The Scott Shaw Blog

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Glamping in the Santa Cruz Mountains

The Santa Cruz Mountains have always held a special place in my heart. Back in the 1970s, Santa Cruz was filled with hippies and holies. It was really the place where people who followed the pathway I was walking upon seemed to end up. But, like in all things, there was a price to pay.

Before I get too much into the all and the everything of this piece; now/today Santa Cruz is not at all what it used to be. The hills are filled with Techies who work in Silicon Valley. Gone are virtually all the roots of the spiritual and the artsy. In fact, I just saw an ad that if you want to Glamp, (Outdoor camping with all of the amenities and luxuries of a hotel), there is just such a place for you in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Sad…

Moreover, on the streets of the city, all you see are tons of the homeless who have found their way into every nook and cranny.

As far as Glamping in the SC Mountains goes, there was a place I used to stay at. It was the home of one of my spiritual sisters. Whenever I was there, her doors were always open to me. In fact, she even told me where the key to the place was hidden. So, if she wasn’t home, I would just let myself in and I had a place to stay.

It was a small cabin. One room. The outhouse was out back. She had apparently discovered it one day and just moved in. Eventually, the true owners of the place found out about her squatting but as long as she took care of the place they were all good with her free rent.

The Santa Cruz Mountains have a very spiritual essence to them. It just radiates from the air.

After I graduated high school, I truly thought to move up there and go to college, as did a few of my friends. I looked around for a place in the Santa Cruz Mountains and almost rented one. An interesting happened though, just as I was about to commit to the move, which caused me to stay in L.A. …I was up there in Santa Cruz, as I often was, and I bumped into an old friend. We had met at the Sufi Dances here in L.A. He was a good guy. One of those people you could tell was really smart. Sometimes we would play guitar together. He had this Gibson. I believe it was a J45. I had my Guild D40, which I still own to this day. An interesting thing that happened, in relation to his guitar, was that he rode this motorcycle sometimes and his guitar fell off the back when he was on the freeway. He went back to get it, believing the worst must have happened but I guess, saved by the case, it was as good as new. Amazing!

Anyway, I bumped into him after not seeing his for maybe a year after he had moved up to Santa Cruz. But, the light in his eyes was gone. He was just spaced out, though he was not on drugs. I asked him what he was doing—was he still going to college? No. Now he was washing dishes at this restaurant. Wow! Was he still driving his Volkswagen? No. It had broken down out on this one road and he had just left it there. “I guess it’s still there,” so he said. Again, wow! Santa Cruz had definitely changed him.

As stated, this guy was an intelligent individual. Now, it was all gone…

Like I say, there is always a price to pay. And, certain places, however seemingly spiritual, they do take a toll on the soul of some people.

Many years, in fact decades, have passed since that point in my life. Sadly, there have been mudslides and fires that have ravaged the Santa Cruz Mountains. In fact, at least one of my friends perished in one of the mudslides. The cabin I used to stay at, long gone. I looked for it after one of the mudslide episodes and there was nothing left. My cabin friend; never saw her again. My friend with the guitar; never saw him again either. I have no idea what happened to either of them. As for me, I have continued to visit Santa Cruz quite frequently, throughout the 1980s, the 1990s, onto this twenty-first century. I still like it there, but it is not the same. Now, it is overrun with tourists and Glampers.

Somehow, some of the most spiritual places have the potential to take all the essence from a person. I don’t know why that is. But, I have witnessed it in several people who relocated to various, so-called, spiritual location. I think the Techies and the Glampers are safe, as they seek nothing deeper in their life. They are not looking for that hidden meaning. So, they cannot be lead down a road away from the material. But, as this is the mindset that the spiritual person so often embraces, they become the vulnerable.

I'm thankful, I guess. I know I could have walked down that road, as well. For at that time, that is the mindset I possessed.

So, I guess this is a warning. …Something that you must keep in mind. I know most people could care less about embracing a spiritual lifestyle. But, if you do follow that path, remember it is a fine line between conscious awareness and unconscious oblivion. The path can suck you in. And, if you don’t care about not caring—if you train your mind to not care, as is taught in all of the Eastern Religions, you may very well end up in the nothingness of nothingness but if your nothing does not equal something, what are left with? Answer: No college degree, No Gibson J45, your VW just left out on some lost road, rusting, and forgotten, while you wash dishes for the people who Glamp.