Farewell 2017: A Year of A Vision Trip

December 31, 2017 • Personal

As we say farewell to 2017, soon I’ll also be saying farewell to Ethetica.net when it expires in January. If you haven’t yet, please change your link to livperspective.me for my rebrand, due to launch in 2018!


rare photo of Olivia in San Francisco

This year, I graduated with my Master of Science in design from NYU. I moved across the country to San Francisco, California, an entire world I’ve never been in before. I got my first driver’s license – Californian.  I decided to keep my hair blonde rather than keep dyeing it red or purple. I met hundreds of people through networking, volunteering, and made many great friends. Being in a new environment expanded how I saw life and challenged me to face my deepest struggles without anyone to run to.


My family’s been stationed in the East Coast my whole life. Besides visiting our relatives in Northern China and going west only once as far as Las Vegas, our trips were weekend drives to nearby cities, or to Florida. 2017 was the year I was going to change our ritual, so I started off the new year jetlagged on a couch in Hong Kong. 

collage of places I traveled to

I traveled 5 times this year to dozens of locations and took my first solo-trip to Singapore, a country I’ve dreamed of visiting for years.

  1. In January, I visited Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, and Malaysia. Then I went to see my grandparents in Beijing for Chinese New Year.
  2. In April, I flew to Chicago and attended my first wedding!
  3. In July, I finally made it down to the Los Angeles area but it’s so big I only saw the beaches and Koreatown.
  4. In October, my mom visited me and we drove from San Diego all the way home and hit many Central California towns (Santa Barbara, Solvang, Carmel).
  5. Just last week, my parents both came to San Francisco and we drove to Yosemite National Park and Point Reyes National Seashore.

In 2018, I want to go to at least Seattle and Vancouver. If timing allows, I’d love to travel to Portugal and Switzerland. I’ve never been to Europe!


I didn’t spend much time trying to complete games this year, but I played my fair share of mobile games. My favorite is Love You to Bits, due to its simple, but adorable game mechanic and story. The illustrated worlds where the game takes place are all so creative and innovative.

Love You to Bits

When Breath of the Wild was released I was in the process of moving, but three months later I brought my Wii U to California and immediately bought the game. I can’t rank it as the best Zelda title in terms of storyline and dungeons because it’s incredible in a whole different way.

Breath of the Wild

The characters are so much more interesting and developed on a new level, including Link himself. You can dress him in many cute outfits that give you bonuses or just protect you from the cold/heat. The game world itself is so interactive in terms of climates and flora and fauna that you feel truly engaged as you’re navigating through it. This game kept me entertained all the times in the summer I was bedridden.

In 2018 I want to focus on playing more games that inspire my design, which I’ll blog about under AgithaHime Diaries.


Speaking of bedridden, health-wise this year has been very tough for me. I had my first ankle sprain and limped in a brace for most of July. By September I made myself hike to recuperate, but my ankle was still too stiff for running or exercise. Only recently was I able to rotate it without pain.

The more serious issue is my chronic cough that started after I got sick at graduation. I got better after a week, but my cough did not. I spend most of June in bed coughing. I had to take my driver’s test wearing a mask and an ankle brace! When San Francisco got warm weather in autumn my cough improved, only to relapse again in November.

In 2018 I just want my cough to go away so I can work out my ankle and finally wear shoes that match my outfit.


My emotional and spiritual health however, have improved greatly. Being far away meant I needed to be less dependent on my friends for comfort and also make new ones without bringing my struggles towards them. I had a lot less anxiety and fear of performance, and if they did hit me, I had more room to be alone to work it out. This autumn season I also got better at keeping in touch long distance with New York and spending more time with the same group of people in San Francisco.

In 2018 I want to continue building good relationships in all aspects of life.


When I said I’m moving to San Francisco, everybody told me I’d get a job in no time because of how much experience I have making websites. Only, web design is not really a thing here, but a small part of much more extensive roles. Sure, there are still web design and development jobs that matched my previous experience, but I made the tough choices of turning several of them down. I’ll be writing about why in my rebrand.

