There's a special place on my parents' northern New South Wales farm where I always like to stand and take in the spectacular views and be reminded of where I grew up.
Perched high on an otherwise unassuming hill, it's possible to see the ancient Warrumbungles to the south west, the beautiful Mount Borah to the east near Manilla that is so popular with the hang gliding community, and the distant ranges towards Barraba and Narrabri.
The mighty Keepit Dam sits beneath the horizon and not far away, its shimmering waters a welcome reprieve from last time I was home and the dam was at a pitiful less than one per cent of its capacity.
Dust rises from the plains beneath me as any number of tractors feverishly work the rich paddocks around our district, fresh from heavy rains that have helped turn the region into a lush panorama of green growth like I've never seen.
I've just returned to work from a three week break, and being able to travel interstate for the first time in what seems like forever was just what the doctor ordered, and just what my family wanted to do.
After a few false starts when it comes to travel over the past 12 months, being able to board a plane and journey interstate was just the tonic we needed.
The occasion - if we needed one, was my parents 60th wedding anniversary, and while the celebration was a small gathering of family and a few lifelong friends, there are no words to describe how good it was to be together.
If the events of the past 12 or so months have taught us anything, it should be that the things that matter most in our lives are most likely that which we already have - those people who are already in our lives, and not the material possessions we too often pine for.
Since then, I have enjoyed seeing posts on social media from other friends who have also just shared a special 60th wedding anniversary in their families.
Geoffo and Andrew - you know who I'm talking about.
Google reckons about one in 20 marriages get to raise a glass for their 60th anniversary, but to each of us, our parents are one in a million.
There's a wonderful simplicity and transparency among those of my parents' generation that has held a lot of older Australians in such good stead.
The commitment to one another, respect for others, the hard work ethic, the loyalty to friends and the sacrifices made for one another and for family.
If we had more of this in our world, we would all be in a far better place.
If the greatest legacy the generation before mine leaves us is their example, then we are in good hands.
Earlier in my holidays, I was lucky enough to be part of a charity bike ride from Albury to Melbourne, passing through Shepparton, Bendigo, Ballarat and Queenscliff along the way.
Bay's Ride was set up by Bendigo's Roger Fuller and his family in honour of their son Bailey, who sadly passed away some years ago.
Bailey was on a long list of people waiting for Make A Wish Australia to help make a dream come true.
While Bailey never got the chance to have his wish fulfilled, Roger's mission has been to help Make A Wish raise more funds so that more seriously ill children and their families can benefit more quickly from the remarkable work this organisation does.
It was an honour to be part of such a fantastic cause - and an organisation that receives no government funding.
The group of riders came from near and far - from Swan Hill, Horsham, Melbourne, Geelong, Canberra, Orange and of course Bendigo.
Blessed with a varying degree of cycling ability, fitness and bike etiquette, we quickly made the adjustments we all needed to, and many in the group achieved some remarkable personal goals along the way.
New friendships were formed, united by the commitment to Bay's Wish.
We rode close to 750 kilometres across the state before we trundled into Albert Park at lunchtime on a Saturday afternoon, where many of us had family and friends waiting to greet us.
Our goal had been to raise $100,000, and we did - just.
There was a flurry of activity on the group's WhatsApp page that particular evening as we closed in on the magic mark and the tally rose.
It was on what would have been Bailey's 18th birthday that we crossed that six-figure threshold, and those of us who were part of Bay's Ride know how much that meant to the Fuller family.
And to us.
Our heartfelt thanks to all who supported us on the journey, and we hope we can do it all again next year.
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