2021 Year in Review and 2022 Goals

visiting the office during covid

Hard to believe that another year has gone by, and yet we’re still living through the covid-19 pandemic. Despite this ongoing situation, the past year has overall been pretty good. Here’s how my 2021 went: 

Survived another year at Patreon! 

Visiting the Patreon office in November 2021!

The longest I’ve ever spent working for the same company was 1 year and 10 months. As of January 2022, I’ve now been at Patreon for two years, surviving another round of layoffs in April, having three managers in the span of 12 months, and moving from Marketing to Data Science!  

Lived out my dreams of being a ‘digital’ nomad abroad 

View from my desk at the “In the Shade” coworking space in Tamarindo, Costa Rica

I spent a solid month living in France, and spent a few weeks each living in Costa Rica, Austin, Hawaii and the Northeast U.S. Never would I ever dreamt of being able to live this kind of lifestyle. After experiencing the ups and downs of living as a digital nomad (finding reliable wifi, maintaining a routine, etc.), I’m so thankful to have a home-basis in the San Francisco Bay Area! Moreover 

Passed my WSET Level 2 Certification! 

My official WSET Level 2 certificate!

I first started getting into wine nearly 6 years ago, after coming across the Wine For Normal People podcast as a way to cope with my 1.5 hour commute each way for work. Back in 2020, I enrolled in a 3 month course, the WSET Level 2, as a way to meet new people in San Francisco and learn more about wine via wine tastings. Back in January 2021, I passed the accompanying test for the course, and received my Level 2 certification!

Deepened my language learning hobbies

A wine book at a tasting in Paris in July.

Between working for a maturing start-up and traveling, I discovered and have watched countless hours of new youtube channels and podcasts to learn more about French, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. Additionally, I spent time in both French and Spanish speaking countries to try and immerse myself in as much of the language as possible. For French, my main reason for learning is to be able to read and speak about wine in French!! For Spanish, I’d like to be able to travel throughout the massive Spanish speaking world.

Exceeded my financial goals. 

I’ve long been a follower of the FIRE movement (Financially Independent, Retire Early). However, over this past year I’ve realized that (1) I definitely do not want to retire early and (2) it’s important to give yourself permission to enjoy the present as well. Over the past year, I consistently contributed to my various tax-deferred accounts, remained completely debt free, and with the unexpected gains in the broad based market indexes, exceeded my financial goals for the past year!

However, some other things did not go according to plan: 

Did not run a half-marathon 

Despite not running a half-marathon, I did complete a 5k Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day!

With the lack of a normal commute, I started doing morning and evening walks around my neighborhood in San Francisco as a means of giving myself some mental separation between work and home-life. According to my app tracker, I’ve walked at least 30 minutes for over 200+ days in 2021. Despite doing 9 half marathons already, because I did not incorporate more running into my daily routine, I backed out at the last minute from running the San Jose Half Marathon – the only half that I had planned to do for the year. Moreover, due to my diet and other reasons, I’ve gained nearly 10 lbs over the past year. 

Did not do as much language immersion 

Part of the reason for spending a month in France was to immerse myself in the culture and to force myself to speak French, a language that I’ve studied informally for a few years. After spending a few weeks in Lyon, Paris and Strasbourg, I realized that it’s totally possible to get around with speaking very limited French. Additionally, because my partner speaks Spanish, it’s been really easy to NOT have to speak Spanish wherever we’ve visited. 

Posted less frequently on LinkedIn

In 2020, I set a goal of posting weekly on LinkedIn to begin developing my own voice on how to talk about my field of marketing operations. However, with my switch from marketing operations to data operations in April 2021, I felt less confident in my ability to speak about my new role. As a result, I posted much less on LinkedIn than I had planned. 

Goals for 2022: 

Eat meatless one day a week. I’ve lived off of prepared foods from Trader Joes for far too long (though it still beats eating out, which I used to do much more often in my 20s)! I’d like to incorporate more ‘meatless mondays’, have at least one day a week where I’m eating only food that I’ve actually cooked rather than pre-heated or microwaved. 

