People are generally excited to come to Southern California.
It’s a very cool place for our family to get to live! It is somewhere we never aspired to live but are completely enjoying.
But I have to admit that I cringe a little when I see folks I follow on Twitter or friends on Facebook say, “I’m going to Cali.”
See, most people who live here don’t refer to where they live as “Cali.”
We aren’t offended by it. It just automatically self-identifies you as a visitor.
Understand that California is a big state. VERY BIG. Venti. And extremely diverse geographically, regionally, in population, and culturally. On a perfect day it’d take you 13 hours to drive from Imperial Beach to Yreka along Interstate 5. (aka “the 5”) Just in San Diego County alone there are a bunch of different climates. Ocean beaches, mountain tops, arid desserts… palm trees and citrus trees to apple and peach trees; surfer to rancher.
To smash the whole state into a phrase like, “I’m going to Cali” just doesn’t feel right to us.
So what do I say?
To generalize it, you can say you are going to NorCal or SoCal even though there is no official dividing line. When we lived in Northern California there was always conversations that the North should separate from the South… that’s how different they are!
It’s perfectly acceptable to say, “I’m going to Southern California.” So don’t feel like you have to shorten it. But if you want to, it’s SoCal.
Better yet, you can regionalize it by saying you are going to San Diego, LA, the Central Valley, Tahoe, or the Bay Area. Headed somewhere a bit more rural? Some people describe their travels by saying what county they are headed to.
But few of our 37 million residents will post on their Facebook page, “I’m headed back to Cali tomorrow.” Just like you wouldn’t see someone say, “I’m headed back to Ala tomorrow.” Or, “Can’t wait to fly how to Wisc.”
At the same time. If you are coming as a tourist you can call us whatever you’d like as long as you leave some of your money here.
Because primarily– you can call us capitalists.