This is my first column for 2020, after a fantastic holiday to recharge and prepare for the challenges of the next 12 months, and I hope everyone's break was equally beneficial and enjoyable.
Events of the past six weeks or so have focused the world's attention onto the catastrophic fires that have scorched such large areas of the eastern states, and of course, Kangaroo Island.
The severity and scale of these blazes have shocked us all, and come on the back of the horrific Black Saturday fires of 2009 which still seem like only yesterday.
These might not be the biggest fires to have scorched so much of our beautiful country, but the ability for media, and the community at large, to access what has gone on is unprecedented.
Hence, we have all seen so many more images, so much more video, read so many more stories and heard so many accounts of the devastation that is still unfolding.
Disasters such as these fires don't need to be compared to others that have gone before them, and the debate about whether one event is any worse than another serves little purpose.
What is far more important though, is to unpack what has led to the fires starting in the first place, the conditions that have allowed them to spread so dramatically, and what, if anything could have been done to help prevent of slow their spread.
We are incredibly fortunate to live in a country that offers so much beauty and grandeur, from its highest mountain peaks to the stunning beaches that encircle our coastline.
From our rivers and lakes, to the broad open plains that offer the riches and opportunities of some of the world's best farming opportunities, Australia has long been a place the world looks to in admiration and awe of.
That hard earned reputation has taken a beating this past few months as the nation grapples with the sheer scale and enormity of the fires.
The tragic loss of life and the destruction of so much flora and fauna will leave their own scars on our national psyche, but the global response to our country's fight against the fires has been extraordinary.
The millions of dollars pledged by people from across the globe to help fire-affected communities recover and rebuild has been incredibly generous and welcome.
I was at the opening day of the Australian Open during my break, and the fires' impact was never far from the thoughts of players and the huge crowd alike.
Players all spoke of what they had seen and read, and many pledged their own personal support to help Australia recover.
Their gestures reflect the love these athletes share for our country and the special place it holds on their hearts too.
I was in the Adelaide Hills later that same week, and was lucky enough to ride through beautiful countryside where only weeks earlier, the massive Cuddly Creek blaze had torn through.
An acrid stench hung heavy in the air as our group of six riders pedalled its way past scores of houses that had miraculously escaped the fires intact.
Their survival is a stoic display of the determination of the men and women who tackled the fires head on.
I'll never forget some of those scenes, nor the countless thank you notes scribbled on signs by eternally grateful property owners who likely thought they had lost everything.
Instead, they have a newfound respect for the work of firies, just as we do here closer to home.
We stayed down by the water in Glenelg, a place I've grown very fond of in the past few years.
It seems like half the Bendigo cycling community takes up camp somewhere in Adelaide each January, and this year was no exception.
Glenelg itself is a beautiful part of the City of Churches, with a great waterfront and vibrant town centre that's been built around the tram line and open space.
The Friday night street party always prompts comparisons to what our own city would be capable of should we ever get the chance to do so at such a fabulous and festive time of the year.
Finally, as this week's current hot weather chooses to remind us, summer is still well and truly upon us, and our own precious part of the world remains worryingly dry and parched.
In the meantime, we should be grateful for the work our paid and volunteer firefighters continue to do, accompanied by an international force that's gone a long way to reminding us we all have plenty of friends in a world that in times like these can seem a lot smaller than it really is.
All the best for 2020. I hope it serves us all well.