Run at least one half marathon. I’ve signed up for the Berkeley Half Marathon in late February, and since late November, I’ve tried to incorporate more running into my daily routine instead of just walking. 

Diversify into real estate. I’ve never owned any form of real estate, but would like to diversify this new year. I’ve been preapproved for a mortgage, but with the continually hot real estate market, I’m also considering investing in REITs instead. 

Do at least 10 hours of language classes. I’d like to re-enroll in either in-person or virtual classes to practice speaking either French, Spanish or Mandarin. I’ve found several options, including an interesting program called Lingoda

Read or listen to at least 10 books. In 2021, I read or listened to just 6 books, all of which I went through in the first half of the year. I’ve created a list of books I’d like to read this year and have re-subscribed to audible. Hope I can read and learn more in the coming year! 

  • China’s second continent : how a million migrants are building a new empire in Africa, by Howard French
  • China’s Western Horizon: Beijing and the New Geopolitics of Eurasia, by Daniel Seth Markey 
  • The Emperor’s New Road: China and the Project of the Century, by Jonathan Hillman
  • Red flags: Why Xi’s China is in jeopardy, by George Magnus
  • Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Tell You Everything You Need To Know About Global Politics, by Tim Marshall
  • Fifth Sun: A New History of the Aztecs, by Camilla Townsend

2021 Travel Highlights

Sunset in Lisbon

This past year has been another incredible year full of adventure. I got to visit a few new state and national parks, lived out my dreams of “living” abroad as a digital nomad in France and Costa Rica, and visited 6 new countries! Here’s some of the highlights from each destination! 

From a travel perspective, the biggest highlight however was finally appreciating the proximity I now have by living in the SF Bay Area to seeing my family in Southern California and Hawaii. Never expected I’d get to visit Hawaii (3x) and SoCal (3x) in one year! Hoping to continue doing this more in the new year! 


Death Valley National Park
Visiting Death Valley National Park in January
  • Pinnacles National Park 
  • Death Valley National Park
  • Sequoia / Kings Canyon National Park
  • Lassen National Park 
  • Visiting Monterrey 2x
  • Visiting Santa Cruz
  • Snowboarding at Northstar in Lake Tahoe 
  • Going to Napa 2x and Sonoma 2x 
  • McArthur-Burney Falls State Park

New York 

View during my morning run along the Hudson River in early June!
  • Watkins Glen State Park 
  • Visiting wineries and sipping delicious riesling in the finger lakes region
  • Spent a week living in Manhattan! 


Quick hike near Pennybacker Bridge looking towards Downtown Austin in December!
  • Spent another two weeks living in Austin 
  • Eating so much delicious BBQ!

Costa Rica 

View of Arenal Volcano en route to Tamarindo in June
  • Spent 2.5 weeks living in Costa Rica!! 
  • Going zip-lining for the first time near Arenal 
  • Surviving white water rafting on the Rio Balsa 
  • Searching for parrots and other wildlife on jungle tours (2x) 
  • Having beachside massages at Playa Conchal 
  • Living out my coworking dreams in Tamarindo 
  • Wandering around the capital city of San Jose de Costa Rica
  • Experiencing all the W Costa Rica has to offer! 


Sunset from the kitchen window of my AirBnb in Strasbourg in June
  • Spent nearly 5 weeks living in France in 2021!!
  • Attending a wedding on a private island in Brittany
  • Biking the Loire Valley while visiting wineries and chateaus 
  • Trying out Senegalese, Mauritian and Cambodian cuisine in Paris
  • Driving the vin d’Alsace and enjoying some delicious Riesling 
  • Visiting champagne houses in Reims
  • Wandering around Colmar and other small towns in Alsace 
  • Touring the EU Parliament building in Strasbourg 
  • All the high speed train journeys throughout France! 
  • Eating all the escargot and beef bourguignon at bouchons in Lyon
  • Learning about red/white burgundy on a private tour at Chateau Pommard


