The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The price of paradise might just be too expensive for Santa Barbara

The Channels Opinion Pages | STAFF COLUMN

Santa Barbara will always be home to me.

Even though I tell people I’m from San Francisco, the majority of my life has been spent here. I’ve never lived anywhere else. 

Growing up, I never fully understood what all the fuss was about, and to be honest I still don’t.

Why on Earth is it so pricey?  

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I was confused by the behemoth cruise ships that often docked offshore, the thousands of tourists that flocked to our sleepy beach town each year. 

I grew up between the sandy beaches and the rocky mountains of Santa Barbara, and I admit I took everything for granted. 

I’m a bit of a homebody—those who know me well can attest to that. Getting out of my small bubble of comfort, even for a daytrip a few hours away, is a rare thing. 

Until recently, trips and vacations would be like pulling teeth. When my family took me and my sister to San Diego during my last week of summer break during my junior year in high school, I was distraught. 

Something about missing the comfort of my own bed, my own cats and my own room made me uneasy.

Being in the familiar bubble that is Santa Barbara skewed my view of the world. 

Over the last year, I’ve done more traveling than I’d previously done my entire life.

From a two-week geology field course spanning across four states to seven-hour drives on the 5 to North Chico, I pushed myself far beyond my usual comfort zone of playing video games until 2 a.m. in the morning. 

These trips helped me gain perspective on what Santa Barbara really meant to me. 

And honestly, it left me wanting.

Now hear me out, I realize that it may sound like I’m coming from a place of privilege. I recognize that I go to school and live in one of the most highly sought-after areas in California, maybe even the United States as a whole. 

On paper, this place is great. Unique? Sure.

The mild mediterranean climate allows for comfortable living year round. When a Santa Barbarian says cold, we mean mid forties. When a Santa Barbarian says hot, it’s generally around 85. 

But why is it so expensive? What does it really have to offer that other cities don’t?

Is the old Spanish architecture and coastal scenery really worth spending $800 on a shared room? 

Living here my entire life has taught me one thing: It’s not. 

It lacks the seemingly never-ending list of things to do that a big city usually offers. 

The small town aspect of community can be muddled by the constant ebb and flow of tourists from around the globe. 

The class divide is extremely apparent, too. In one house you might have a family of multiple generations crammed into two bedrooms. Across the street, a two-story million dollar home occupied by a family of four, with luxury cars lining the driveway.

Santa Barbara will always be home to me. Before seeing different parts of the country, or even different parts of the state, I thought I would live here for the rest of my life. 

I love this place, truly.

But seeing different places really opened my eyes to what else is out there. Places that won’t leave the average middle-class citizen struggling paycheck to paycheck for a walk to the beach.

To me, it may not be worth it.

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