3 Favourite Items of 2020

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2020 has been a really weird year for damn near everyone. We’ve all be forced to more or less rethink many of the ways we live our lives.

With that in mind, here are three items which are my favourites from 2020. Beyond being good items, they each also indicate a major change in how I approach my day to day life.

Item #1: Orange Five

I’m going to start with something I changed right at the start of lockdown. My Orange Five Mountain bike. The Five was a good deal, but with my riding limited by lockdown rules it turned into an outstanding deal.

The five is a pretty unusual bike. It’s not really the best bike for anything much. It’s not all that light or efficient, so wouldn’t be of much use in a race, and it gets overwhelmed pretty quickly on proper technical trails. However, while it’s the best at nothing, it’s pretty competent at everything.

Buying the Orange Five frame and then building it up into a trail / XC bike enabled me to comfortably (and safely) ride the local trails near my home. In all I’ve ridden well over 1000km on the five in the last year, and I suspect I will ride at least as much again before the summer starts.

The five is my number 1 favourite purchase of 2020. It’s enabled so much, right from the doorstep of my home. It’s been the reason to have an adventure, it got me out of the house and connected with the world.

Item #2: Truck (Mazda BT-50)

Talking of adventure, my second favourite item from 2020 was buying my first Truck. It’s been a great enabler and has helped turn occasional bike rides into weekly bike adventures.

I can find enjoyable trails near home, but being able to drive just a dozen miles more than quadruples the options. It also means we can safely get to the trails and reduces the risk of being hit by a car.

The truck is kinda old, kinda battered and generally pretty worn. However, it’s fine for what we do. It’s proven out the idea that having a vehicle of my own is a good idea and a pickup fits the role perfectly. Beyond the bike adventures it’s seeing weekly use with more mundane things like going to the shops or the Drs.

The only place where the Mazda BT-50 is limited is the safety. Being an older truck, it’s a long way off the modern safety standards. I won’t be surprised if we replace it with something safer in 2021.

The truck represents a big change in my life. The Orange Five gave me a great tool, and the truck gives us accessibility.

Item #3: Studio Desk / Sofa

The biggest change to my life has been where and how I work. Up until 2020 I did the majority of my work at the local mother care cafe. Often spending 4-6 hours there each day. It was a fantastic environment for me. It was safe, quiet and allowed me to focus on my work.

Sadly, mother care closed in early 2020, and then the cafe in town became inaccessible to me a few months later.

The transition to working at home rather than from home has been a very painful one. It took a really long time for me to redesign my environment so that I could be productive working from my bedroom.

In the end I redesigned my bedroom entirely. Converting it into a bedroom studio, by dedicating most of the space to a large desk and a small sofa. The desk (a basic Ikea Malm model) is my third favourite item from 2020. It’s got enough space for my work tasks, Mac etc, but it’s also where I have been building lego models and writing.

The desk represents a massive transition and change in how I use my home so it easily makes it to my list. When combined with changes to my support and routines, it’s the foundation of my ability to be productive and to get things done.

Final thoughts.

As I said upfront, 2020 has been a bizarre year. It has forced a great deal of changes into my life. The items in this list are all part of how we have overcome the pandemic and turned 2020 into a good year.

Due to the orange five, I am leaving 2020 the fittest I’ve been in decades. Due to the truck I have more autonomy and adventure than ever before, and due to the desk I have remained employed and somewhat stable.

All in all, that’s pretty good for such a difficult year. I am going into 2021 optimistic that we have a foundation which works and is ready to be built upon.


Spaced Out & Smiling is about exploring the fun side of Autism, and trying to understand what it means to be Autistically Happy.

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