participating, I have to make sure I'm clear to non-native English speakers as well as to total amateurs or experts of animation. It's not an easy task but hey, it's really fun to see what everyone makes for each collaboration.

I don't know, it's funny — this year was the year I graduated from my early to mid-twenties mindset that work was the most important thing in life and I should constantly be learning and advancing my skillsets. Don't get me wrong, I still find it incredibly necessary to learn new things and to grow in areas I'm weak in but my priorities have shifted and to me, my job is just a job. My identity doesn't have to revolve around being a Motion Designer.

I know that's a really obvious statement but I feel like your job is a huge part of your identity in American culture. When we meet someone for the first time, one of the first questions we ask them is what they do for a living. A lot of my friends are in the same industry as I am which is awesome — it's great having friends who understand exactly what it is you do for work with no questions asked. But I don't want to think about animation all the time. I use my job to fund my interests and hobbies — such as traveling, watching movies, reading books, learning new languages, etc. I've delved deep into personal improvement this year and I'm at a much better mindset because of it.

A lot of my friends and family members make comments that I'm always traveling or thinking about where to travel to next. The thing is — I'm aware of my own mortality. We have a finite amount of time in this world. As we get older, our priorities change and we have less energy to do everything that we want to do. I'm young, I'm still physically capable, I have the energy. Now is the perfect time to travel while I'm still mobile and have no major family obligations. I see my grandparents getting into their late 80's and they can barely move. We're ingrained that we're supposed to work hard while we're young so we can spend retirement traveling and working on our own hobbies which quite frankly makes no sense. A 70 year old isn't going to easily zip across the cobblestoned streets of Europe. They're not going to go surfing in Australia or snorkeling in the Bahamas. Tick tock.

Lately, I've been hearing this sound. Everywhere I go, like a tick, tick, tick...

Top... of 2022

Book: Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

Film: Everything Everywhere All at Once by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert


Album: The Happy Star by Lexie Liu

Goals for next year:

  • Travel more (duh)
  • Get my own apartment & studio space
  • Continue studying Korean. I also bought a Spanish course because a Youtuber I follow made one so I might as well learn Spanish lol
  • Read at least 12 books