Sue Woodworth sits in her gypsy vardo. Woodworth, a medium and energy healer, got the idea to build a genuine gypsy caravan in a way to travel with her work to community events.
©MILLICENT MCKAY/JOURNAL PIONEER
SUMMERSIDE, PE.I. - When Sue Woodworth was 13, she ran away to the circus.
The lights, sounds, laughter and smells were exactly what she was looking for.
However, the day spent in the dunk tank was enough for her to realize that kind of lifestyle wasn't for her.
Now, decades later, she still says she has the gypsy soul that she felt that day.
"In my past life I must have been a gypsy. It would explain so much about the way I am," said Woodworth, a healer and light worker of 25 years.
Ten years ago, she left her job as a commercial designer to focus more on spiritualism and what she calls her "gifts".
"Even at a young age I was able to connect with spirits. I am a medium. In more recent years those feelings have become stronger and stronger. It seems to be the thing I enjoy most because it makes people so hopeful."
Woodworth works as a Reiki master. Reiki energy healing is a technique for stress reduction and relaxation. She also reads tea leaves and palms.
But even with these skills and past job experience, Woodworth wanted more.
"Six months ago I thought about travelling with my work by making a gypsy vardo out of a vintage camper."
A traditional vardo, or living wagon, was a horse-drawn caravan used by gypsies as their home. They had a chimney and a wood stove. They were highly decorated, intricately designed and painted with bright colours. Some were even gilded. Vardos were commonly used by the Romani gypsies, who were mainly nomadic.
"There are two main kinds of gypsies, Romani and Roma," said Woodworth.
"The Romani were the travellers. They kind of have a bad reputation sometimes, seen as the cheats and tricksters, where the Roma settled in areas and became merchants and tradesman."
So Woodworth put an ad on Kijiji for a vintage camper. Finally she found one on the Island.
It wasn't the exact vision, but it worked well, she said.
"There's quite a bit still to do. It's a 13-foot camper, so it won't take up a lot of space, which is really great since I want to be able to pull it along with my Jeep."
So far the outside of the camper has been painted red and the inside repaired. Sparkly scarves fill a curtain rod. Some walls are painted in a soft green while others in a bright turquoise. Trinkets, moons and other symbols hand from hooks and are set up on the counter.
It's a cozy feel, and the lacy doilies and place mats add to the ambiance.
"What will really make the trailer will be the décor work my friend, Carrie-Anne, will do. It will be her first not living canvas, which is cool.
"I've also got sets of incredible pillows coming. I was able to find vintage gypsy velvet, which is what they will be made out of. It's all very exciting."
Woodworth is planning to take her vardo to community events and to groups where people can sign up for a card reading or mediumship session. There will also be photo opportunities where kids and other can dress up in traditional gypsy garb.
"It will be a great opportunity for people and children to get a look at what I do, but also get an idea of gypsy imagery."