After I was able to get up from bed this summer, I joined The Expat Woman as a photographer. There was something I needed to learn from the hundreds of women that showed up every week at their events. I spent about 3 months photoshooting for them and participated in my first hackathon.

photography for The Expat Woman

My goal was to get a paid role before the end of the year, but I think I got something even better. Last month I started as the 2018 Design Lead for ChickTech Bay Area. ChickTech creates engineering workshops for high school girls and mentorship for women transitioning to tech. My job is to design all the materials for these programs. I’m using this as an opportunity to design a visual language for a brand that empowers females by taking back femininity to own it. My first assignment was our High School Kickoff event we had earlier this month – and I followed our brand personality with these modern femininity x technology assets.

designs for ChickTech

Last but not least, I learned how I can add impact to my thesis. For those who are unfamiliar, my graduate thesis is a twee-looking game that explores the unseen conflicts of social class and human trafficking. I wrote the story myself and illustrated the concept art. I came back to New York in the summer to attend the Games for Change conference, and have been studying the intersection of design and gamification that companies like Google are known for. Here’s a new prototype of my game, but it’s nowhere near final.

prototype for my thesis, Florian

In 2018, I hope to learn new technologies to bring my game to life, dedicate more time to the girls we serve at ChickTech so I can also design better for them, and of course get a paid job.

Visual Photography

If there’s anything besides driving that’s 100% Californian-bred for me, it’s the new visual style I have developed for photography. I started by documenting my travels at the beginning of the year and continued doing so in California like I was still traveling. Over time, I grew my eyes to create photos in a way that mirrors my design style, and it was probably what finally landed me the work I wanted to do.

Just by looking at my top 9 on Instagram, all but 2 of the photos are from the last three months.

my Instagram top 9

A lot of people have asked me why I don’t become a photographer. I see photographers in a different discipline – they are way more professional than I am and capture moments, which involves models, techniques (e.g. long exposure), and a lot of things that I’m not very good at. I like to say I paint my photos – I have amateur equipment (e.g. my iPhone 6S+) and take photos of mundane things then add colors like it’s a canvas. Check out my favorite photo of the year, which narrowly missed top 9. Real life doesn’t look that much like cotton candy. I just love capturing San Francisco this way.

We don’t have autumn foliage here but we have Indian summer skies. 😎 #sunset #evening #sundown #sky #colors #pink #blue #colorful #minimal #gradient #pastel #moon #houses #cute #goldenhour #sanfrancisco #sf #bayarea #california #candyminimal

A post shared by Olivia Hu (@livperspective) on

In 2018, I want to make Instagram part of my personal brand which means putting an effort to gain more followers. I’m not looking to be an influencer but I’d like a few thousand people interested in my work.

Happy 2018!

Thank you for reading if you made it all the way down here! Writing this post has helped me really self-reflect on my hardships and accomplishments this year and my vision for next year. This is the last post on this blog before the rebrand, and I’m really looking forward to bringing more organized and more dedicated content in the new year. I’d love for you all to be part of my work, so stay tuned on how you can! For now, happy 2018!

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Write a Comment

11 Comments to "Farewell 2017: A Year of A Vision Trip"

Tara wrote on 31st December 2017 at 6:19 PM

You’ve accomplished a lot this year! From graduating to moving across the country to getting a driver’s license to all the travelling you did . . . that’s a lot in a year, and it’s amazing how much can change in that amount of time! Hope you will meet your travel goals in 2018 :3

Good to see you did some gaming! Breath of the Wild isn’t a game I’m familiar with (I’m not a Zelda fan ^^;), but that sounds pretty neat how the game actually lets you interact with the environment!

I hope your health will be a lot nicer to you in the new year. Getting sick and injured is really a downer! It did sound pretty rough in 2017. Hope your professional goals will be met in the new year. Your photography has been phenomenal, by the way.

You have a fantstic 2018 ^^


Jane wrote on 31st December 2017 at 11:44 PM

Ahh, the end of an era. 😭 😅 It seems a lot of people are changing things up (well, okay, maybe two, but it doesn’t feel that long ago that I was rebranding to Janepedia. 😳

Wait, did you drive to FL from NY?? That’s a long trip, wow!

I hadn’t realized you went to so many places this year!

Love You to Bits is definitely beautifully illustrated, but my phone is pressed for storage space. 😍😔 I love when the visuals of games are creative like that—it brings it to life, for me. 😀 LYTB sorta reminds me of Where’s My Water?, which I first played on a tablet in the ER some years ago when I had to go and my dad decided to accompany my visit. 😊

Ellie looks so cute. 💖

I do so look forward to what you have in store for your blog. 🙂


Brandy wrote on 1st January 2018 at 5:54 PM

2017 seemed like a great year for you, despite a few challenges (with your health). I had a few of those woes myself.

I’ve always been on the East Coast my whole life. Have always wondered what it would be like to move, but I couldn’t imagine not living in Delaware. Sure, it’s not believably exciting here, but I’ve learned to enjoy the simple things. We’re a short drive from Philly, Baltimore, New York, the beaches, and we also have tax free shopping – can’t beat that. 🙂

Cheers to an awesome 2018! Happy New year!


