"I’ve been in Santa Barbara since 1974 and I’ve got no plans to move anywhere else.
I was born in Hawaii, but we moved around a lot because my dad was a preacher for a Baptist church. I didn’t have any trouble making friends while I was growing up, and aside from my parents being extremely religious, my childhood was pretty normal. I never related to the religion my parents followed, it caged in my free spirit.

When I was very young, I spent a lot of time in nature to escape. I roamed in the trees, examining rocks, looked at plants and swam in the rivers and creeks. I remember there was a cow that lived in the field next to my house in Virginia. She was very timid, and I loved her very much. Sometimes at night when she was laying in the field, I would go out and lay with her, and even drink milk straight from her utters. I’ve always been really connected to animals. My favorite animal is Winnie the Pooh because he got his head stuck in the honey jar and then the bees came. Such a good metaphor for life.

I was 15 the first time I decided to run away and seek freedom. A year later, I ran away for good. The next three years of my life I spent hitchhiking around the US. I wasn’t worried about anything and never had any serious troubles. I knew I was always guided by synchronicity. It was the 70s and people were coming together for peace and love. I always met the right people, in the right places. I started to explore the medicine of the psychedelic world and it really opened up my eyes to the universe and truth. The use of psychedelic drugs guided me into my spiritual journey.

After 3 years of traveling, I landed in Santa Cruz. There, serendipitously I met a professor at UCSC, and we hit it off right away. Through the professor, I met another man, who guided me to Sunburst. I remember hearing this guy talking about a community near Santa Barbara that had carrier pigeons that would fly back and forth from the different properties as a form of communication. I knew then, that I would move there next.

I spent 5 years of my life working and living in Sunburst. We had a bakery, juice factory, a pottery shop, a blacksmith shop, and a dairy farm. We had everything going on, and it was the real deal. I began studying herbalism and native plant medicine. A typical day in the community life was: waking up together and meditating, working on the farm, and eating communal meals together. I became known as the ‘Keeper of the Flame,’ because I took charge of cutting firewood. I was walking the spiritual path. I studied meditation in depth and learned to live life in a constant state of awareness and unity.

At the end of the ’70s, things started getting weird at Sunburst and so I left and settled in Santa Barbara. Initially, I worked on the Fairview farm in Goleta, then I moved up to a house on mission ridge. I worked in construction, and took on landscaping jobs and grew as an herbalist. Craving nature and isolation I decided to move into the woods of Montecito, near the hot springs. During this magical time, I met the love of my life, Camille. I’d been setting intentions for around 5 months already, calling in the woman that I was meant to be with. When I met Camille, I knew she was the woman I would marry. We danced around each other, with the inner knowing that we were coming together. Not long after, I moved in with her and we didn’t part for almost 17 years. We are not together anymore but we are still friends, and she is still the love of my life.

I was a full-time caregiver for the elderly for about 35 years. I took care of all sorts of people, and I still do. I’ve got so much love in my heart, so much desire to help and to heal. I look around me, and I see everyone searching for love. But, they are looking for love in material things. All these fancy cars and big houses. It’s not there. That’s not where you find enlightenment. No man, The hearts the way in and the way out. There’s so much love in my heart, do you wanna know why? Love is something that you cannot put in a container or a condom, it’s not containable or definable. I’ve always believed in cosmic, deep and powerful love. I think my problem is that I feel too much, I’ve got 5 planets in cancer, which is probably why my heart is so open to everyone. I’m just trying to love everybody, but it can be hard to do. I’m still trying to figure out how to love myself. You’ve just got to give love, that’s what it’s all about. Now, when I wake up on the streets, I am still a caregiver. I make my rounds, visiting all of my brothers and sisters on the streets. I ask them if they need any help. I get them food if they’re hungry or clothes if they’re needed. I offer my time as a shoulder to lean on and someone to talk to.

Being human is like being a caterpillar, we bide our time, go through our days with what life has handed out to us. But, you gotta choose to become the butterfly. You gotta want that metamorphosis for it to happen. Either way, I ain’t worried about it.

I’m chronically hip in my community, people gravitate towards me, they know they can trust me and feel how much I truly care.

I know that love is the answer."

Nathan Williamson