At the end or the start of the year, it’s a great time to look back and see how things have been going in the past year.

If you were to browse through this website, you would see that I wrote an article “2022 in Review“ to do this sort of reflection session. In the article, I reflected a lot on the year, and I also set goals for this year, 2023. I’m glad at the beginning of the year, I decided to write that article so that, I, right now, have something to refer to, and I can tell if I have been on the course or not.

I couldn’t do this now if I hadn’t written that article. If you feel like you have the need to pause for some moments or if you ever feel like you’re stuck… I encourage you do some kind of reflection and write it down.

You don’t have to share with the world. You can keep it in your journal, physical or digital, doesn’t matter. You don’t even have to review it one year later if you don’t want to. Just by writing how this year has been for you, there’s some value in it.

What my goals were

When I was writing that article, I categorized my goals into 2 categories: writing and learning.


Let’s start with the writing part.

I certainly hasn’t been the most prolific writer. After I set this goal for myself, I didn’t publish a article until December, can you believe that? It was almost at the end of the year I came up with a system.

But how the system works doesn’t really matter, what matters is that it works, and that results in me putting out more content.

Aside from writing articles, I also wrote that I wanted to learn more about a note-taking system called Zettelkasten, which in English translates to “The Slip Box” method.

I needed it because the system was designed to help you with your thinking process, which is helpful for someone who is almost always overthinking about everything.

I did so much research about how it works, how it can work for me, what the principles are, why it works… I put so much time into understanding the system and doing all these trial and errors with different tools.

For now, I think the perfect tool for this is a tool called Heptabase. It’s basically your knowledge base. It’s a visual representation of your thoughts. It’s a tool that helps you connect your ideas together, even when they are in total different fields.

It’s not cheap. It’s like 12 dollars a month if you’re on a monthly plan and 9 dollars if paying annual.

But it has been working pretty well for me. It has great cross-platform synchronization. It has friendly user interface. It’s easier to use than Notion… than Obsidian… than Zettlr. Trust me, I’ve tried almost everything, open source and non open source tools.

Heptabase is the best note-taking tool on the market for a non-technical user like me.


In the learning sections, I mentioned that my goals of the year were to learn more about graphic design, photo editing, and German.

I’m confident to say that I can now do better design than last year. I did a white paper design project for the startup. I did some simple logo design works for side projects. I learnt to apply my design on mockups.

I’m comfortable with where I am now with graphic design.

For photo editing, I don’t think I have much progress here. I think I’ve learnt more about photography than photo editing. Fundamentally, taking great photos still matters the most. Post-processing work matters when we’re working with great photos.

I bought a second hand Sony camera from one of my best friends. I’m still learning a lot every time I go out and shoot. I’m glad that I’m learning a lot cause it shows how much I’m lacking in delivering visually pleasing images.

That’s important to me as I’m putting out more video works.

In terms of German… wow… in the article I was saying that I was about to study for a master’s in Austria. I haven’t started the study yet and I don’t know if I’ll start one to be honest.

I did took a course at a private language school in Vienna. It was a one-month course. I didn’t continue learning German after that. My goal was to reach B1 level. I’m pretty sure I’m at a level between A2 and B1. I’ve learnt all the grammar rules of the language. I only need to build up vocabulary when I resume to learn the language to be on B1 level.

This, however, is not my priority right now.

How this year has been

Just like the last year, there were ups and downs this year. I’m going to look back the way I did last time. I’ll reflect on my 2023 in 4 parts. Those are work, projects, happiness, and skills.


It started strong this year. The startup company I worked for got their seed round investment. I got a raise. And you know, when everything seems to be doing fine, that’s the moment something has to go wrong.

When a company gets investment, it is saying that more people own the company. It also means that more people, we call them stakeholders, are involved in your company operation on a higher level.

Basically, they spend money on you, and you have to listen to them in return.

I am rebellious in this way. I hate short-term ROI. I hate that you don’t look at the bigger picture and only see the short-term benefits in front of you.

That’s a betrayal to my soul.

I worked soullessly for a few months. I burnt out. I didn’t really care anymore. The moment I arrived in Austria, I got laid off.

I will certainly make this a video. I think it makes a great story.

It’s not just about me getting laid off by a company I worked for almost 4 years.

It’s about vulnerability. It’s about irony. It’s madness and desperation. On the bright side, there’s also hope. There’s a change in mindset. There’s some positivity.

I looked for a job in Austria. I did some interviews but got rejected — some interesting stories too.

I understand, though. If I were the employer, I wouldn’t hire someone who doesn’t speak your language fluently and who’s not on a permanent working VISA.

Thank god I have some savings.

I decided that it’s ok for me to not get a job this year, that I’m going to work on things I’m passionate about. I’m going to do work that is truthful to me.


Side projects have been that kind of work.

My personal website is the central hub for everything I create. The website is up and running now because of the fact that I worked on side projects in 2022.

This year I spent less time and focus on myself, and try to serve other people.


SohoCafé was the first side project of the year. The idea came up to my mind during Chinese New Year. The project went live very soon after.

