DAD Sydney Drive.  A blog post by Zak Adkins.

*This has somewhat been adapted from my speech I said on the day*

Sometimes life gets too much and you’re forced to reevaluate things. I had to do this in the days prior to the second-ever Sydney drive day. 

I didn’t think I was mentally up to it. 

But ironically, I didn’t realise at the time that actually going and being part of the wonderful Drive Against Depression family would be healing for me, rather than the opposite. 

But before I could even think to blink, the Sunday DAD drive day arrived, with the rain falling from the heavens. I had woken up to the pleasant sound of rain drops falling on my balcony… and then realised rain and car meets don’t go together too nicely. 

Despite the rain, I made my way down to the Appin start point from my home in Alexandria. It was so good to be reunited with the great David James and his awesome friends. Within only a few minutes, a convoy of cars began to arrive. All sorts of cars made the event, from Hyundai i20 Ns to Audi R8 V10 supercars – it was as diverse of a field as it could get. 

Leading the important drive briefing was the great man himself, David (DJ), who thanked everyone for becoming part of what would turn out to be, in typical DAD style, a cracking event for all.

I got up and said a few words, which I can summarise quickly as the following: people don’t know you’re struggling unless you speak up, everyone has tough/bad days, life isn’t all fast cars and fun times, speaking out makes all the difference, and most importantly, tough times will pass – that’s 100 percent guaranteed. 

The first Sydney Drive back in 2023 was good, but boy did we have a fantastic drive ahead of us this time round. We took the back roads through some gorgeous scenery, rolling hills and quaint townships. We stopped for coffee in Thirlmere, not far from the railway museum, and talked amongst ourselves about all types of things.

Back in the cars we went, and followed our way towards Mittagong, and then on to Berrima. 

The drive itself concluded at the Surveyor General Inn, but the conversations didn’t. We grabbed food, filled out bellies and chatted on and on. It was wholesome. I felt incredibly warm, even on a dreary and rain-filled day. 

DAD isn’t just about how much car knowledge you have, or the car you brought along for the day. 

It’s much more about the brilliant conversations, the open talking and the sense of inclusion, and, surprisingly, the same values shown by family.

When Sarah and DJ from DAD brought me onboard, it would be a changing point in my life.

And each and every time I get involved in a drive, the passion all comes back, but even stronger. 

During the drive, DJ jumped in the Volkswagen T-Roc R with me and joined me in what would have otherwise been a pretty lonely drive. 

We chatted, and he checked in with me and asked me how I was really doing. It was as if he could see through me to the pain I had been suffering mentally in recent times. 

It was magic.

That’s what DAD is all about.

I can’t wait to see what is next as we continue to drive ever so hard against depression.

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