This blog explores the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California. This blog is not supported by advertising, it's supported by the generosity of my patrons on Patreon. Thank you!

Living in Santa Barbara, California in the 1980s


After I got my degree from ASU in 1982, I moved to Los Angeles. And after a couple of months of fruitless job-searching, a friend of mine in Phoenix recommend that I talk to a friend of his in Santa Barbara, which is about an hour north of Los Angeles. So I drove up there, was offered the job and accepted it, and went back to LA to make preparations to move.

And then I discovered how wildly expensive rentals were in Santa Barbara, even compared to Los Angeles, which were much higher than my experience in Phoenix. But I had accepted the job, and there was never any question of my commuting from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara. So I found a hotel that rented rooms by the week. It pretty much used up all of the money that the job payed, so I needed to find something cheaper.

The owner of the Hotel also had rental property. And so I moved into a tiny apartment that had been carved out of a house over in the Milpas area. And by tiny, I mean insanely tiny. It was only about twelve feet square, but it had its own bathroom, and a tiny refrigerator/oven combination. I was young, so I really didn't mind. My goal was to work hard, try to save some money, and eventually work my way back to "the big city" - Los Angeles, which I did.

Nowadays when I tell people that I lived in Santa Barbara, I know that they are seeing a difference place than what I saw. Sure, the beach hasn't changed, and the weather is still the nicest on planet earth, but my Santa Barbara was a sad place, filled with people working all of the time just to pay the rent so they could work all of the time, just to pay the rent, etc. I called it living in a "world of total work". I knew a lot of people like that, who had multiple jobs, and never even got to the beach. They really could have been living anywhere, as all they saw was the inside of buildings and the inside of their car. When I saw my 30th year "staring me in the face", I knew that it was time for me to plan my escape.

At age 28 I got out of Santa Barbara. I gave notice to the company that I worked for (two months notice - they didn't want me to leave!) and I just got on the freeway and followed the sign that said "To Los Angeles". I got a crummy little apartment in the San Fernando Valley and started looking for work, which I found. In a few months I was working for the corporate headquarters for Blue Cross of California, and I've been a corporate guy ever since. And I have been back to Santa Barbara, to visit, and it is beautiful. But it's a place that I needed to escape, and I'm glad I did.