With all due respect and with the expanded background and living situation you have posted here, all I want to do is tell you that there are priorities in life.
Look a the chart and you will see the pyramid of the hierarchy of needs. Notice what's on the bottom then notice what's on the top. That's what I'm saying without calling it tough love.
What I hear you saying is: I don't have the skills to be a professional photographer. I met someone who is and would like to be like this person. I attended photography classes and and had bad experiences there. You would rather go it alone than be in a group without direct instruction focused toward your needs. You think you have a plan but the money spent must be on a guaranteed experience. You might me envious of those who are successful. You resent having to pay for expenses even though it is a part of the workshop logistics. You came here looking for advise from professional artists. You may, that's may believe it's all presentation and marketing.
My advice, take it or leave it is: We welcome you here to discuss part or all of you life. There is the Lounge for the Arnold comments and California, we do see the news and know what dire conditions exist in California. Many people are being hurt and hurt bad, it's a near Depression in some parts of this country right now. If you are the one who has no shelter and nothing to eat and no heath care then it's a Depression for you.
You are not alone, not that it helps to say so, honestly millions are sitting down to next to nothing to eat and the prospects of losing their shelter, they are trying to figure out what happened, what to do and what it will be like when and if things do get better.
The United States is a hard country to be poor in. We are based on money, money, money. You must think of how you will live on a day to day basis, even if that means moving to a state where the employment is better. Running away is not the term I would use, I would say you need to seek better employment and a better chance for a future.
Too many people work for the government in California, it over staffed and crowded with workers even though as an economy it ranks up there with nations. There are other problems with the states policies but that's another story, or many other stories. The bottom line is, if you can't make a living there then you must move to a place where you can. Maybe you will return at a later date in a better position.
Your frustration is evident by the comments about a mentor and remarks about paying for what most of us consider a part of the package in workshops. I for one decide to split a room with someone who I met and like very much on the next workshop. I haven't done that before but why spend if you can share expenses. There is no loss of pride in that, it's good economical sense. I may even buy a lunch at a grocery store so I don't have to eat an extra meal out. It's smart to watch the pocket book.
I'm not sure that you understand that most of the members here are not "Professional Photographer" who earn a living solely from selling their work. A hands up or down from the member would be needed here.
If you believe that advertising and marketing is the ticket then consider instruction in business classes if you are lacking. Photography is a business if you are to pursue it professionally. To consider otherwise is fantasy. There is a spectrum of individuals here from beginner to professional. Many who consider themselves amateurs often have a higher knowledge than "professionals". They have never stopped learning and have acquired a high degree of proficiency.
Don't think badly of those who's comments you read here you don't agree with. Even though we understand the strain you are under you have to know that the ability to accept criticism is paramount, especially in Art. It is a part of the process.
The best of luck,