Santa Barbara

The Different Sides to Santa Barbara

I have traveled to Santa Barbara several times over the last two years.  It feels like home to me.  Each trip here has me finding more and more layers to it.  This past week I was exposed to just a little more…. I was blessed to be able to experience a conference this week that rocked my world. Basically it was an energetic/business gathering.  I won't get too much into why I was there, but more into what I garnered while I was there.  For years I have been saying I wanted to volunteer at a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, etc.  However, I never made it happen.  Not really sure why, but this week I was able to take part in a group activity that truly changed my world.  Another first!

One of the nights that we were at meeting, we were told to meet at 5:00 in our conference room to find out what we would be doing.  We arrived to find bags of bread, jars of peanut butter and jelly, plus bottled water.  We quickly got down to work and assembled as a group 100 bags of sandwiches and water to pass out to the homeless population in Santa Barbara.  If anyone knows what Santa Barbara is like, you would be hard pressed to believe that such a population exists.  Not only does it, but it is pretty numerous and all around from the beach to the parks.


We set out in small groups to areas that we thought might have some folks in need of a meal.  The biggest gathering that we came to was in Alameda Park downtown.  Sure enough, we came upon many folks that were truly grateful for a sandwich or two.  We spent considerable time just connecting with the folks.  They have stories, lots of stories.  We met a young lady whose family had disowned her after her grandmother died for various reasons.  We met a man who lost everything a month ago in Michigan and was now living in a park in Santa Barbara.  He had an amazing attitude and said, "Hey, who wouldn't want to live here in such a beautiful place?'.  It truly was a mind-shift for sure.

One of the take-aways from this experience that was a huge shift for me was their attitude of we have enough.  What I mean by this is, we would try and hand them enough food for two days and they said no.  They would only take enough for one and say, we are okay for now.  Can you imagine?  These folks don't know where their next meals are coming from and they still said they had enough.  It was a huge lesson for me in abundance, being grateful and realizing that I have more than enough.

The homeless population in Santa Barbara is bigger than most people realize.  There were two gentleman who actually did a documentary about it, the actor Paul Walker and his friend Brandon Birtell.  The documentary was called Shelter.  They worked with a local therapist who was a big advocate in Santa Barbara for the homeless.  He has since retired.  Unfortunately with Paul's untimely passing and the unfavorable response of some to the movie (Paul actually received death threats while promoting it.), most folks have never heard of the documentary.

This issue of homelessness is one of huge importance.  I am so grateful that I was able to have this opportunity to spend some time with some of the homeless population in Santa Barbara.  It certainly changed my view.  I plan to look for more opportunities to help out this cause in the future.  I urge you, the readers, to seek out opportunities to help out as well.  It was amazing how giving to someone else, can give us more in terms of feeling so good about our own lives!

"I know I sound like a broken record, but 10 years ago I was living out of a garage and pan- handling, so just being a little comfortable is more than good for me. In fact, this is heaven." - Paul Walker to the Chicago Sun Times

Until My Next Adventure,

P.A. Walker

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Dining Al Fresco

Santa Barbara always provides me with a few days away from my reality.  It truly is one of my happy spots.  The ocean, scenery, people and food make for a truly amazing few days.  As my adventure continued, I ventured out to try some new restaurants.  One of the favorites of the trip was a restaurant called Dargan's Irish Pub on State Street.  When I sit outside to eat, it already adds points to a restaurant.  This pub delivered in terms of both food and wait staff.  I was served by a young lad who was over in the States for the summer to work from Ireland.  He said he was excited to be going home because California was just too much for him.  He provided me with great service and some stories on top of that.  Add to that my amazing guacamole and chips and my quesadilla entree and the night was a success.  ( While on my quest for full relaxation, I came upon the Float Luxury Spa (  Set in a small house on one of the side streets of downtown, this spa couldn't have been more relaxing.  I opted for the Salt Scrub followed up by a hot stone massage.  This is a life I could get used to.   The staff was great, the facilities very clean, and the services divine.  I will definitely be going back for more.

After all of this luxury, I headed down the The Natural Cafe on State Street for a healthy meal.  Since I was feeling very organic after my treatments, I wanted to keep that clean feeling going strong.  This tasty little restaurant provided just that very thing.  It is an order-at-the-counter establishment but they bring it right to your table.  They provide healthy food, drinks and again, my favorite, an outdoor dining area.  I really love to dine Al Fresco.  Santa Barbara is the place just for that.

Too soon it was time for me to jet back to Utah.  I absolutely love where I live.  I always remind myself that people pay thousands of dollars to come to Park City for vacation.  However, when I have a chance to be by the ocean, my soul is just re-nourished and I feel grounded.  It always hits me hard when I drive back to my house at 8,000 feet.  My dream is to some day live near the beach!  Baby steps….

We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.  - Anonymous

Until my next adventure,

P.A. Walker

Five Days in My Happy Spot!

Last week brought me to one of my favorite spots on earth, the beautiful town of Santa Barbara.  Although I have been there several times, on this trip I vowed to include several firsts.  I was given the rare opportunity to travel by myself for five days as the rest of the family had headed to Michigan to attend a family event.  I looked at this as an opportunity to refresh and get to know myself just a bit better.  I had no one to answer to and no where to be at any particular moment.  Let's see what the five days brought me. I stayed at a wonderful VRBO property that was just steps from the ocean.  I was able to walk up and down 222 stairs each way in order to watch the beautiful sunset every night.  My trip up and down the Mesa Lane Steps to get to the beach gave me the great idea to set a goal for myself of being able to run up the stairs without stopping by the last day of my trip.  I was able to walk up without stopping, but because of my sore calf muscles, the running was just not going to happen.  It was really amazing to see other folks run up and down several times with no problem.  Quite impressive!

MesaSteps2 MesaLaneSteps

My days in Santa Barbara were filled with contentment.  I was able to pick and choose what I wanted to do each day.  The first full morning there brought me to the Mission Santa Barbara (  This was my first first of the trip.  Founded by the Franciscan Friar Fr. Fermín de Lasuén, OFM on the Feast of St. Barbara, December 4th, 1786, Old Mission Santa Barbara, also known as the Queen of the Missions, has a history unlike any other landmark. It's got a rich and diverse setting, with beautiful gardens and surroundings. It takes just about an hour to wander through the buildings, so it makes a good place to visit before heading to the wonderful beaches in and around Santa Barbara.



Before basking all afternoon on the beach, I had a scrumptious lunch at the Shoreline Beach Cafe (  Located directly on the sands of Leadbetter Beach, they provide you with fresh, healthy ingredients, locally grown and harvested whenever possible. These include produce from local growers, seafood from local harvesters and great wines from Santa Barbara County Vintners (quoted directly from the Shoreline's website).  The view is incredible and it wouldn't be hard to sit there for hours just gazing at the ocean.


Following up my lazy afternoon with a stroll down State Street, I was able to check out all the great shops along the way.  Santa Barbara doesn't lack for amazing things to do….  Tommorow, another round of firsts for 50!

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta

Until tommorow's adventures,

P.A. Walker