Kassy wrote on 1st January 2018 at 6:48 PM

Happy New Year! 😀

It’s so wonderful that you were able to do so much travel and exploration! Hopefully you will be able to continue to do this in 2018! Europe would be a brilliant place to visit! 😀

Love You to Bits looks like such a great game. I can see that it’s coming to Mac this year. I will be interested to play it. 😀

Eh. That cough would be awful. It needs to go!

What a great experience working for ChickTech! 😀 The designs look so great for the concept!

The prototype is looking really good! I am looking forward to reading more about this. 😀

The photographs are looking fantastic. I am very excited to see more of the shots you take, especially because it is part of your brand. 😀

Have a great 2018!


Cat wrote on 1st January 2018 at 7:39 PM

You had some really major things happen last year! Congrats again on getting your Masters and on your move to California! That’s such a big change!

I also think that’s great that you traveled to a variety of places. I would love to take a trip like you did to multiple Asian countries. Going back to Hong Kong is high on my list, and I think it’s amazing that you went to Singapore on your own. I’ve traveled on my own before within the US but never internationally!

Aahh, I really loved Breath of the Wild too. I’m really liking how Nintendo is more open to breaking out of their usual formulas. It’s produced some interesting things lately!

That’s rough about your health though, and I’m sorry to hear that you’re still dealing with your chronic cough. It’s been a long time already! I hope it goes away soon! I am glad to hear that your emotional and spiritual health has improved though. That’s a good positive at least!

Ooh, ChickTech sounds awesome, and that’s great that you’re their design lead. I hope this helps out with your goal of getting a paid job! I’m also glad that you’ve developed your photography style to match your design style. When I reached a point where I felt like I found the style I liked for my own photography, it felt really good! (Of course, I’m still changing it, but at least I know what I’m aiming for now.) Good luck on growing your Instagram!

Happy New Year! I hope 2018 will be a good year for you!


Sheena Sy Gonzales wrote on 1st January 2018 at 11:37 PM

It’s definitely been a great year for you! Looking forward to more of your stories this year.

Sheena | http://sheenalovessunsets.com


Michelle wrote on 4th January 2018 at 10:33 AM

Breath of the Wild IS AMAZING! Have you gotten the DLC, yet? Or the Amiibos? OMG. I am glad that you have had a great and productive year. 😀


Hiro wrote on 7th January 2018 at 12:15 PM

Oh my goodness. I didn’t know you finally got a job!! Congratulations!!!! It sounds like an awesome cause and an awesome job. I’m always sooo blown away and jealous of your photos. They are always go lovely and well curated, and have definitely made me take a look at my Instagram and reconsider how I post photos and to find “the best” of an experience rather than putting up half a dozen random ones.

So glad we got to meet up in person last year, and maybe we’ll see each other again at some point this year 🙂


Megan wrote on 7th January 2018 at 1:06 PM

Its been quite a year for you! I hope that awful cough goes away soon and your ankle gets better! Have a great year!


Pauline wrote on 9th January 2018 at 2:04 PM

I love hyping my friends up so I need to do it with you: OMG LIV YOU LOOK SO GOD DAMN STUNNING IN THAT PHOTO SERIOUSLY I AM SHOOK RIGHT NOW. ANGEL. GODESS. WOW. Okay, I’m done. But seriously, that shot is incredible and I don’tknow if I ever mentioned this but blonde LOOKS SO GOOD on you!

Well done for everything you’ve accomplished this year on graduating, solo-travelling (something I don’t know if I could ever do, but hey, pushing boundaries, right?), and creating better relationships for yourself.

I’m sorry to hear about your health in 2017 but I wish you all the very best this year and I hope your cough slowly heals. Sending you all the best thoughts and wishes!

I AM SO PROUD OF YOU FOR GETTING THAT JOB! AHHHHH! Well done girl, it seems like you’re enjoying it and learning a lot! That photography gig is incredible too – you really do learn a lot and open so many opportunities from event photography like that! I have a friend who does event photography for hackathons and he managed to travel around Europe for hackathons to take photographs! It’s really incredible 😀

GIRL YOUR INSTAGRAM FEED IS GOALS. I always go onto it and just feel instantly happier with the colour scheme and your shots! Instagram is hard to grow but with commitment, following the right people, timing things right you can really make an impact! Always happy to help if you ever need any advice on that – I did a lot of it in 2017!

Have an amazing 2018 Liv! KILL IT!!


Sue wrote on 10th January 2018 at 10:41 AM

So thankful I got to be part of your 2017. Every time I come to your blog, I see you’ve grown again. 2017 definitely did not stand still for you. So much has happened in that one year. Loving the re-branding, and as always, I love your photos! Hope we can meet again in 2018. ^_^


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