Posted: 13.09.19 at 13:44 by Glastonbury Nub News
Traveller Simon Vaughan, who has been camped out on the side of the A39 between Glastonbury and Street, has spoken exclusively to Nub News about life on the road and what brought him to the area.
If you have driven past Clarks Village in the last few days you have probably seen Simon, his horse Eddie, his dog Odin and his ornate gypsy caravan parked up at the side of the road.
Simon, aged 51 and originally from Bristol, worked for a scaffolding company before a change in circumstance in 2000 lead him to try out life on the road.
“I’m permanently on the move. I love my art and it’s a great way to support myself while I’m travelling,” said Simon.
“The area I cover is from Cornwall to East Sussex, all the way up to Oxford.”
While Simon describes himself as a traveller he is keen to point out it is an adopted lifestyle and he is not an ethnic traveller.
Simon travels with his horse, a cob named Eddie, who he rescued from being put down.
“Eddie has been travelling with me for a while. Looking after Eddie is one of the hardest things I’ve done but also the most rewarding,” said Simon.
“He is getting better and better with each journey we do, and he gets lots of attention and people stopping to see him.
“I have also looked after my dog Odin for years, so you build a tight bond as you are with each other 24 hours a day.”
Simon has been travelling for 17 years and he supplements his lifestyle by carving sculptures from wood which he then sells to passing motorists, in nearby towns and through his Facebook page.
For his Glastonbury and Street stopover, however, he has not been able to create any sculptures as he had to move his tools along ahead of him.
In the next couple of days, Simon is moving on to the Mendip Hills, most likely Binegar, Priddy or Mells, and he plans to catch up with his sculpture orders then.
He said: “It was a sudden change in circumstance that lead me to this lifestyle, I lost the roof over my head so I had to make a change.
“It made sense to move into a van and live where I work. You don’t make as much money as you would with a regular job.”
It is clear Simon enjoys his lifestyle and his work but according to him life is not always easy on the road.
Simon said: “I love travelling, I love meeting new people and seeing new places.
“I love what I do, I’m passionate about art and really enjoy my job.
“Winters can be hard, it’s very different to the summer, it’s not the cold, it’s the rain that’s the problem. Sometimes living this life brings me into contact with people who aren’t so keen on my lifestyle.”
Through his business, Carved Curiosities, Simon sculpts all sorts of wildlife and fantasy inspired artwork from wood.
He said: “The best bit about my work is seeing the reactions from people who appreciate it and can see the hard work that has gone into each piece.
“It’s nice to know people like what you do. I can’t imagine getting a normal job now.
“My main aims going forward are to get rid of my van and buy another horse to pull the caravan.”