The Collective Quarterly journeys to one place per issue. When they travel, they’re trying to discover the essence of a region during a moment in time. But what happens when there are stories that demand to be told but don't fit inside a specific print issue? Stories about uncommon people, places, and things from around the world?
They're told here.
This latest dispatch from The Collective Quarterly floats in a right triangle between Santa Barbara to the west, Ojai to the east, and Ventura to the south. Consistent, perfect waves roll in off the point break and caress this parched patch of land. It’s a place where the oaky scent of chaparral wafts in the air after a light drizzle, and hot springs bubble up from the earth in the arid Sespe Wilderness. It’s a stretch of coastal highway where motorcyclists gallop their iron ponies at full throttle.
These three cities can, at times, feel caught in the peculiar moment of change between night and day: Santa Barbara’s first impression feels like a contradiction, a place that is part retirement community, part haven for renegade artists who live in its industrial zone. Ojai is home to a strange friction between native citizens and transplants who have come seeking some shade of peace or spiritual enlightenment. And Ventura is a gritty surf town with an occupational dichotomy: environmentally conscious outdoor retailer Patagonia is headquartered here, within eyesight of hulking oil platforms moored offshore.
These cities defy categorization as a group. Yet, they exist within 35 miles of one another, in the shadow of the Topatopa Mountains.
When we visited the Central Coast, we found a collection of wild souls: the Southern belle who explores the scary creatures inside her head (p. 30), the Seattle-born surfer who’s making waves with his exquisitely freehand-shaped boards (p. 40), the Ojai native who strives to make sense of the otherworldly energy that draws eccentric characters from all over the world to his hometown (p. 134), and the Ventura townie who might just be California’s version of a genuine, self-proclaimed redneck (p. 146).