We published 24 review articles on the website so the local Taiwanese can tell if a café is great for them to go study or do their work there.

The problem with this project was the lack of monetization. I spent money on hiring writers without having a way to make money. Although the website is still live now and has 4K visitors every month, I’ve put the project on pause.


Towards the middle of the year, I was preparing for the VISA that allows me to stay in Austria for a year.

In that process, I saw the lacking of synthesized information in Chinese content to help people with the process of going abroad.

I thought, “what if I built a website as a synthesized information database for all the countries in the world?” That’s where I began. I built a tiny database for Austria.

Soon I realized 3 problems with this:

  1. This is going to take too long to complete if I’m the only one doing this.
  2. There’s no money in this either and that’s probably no one is doing this.
  3. Not many Taiwanese are willing to step out of their comfort zone to explore the world, with traveling being an exception.

With these problems identified, I continued to develop the initial idea into a more thorough version.

At the end of the year, I’m about to solve all 3 problems. The system for scaling is ready; the affiliate programs will be the main income source at this phase; producing content on traveling abroad would be the main way to inspire our audience.

Be inspired 📩

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    I have mixed feelings writing about happiness in the most festive time of the year, while recovering from the darkest time of my life just not long ago.

    The irony won’t stop me from sharing happiness with you, though.

    I spent most of my 2023 in Asia. I rented a place in my hometown, Taichung, Taiwan, and had a pretty chill time living at that place. After summer I would relocate to Vienna, Austria, starting a new life here.

    Trips to Japan and Korea

    The time I spent in Asia made it easy for me to have two separate trips to Japan and South Korea. I enjoyed both trips a lot with my friend.

    I’ve been to both countries before, same cities actually, Tokyo and Seoul, capital cities. But it can still be really different when traveling with family.

    Especially when you have a local guide, it’s another level of experience.

    Realizing a childhood dream

    When I was little, I’ve always wanted to live a life abroad. I would share this vision with my friends and tell them I would invite them over. The story changed a bit in the way that I would have invited my parents over first, as traveling around Europe is their favorite thing to do.

    This dream came to life 1 month after I moved to Vienna. My parents and two of their friends visited me in Vienna for one month.

    We traveled together to Budapest, Prague, Bratislava, Salzburg, and Hallstatt, which was all amazing and very memorable.

    My heart felt empty when they left for Taiwan, which in part led to the depression later.

    Finding my life task

    At that time, I have sort of achieved everything I’ve ever wanted. I’m living in my favorite city in the world. I’ve decided not to worry about money within the year. I have some close friends. I’ve realized my childhood dreams.

    What now? Something is missing.

    A purpose is missing. A life without a purpose is not a fulfilling life.

    Robert Greene, in his book Mastery, calls this purpose as “Life’s Task.”

    To find that “Life’s Task,“ you have to go back in time. Go back when you were a child, when you intuitively know what you like and don’t.

    It’s not an easy thing to reconnect with that.

    My answer to that is to “overthink.“

    Yep, you hear me right. My “Life’s Task“ is to overthink.

    The only difference between back then when I was a child and now a grown-up, is that I’m sharing my thoughts with the public.

    I believe there’s value in sharing that. So I’m doing that through different ways: writing, podcasting, making videos…


    Now we’ve talked about work, projects, and happiness. Let’s talk about skills.

    I did not broaden my skills this year. Instead, this year, I was digging into skills I already possess.

    I would say all the skills fall into two major categories: visual and audio.


    Visually speaking, I learnt a lot about image making. From how to use a camera on manual settings, paying attention to horizon and perspectives in everyday lives, to the technical aspects of softwares, I grew deeper understandings.


    In terms of audio, I’m constantly learning about recording and doing voiceover. I’m training my intuitive feeling when I listen to a piece of music. I’m trying to understand the physics behind how sound works. There’s still a long way to go, and I’m not going to rush it.

    What’s coming next

    I feel anxious just by thinking about 2024. There’s so much uncertainty that I don’t know where I’ll be in the next year.

    I might be studying business in another city. I might study another subject in Vienna. I might go back to Taiwan and find a job. I might become a full-time creator. I might be running a content business. I might become a digital nomad again and travel around.

    I don’t know. Really.

    I don’t even know if I should set any quantifiable goal considering how unstable my current plan is.

    The only thing I’m clear that I need to be better at, is to live in the present.

    It may sound weird when this comes from someone who’s building everything digitally. I think I need to do digital detox more often.

    There’s too much going on in the digital world. There’s so much content competing for my attention that I forget to be aware of the fact that I’m living in an analog world.

    If digital detox means a boring life, I need to become good at being bored.

    I think I need to be in that state of “pause and become aware“ more often.

    It makes me be present.

    That’s my only new year resolution. Be present.

    What’s yours? How was your 2023?

    We can’t relive the past, but we can move on with the lessons learnt.

    We can’t predict the future, but we know it’s built upon current moments.

    I wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

    Cheers for a great year ahead.

    Be inspired 📩

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