From Iluka to Cairns via Alice Springs
WHAT links Alice Springs with Iluka, Grafton with Cairns and Pillar Valley with Hervey Bay?
They are all places Aydan Wyse has visited as he and his “foot falcon” traverse the country, filling up his trademark yellow bags with rubbish.
When The Daily Examiner first talked to Aydan in 2018 he was just a few months in to his journey which has now spanned over two years, taking him as far north as Cairns and right into the heart of the country.
He said seeing the positive affect his mission has on people had been great and there was a really simple way people could help him.
“It’s the little things you don’t even realise helps – like someone waving and saying thanks, the appreciation keeps my spirits up and keeps me going,” he said.
With an infectious enthusiasm, Mr Wyse recounted a series of incredible events which have helped shape him in the years since he began picking up rubbish on the side of Iluka Rd.
Relying on just the generosity of strangers, Mr Wyse has been handed countless meals, a car, festival tickets, a helicopter ride and has even jumped out of a plane.
One of the those experiences led him to head out on a whale watching boat, and spending 45 minutes swimming with humpback whales in the middle of the ocean.
It was something he could never have imagined when he hit the road after a series of domestic issues had left him on the verge of depression.
His Facebook Page – One Man’s Effort to Clean the Clarence – is awash with photos of him around the country, almost always with a yellow bag and a peace sign.
The sign conveys a special meaning for Mr Wyse as it represents not only a sign of peace but his two sons who played a significant role in his choosing to embark on the journey after that troubled time left him at a crossroads.
“I was at the end of my rope but I didn’t want to go down the same road as every other bloke and just hit the piss and the drugs and blame everyone for my problems,” he said.
“The boys are always there with me – that’s why that sign is in every photo.
“That’s the legacy.”
As he returns from a trip to Grafton Shoppingworld with yet another handful of bin bags donated by Coles and Woolworths, Mr Wyse says he is now looking for sponsorship to help him on his journey.
He would also be willing to go anywhere.
“I ask people if they want to pick up a bag of rubbish then take a photo of it and put it on my Facebook page I’ll fly or walk to wherever they live, in any part of the world and pick up the rest of the rubbish for them for free,” he said.
“If they don’t want to pick up any rubbish then all they have to do is not throw anymore rubbish away from today and I’ll pick up the rest of the rubbish that’s out there from now on.
It means I’ll only have to pick it up once.”