View of the old town in Luxembourg!
View of the old town in Luxembourg!
  • Doing a day trip to Luxembourg from Paris!
  • Checking out the royal palace
  • Wandering around atop the old city’s walls 


Visiting the Porsche Museum in July!
Visiting the Porsche Museum in July!
  • Doing a day trip to Stuttgart from Strasbourg! 
  • Visiting both the Mercedes Benz and Porsche Museums
  • Wandering around the town square 


Sunset from Castelo de Sao Jorge overlooking the Tagus River in Lisbon in October
Sunset from Castelo de Sao Jorge overlooking the Tagus River in Lisbon in October
  • Spent a long layover in Lisbon en route to Spain 
  • Had pastéis de nata (egg tarts) in Belem 
  • Walking around the Alfama (old town) 


Afternoon view of the Alhambra Palace in Granada in October
  • Spent a few days traveling solo in Spain! 
  • Finally getting to visit the Alhambra Palace in Granada! 
  • Discovering La Mezquita in Cordoba 
  • Learning about Moorish Architecture at the Alcazar in Seville 
  • Seeing miles and miles of olive trees while riding the high speed trains! 
  • Eating all the jamon iberico and cheese sandwiches 
  • Dipping churros in hot chocolate in Madrid 
  • Learning about Spanish art at the Reina Sofia Museum 


Morning at Chichen Itza in December
  • First time doing a road trip in Mexico by driving out to Chichen Itza! 
  • Visited some additional Mayan ruins at Ek Balam and Tulum 
  • Experiencing my first time ever staying at an all inclusive resort (XCaret Arte!) 
  • Facing my fear of heights and doing a ropes course at Parque Savage 
  • Wandering around Playa del Carmen and Cancun


Hiking at Waimea Canyon in Kauai in November
  • Visited Hawaii (3x) in one year!! 
  • Going to Kauai for the very first time!
  • Hiking at Waimea Canyon in Kauai and seeing Niihau
  • Various family activities on the Big Island for my grandma’s funeral and on Maui for my grandpa’s 90th birthday and mini-family reunion. 

2020 In Review


This past year has undoubtedly been unlike any other. Covid happened. Despite the pandemic, I’ve done so many things that I never considered doing. Here’s how my 2020 went:

I lived and traveled all over America. 

By far and away, I will look back on 2020 as the year when I lived and travelled across the country. I started the year thinking I’d finally get to discover a new city, but due to covid only spent about half the year in SF. For the rest of the year I road-tripped over 25k miles around the country.

I finished my first year at Patreon!

Due to the pandemic, I was only working out of the sf office for about 10 weeks! Those first two and a half months were great. Loved the views of the SF skyline from the office, and loved the free lunches even more! There’s a lot to be done in the new year, and am thankful that I have the opportunity to help continue working for the company. 

Posted on LinkedIn. Got certifications. 

Beginning in mid-July I began posting on LinkedIn with the goal of posting at least once a week. My intentions in doing this were primarily to join the conversation and perhaps start building a personal brand around marketing operations. Additionally, I sought out getting certifications with a number of platforms and related services including Google Analytics, Pendo, Workato and Demandbase. I also spent 6 weeks in a React.js class through the General Assembly, which was immensely helpful in understanding how the web works. 

Achieved my financial goals!

I maxed out all of my tax deferred accounts and started re-building my taxable brokerage account for the first time ever! Incredibly amazed that it’s only been about 15 months since I officially became debt free (September 2019), having paid off all my student loans and my car!

Looking Ahead – 2021 Goals

  • Finances: max out my tax-deferred accounts (401k and Roth), and continue contributing to my downpayment fund  
  • Fitness: Walk at least 10 miles a week; 50 push ups at once, hold a plank for 60+ seconds, 200 bodyweight squats at once
  • Travel: Visit Alaska. Visit one new country, covid permitting
  • Wine: Take the WSET Level 2 Exam. Enroll in WSET Level 3 Class
  • Chinese: Memorize all the words on HSK 4 Vocab and HSK 5 Vocab lists

2020 Travel Highlights


2020 was an incredibly weird year.

