Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Today you’ll hear some insider tips on visiting California!

Are you planning to tour the Golden State?

In today’s episode, Lindsay interviews Shana Thompson from the American English Podcast.

Shana will share three things that only Californians know.

This way, you won’t be a typical tourist when you visit California.

You can experience California as the locals do!

Shana Thompson of California

We’re excited to have Shana Thompson on the show!

She shares that she is very excited to give local insight about her home state, California.

She is the host of the American English Podcast.

In addition, she is an ESL teacher who is fluent in Portuguese and German.

The importance of learning languages

Lindsay points out that it is important for English teachers to learn other languages.

This makes them better understand what their students are going through.

Shana totally agrees because she finds it very helpful to speak another language as she teaches English as a foreign language.

Having that background has given her a better understanding of how to properly present her English lessons.

Lindsay shares that she speaks Spanish.

She spent time in Buenos Aires, but it has been a while so her Spanish is rusty.

Wine country

Shana grew up in Fairfield, California.

This is near Napa Valley, which is known for wine.

She left southern California a few months ago and is now in Los Angeles.

She has lived near the coast of California her whole life.

It is an extremely beautiful area, rich with vineyards.

Napa or Sonoma?

You might want to know which she would recommend, Napa or Sonoma, for someone wanting to have the best experience.

Shana shares that it depends on your financial situation.

Napa is much more expensive than Sonoma.

She compares Napa to a theme park and says it is the Disneyland of wine.

In that area of California, you’ll see winery after winery.

You can go on a bike tour, but it may not be recommended if you’re drinking.

Sonoma, on the other hand, has wineries more spread out, but Shana prefers Sonoma over Napa.

Shana also shares that there are coupons available to get a discount for the experiences in Napa.

You can spend a day in Napa for the quintessential wine experiences and then other days in Sonoma if you want.

She also recommends experiencing the mud bath in Calistoga.

Three things only Californians know

Shana shares three tips about insider information known only to California locals.

Listen in for this insight on how to truly experience California as the locals do.

After this episode, you’ll be ready for a dream vacation to the Golden State!

#1: Prepare for earthquakes

Earthquakes are incredibly rare in California.

They occur daily, so it is common to experience an earthquake while in California.

However, you don’t have to be worried about it because most of them cannot be felt.

On a daily basis, there are low-magnitude earthquakes that you don’t feel.

Shana shared that when she was younger, their school would have an earthquake drill when an earthquake was happening.

During an earthquake, you should find cover under a flat surface for protection.

This is because objects may fall from above and injure you.

It is unlikely to experience a strong earthquake when you’re visiting so don’t let that deter you from going to California.

#2: Explore outside of Los Angeles and San Francisco

The state of California is bigger in size than Germany.

There are more people in California than in Canada.

It is a big place and there are a lot of awesome areas to visit.

Shana shares Santa Barbara as an example.

It is a beautiful place with a lot of white-washed buildings.

These have red roofs and palm tree-lined beach walks.

She also mentions Isla Vista where there is a fantastic party scene.

She recommends young people visit there and enjoy themselves.

Lindsay has also visited the California redwoods along with the Avenue of the Giants, which is known to be the place where Big Foot was sighted.

In our online English fluency course, Lindsay takes you on a road trip in California!

She recommends you go on that adventure around California and talk to locals.

#3: Indulge in the local food

Agriculture is a significant sector of California’s economy.

In 2018, California agriculture produced 50 billion dollars in revenue.

Over one-third of the vegetable crops and two-thirds of the fruit and nuts produced in America come from California.

Shana’s first job was working at a fruit stand.

A lot of the products they sold were grown locally in California.

The only things that weren’t locally produced were pineapple and bananas.

Hence, Shana urges you to not just dine at fast food restaurants when in California.

Instead, try out places where they serve farm-to-table food.

This way you can try locally-grown fare!


California is a wonderful state that is extremely stunning.

If you intend to visit, take the time to try all the wonderful areas and delicacies the state has to offer.

Soak in the experience with the local food and people.

Shana urges you to not focus your itinerary on eastern California exclusively.

There are so many sites to see and things to experience in the west as well.

Shana’s Bio:

Shana is the host and creator of the American English Podcast.

Growing up in a very diverse community near San Francisco was a precursor to her current fascination for foreign cultures and languages.

This love has been cultivated during her experience as an ESL teacher in Spain and as an event planner for language events in NYC, Berlin, Vilnius and Potsdam.

She is a co-founder of the language startup, Chatterplot.

For more information, visit her website

You can find her on Instagram as well: @americanenglishpodcast.

Are you planning to go to California soon?

Share your travel plans in the comments section below!

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