2019 was a huge year, with its fair share of ups and downs.

In the middle of it all, I made the decision to leave my 'day job' and embark on a steep learning curve, with an eye for moving into running DAD as my full time job. It was ambitious, but it felt right.

While tremendously rewarding intrinsically, the need for a regular income during this phase - combined with a now-obvious lack of experience in the NFP sector - meant I had to create other opportunities for income. We've always insisted that any money DAD makes goes back into event development and the expansion of our Mental Wellness Network, rather than our pockets.

It meant a return to driving and writing about cars - truly, my childhood dream job. It also meant working again with some people who were more than just co-workers... they were mates.

One of my earliest jobs back in 'the game' was among the most fantastic couple of days I've ever had. With 2020 eyes on, it's now a job that appears so foreign for this Victorian resident, that it feels like a dream...

The brief was to support my good mate Scott Newman (@addictedtosliding on Instagram, if you like oversteer) to write a feature for MOTOR magazine. Also attending would be shooter (and great guy) Nathan Jacobs, MOTOR journo (and ok guy ;)) Chris Thompson and my car-partner-in-crime, Nick Raman. 

The MOTOR guys do it the old-school way, with driving the priority. Same roads in the same conditions, to give a real feel for the relative performance of the chosen combatants.

And what combatants they were. We had all-wheel drive sports cars from Porsche, Jaguar and BMW... as well as a Lexus RC F Track Edition for 'tracking' purposes.

I won't divulge where the chosen location was (it truly was too good to share, at least until we can run events again!), but it was somewhere off in deepest Victoria - far enough away that we probably cussed at the distance to get there. If only we could still have the opportunity to cuss such trivialities right now...

Needless to say, the local town was peaceful and had the requisite bakery and comfortable hotel. But those were secondary: it was the surrounding roads that nailed the location in.

They had everything: cambers, gradients, bumpy and smooth sections, fantastic scenery, hairpins, well-sighted straights: perfect for cars like these.

Better yet was the camaraderie. The long drives, the standing-around 'hurry-up-and-wait' of getting the cars shot, the returning beer were all opportunities to simply enjoy like-minded company. Everything from 'best road trip listening' to fashion and food choices was covered between the vehicle feedback sessions, where we all pretend we are engineers but are really excited little kids, laughing at the fact we were being paid for these experiences.

Then, the evening laughs, as overtired but fulfilled bodies perform impromptu impersonations of each other and our extended work families.

Looking back, it's so funny how we used to take such joys for granted. Waiting impatiently for the right 'light' to shoot the cars, Scotty wandering off as is his wont, a late-night hotel return, an early start. What I would give for these moments right now.

Moving into 2021, I want to commit to you that we will have opportunities to connect again, in person, with cars as a thought starter and the intent of deeper human connection... let's hope the world allows this.