Thanks to the global pandemic that will be forever known as covid-19, I spent most of the year NOT flying. The last time I flew was in mid-February, right before the pandemic really took ahold in the U.S. beginning in March.

When I moved to San Francisco earlier this year, I seriously considered selling my car.

I’m so glad that I didn’t.

Although I spent most of the year in California, after our lease ended in May 2020, and with a paid off car, I spent most of the year living a digital nomad-like lifestyle: working my typical 9-5 during the work week, and exploring the outdoors over the weekend.

Here’s where I went in the U.S. in 2020:  


  • Saw the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah
  • Antelope Island in Great Salt Lake
  • Hiked around Bonneville Trail in Salt Lake City 
  • Visited Park City Utah 
  • Went to Capitol Reef National Park
  • Went to Canyonlands National Park
  • Saw the Delicate Arch at Arches National Park
  • Went mountain biking around Moab Utah 
  • Jogging around Cottonwood Creek Trail


  • Spent a few weeks in Glenwood Springs, Boulder and Denver! 
  • Drank wine in Paradise in the Colorado River Valley AVA 
  • Kayaked on the White River near Denver
  • Got up super early for a sunrise view at Maroon Bells near Aspen
  • Participated in an impromptu rally for Black Lives Matter in Aspen 
  • Visited Aspen Museum of Art and had delicious beer al fresco 
  • Hiked to Hanging Lake, outside of Glenwood Springs 
  • Saw ancient pueblos at Mesa Verde National Park 
  • Walked around and spent a night in Durango CO
  • Almost hit a giant Eagle on our way to Steamboat. 
  • Walked around and spent a night in Steamboat Springs CO
  • Visited Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park 
  • Drove the Million Dollar Highway from Ouray to Durango
  • Did a morning hike to Deer Mountain at Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Sandboarded at Great Sand Dunes National Park near Alamosa 
  • Visited Garden of the Gods Park in Colorado Springs
  • Went running along Boulder Creek in Boulder 
  • Jogging around Cherry Creek Trail in Denver
  • Visited the Colorado State Museum 
  • Running / walking along the Colorado River in Glenwood Springs 
  • Saw the headwaters of the Colorado River, in RMNP! 
  • Saw the headwaters of the Arkansas River on our way to Alamosa! 
  • Visited Telluride CO! 


  • Went to a scenic stop along the Oregon Trail near Gering

South Dakota: 

  • Saw buffalo cross the road for the first time at Custer State Park 
  • Sunset and incredible colors at Badlands National Park 
  • Finally saw Mt. Rushmore in all its glory 
  • Visited Crazy Horse Memorial

North Dakota: 

  • Running along the Red River in Fargo ND
  • Walking along the Missouri River near Bismarck, the state capitol 
  • Visited the State Capitol! 
  • Had delicious Jewish food at a deli in Fargo 
  • Discovered Horenbacher’s, a ND grocery chain. 


  • Saw a massive Paul Bunyan statue 
  • Walked along the Lake Superior shorefront in Duluth 
  • Visited the massive Mall of America 
  • Walked along the Mississippi River around downtown Minneapolis 
  • Went to the Hmong Village (felt like Asia!!) in Minneapolis 
  • Running around Lake Calhoun aka Bde Maka Ska
  • Visited the grounds around the Minnesota State Capitol in St Paul  


  • Day trip out to see the Apostle Islands State Park 
  • Visited Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin 
  • Had delicious cheese and visited my first cheese-factory: Marieke Gouda 
  • Almost ran over a black bear. 


  • Snuck across the border from Wisconsin to cross this state off the list! 
  • Hiked to a waterfall near the Lake Superior / Wisconsin state border


  • Running along the Iowa River in Iowa City 
  • Having surprisingly good boba in Iowa City / University of Iowa 
  • Visited the State Capitol building in Des Moines 


  • Had delicious BBQ in Kansas City at Q39. 


  • Saw the Kansas State Capitol in Topeka 
  • Survived a crazy wind / rain storm on the drive back from Kansas City to Denver! 


  • Visited the Wyoming State Museum 
  • Visited the Buffalo Bill Museum in Cody
  • Saw the super interesting looking geysers at Yellowstone National Park 
  • Incredible views of the Rocky Mountains at Grand Teton National Park 
  • Hiked along Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park 
  • Spent a weekend in Jackson, WY 


  • Hiked the incredible 14-hour round trip High-Line trail to see glaciers at Glacier National Park 
  • Took some nice photos around Flathead Lake 
  • Went running around Missoula
  • Spent a week enjoying the pleasant mountain air in Big Sky
  • Visited the Montana State Museum in Helena 
  • Hiked to Ousel Falls, just outside of Big Sky 
  • Finally had Taco Johns (like a Midwest Taco Bell) in Helena 
  • Saw the headwaters of the Missouri River! 


  • Went running along the Boise River in Boise
  • Went to the Idaho State Capitol 
  • Saw the massive Shoshone Falls 


  • Did a train trip along the Virginia and Truckee Railroad in Virginia City 
  • Walked around the Nevada State Capitol in Carson City 
  • Walked around downtown Reno 


  • Visited some incredible wineries, including Stags Leap, in Napa 
  • Walked along the Sacramento River and Sundial Bridge in Redding
  • Visited Joshua Tree National Park 
  • Went wine tasting in Lodi 
  • Visited the California State Museum and State Capitol 
  • Running around Noe Valley 
  • Hiking up to Bernal Heights Park, Twin Peaks and in the East Bay 
  • Visited the Salton Sea in the Imperial Valley


  • Visited Crater Lake National Park 
  • Drove along the Oregon Coast 
  • Visited another cheese factory, the Tillamook Creamery, in Tillamook
  • Day trip to Astoria to visit the Columbia River Maritime Museum
  • Spent two weeks living in Portland’s Pearl District
  • Running / jogging all around the Pearl District 
  • Eating voodoo doughnuts in Portland 
  • Hiking around Eugene
  • Visited my dad’s college in Corvallis 
  • Walked around the University of Oregon in Eugene 
  • Experienced Oregon Wine Country, visited Stoller Family Estate 
  • Day trip along the Columbia River Valley to Mt Hood


  • Experience Washington Wine Country, went to Yakima Valley 
  • Went back to Woodinville and got drunk at DeLille Cellars
  • Rode the Washington Ferry from Edmonds to the Olympic Peninsula 
  • Hiked Hurricane Ridge, outside Port Angeles
  • Hiked in the Hoh Rainforest, outside Forks 
  • Went to Ruby Beach, my first beach on the Washington Pacific Coast!
  • Lived for two weeks outside Seattle in Lynwood, WA
  • Visited the Washington State Capitol in Olympia 
  • Walked around the downtown area in Bremerton 
  • Re-visited Pikes Place Market in Seattle 


  • Visited Taliesin West in Scottsdale
  • Hiking around Saguaro National Park outside Tucson 

New Mexico: 

  • Stopped for a fantastic scenic view of Las Cruces just off the I-10. 


  • Dipped my feet in the Rio Grande at Big Bend National Park
  • Hiked at McKinney Falls State Park on Christmas Day
  • Hiked at St Edwards Park on Christmas Eve 
  • Visited the San Antonio Missions
  • Finally went to see The Alamo 
  • Walked along the RiverWalk in San Antonio 
  • Hiked around two parks around La Canterra in San Antonio 
  • Experienced Texas Hill Country Wines at Becker Vineyards
  • Walked / hiked around Austin, including RiverPlace Nature Trail 
  • Had some delicious frozen margaritas at Lake Travis 
  • Visited Zilker Park / Barton Springs Pool in Austin 
  • Discovered the local Texas grocery chain: H-E-B. 
  • Went to the highest peak in El Paso and saw Ciudad Juárez