You Are Hardwired To Listen To Stories And Conversations In English Ep 399

A photo of a toy red car in snow. This whole English practice conversation is about a very long and difficult car journey.

📝 Author: Hilary

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💬 1929 words ▪️ ⏳ Reading Time 10 min

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Conversations In English That Keep You Engaged

Today’s English lesson is simple. All we ask is that you sit back and enjoy a short English listening practice story. You will listen to a conversation in English and try to comprehend all the key vocabulary used, and at the end we have short test so you can test how well you did (and check you paid attention).

We like to use stories as a learning tool at Adept English as we know that all humans are hard wired to pay attention to stories. Historically, especially pre books, humans needed stories just to survive. Stories enabled those who lived longest to tell their tale to pass valuable survival information on to new generations of listeners. This basic mechanism still exists in all of us today, it’s a survival instinct.

TV Advertisers have known this for a long time, as they are in the business of getting and keeping your attention. It’s interesting that the stories that are told the most, and the most likely you are to retell to others, are stories about a character who has a problem. Today’s story falls perfectly into that category of story!

Adept English uses a system of English learning that benefits you most when you repeat listen. Listening to the same content over and over is hard work if the content is boring, making the content interesting helps a lot. It’s not just about being able to tough it out though, listening to content over and over only helps if you are paying attention to the content. You actually need to be practicing your English comprehension at the same time to get the most out of our lessons for the time you put in.

Most Unusual Words:


Most common 3 word phrases:

A News Story2
To Listen To2
In The US2
Her Two Children2

Listen To The Audio Lesson Now

The mp3 audio and pdf transcript for this lesson is now part of the Adept English back catalogue . You can still download and listen to this lesson as part of one of our podcast bundles.

Transcript: You Are Hardwired To Listen To Stories And Conversations In English

Hi there and welcome to this short podcast from Adept English.

A good news story

Let’s give you a story, a news item to listen to today – in English of course, so that you can practise your understanding. It’s a real news story – and for a change, it’s a news story with a good feel, not a news story which makes you say ‘Oh no….’ like most of them do at the moment.

So this was something that happened in Canada in December. See how much of this story you can understand on first listen – then obviously, because this is Adept English – you know to listen to this podcast several times, use the transcript, look up any words you don’t know and then listen again until you understand all of it – and you can answer the questions at the end! Here goes.

The story...

Lynn Marchessault (marsh-esso) is an American woman, whose husband is in the US Army, based in Fairbanks, Alaska. And in November 2020, she set out with her two children, her son Payton 13 and daughter Rebecca, aged 10 to drive from the state of Georgia in the US to Alaska in a 4X4. When we say ‘4X4’ in English, spelt you’ll notice ‘4-X-4’, by this we mean a four wheel drive vehicle.

So the plan was that the family were moving house to be with the husband and father in Alaska. Because of the pandemic restrictions and because of the weather in the northern states of the US and in Canada in November being difficult, Lynn Marchessault knew that this was going to be a challenging trip.

She’d planned to travel earlier in the autumn or ‘fall’ as the Americans call it, but the travel documents to enable her to drive through Canada and into Alaska didn’t come through until November. But Lynn Marchessault was still determined to get there. And it wasn’t just her two children in the car, there were two family dogs and an elderly cat as well!

So the first 3,000 miles of the journey went well. Can you imagine – 3,000 miles? I complain about the journey when I drive 220 miles up to see my family in the north west of England. But if you live in a big country, distances are relative and I guess you’re prepared for longer journeys.


A photograph of an arial view of road with car in winter forest covered with snow.

©️ Adept English 2021

So Lynn Marchessault and her family entered the Canadian province of Saskatchewan and they were told, ‘Fine yes, stay at motels, but only takeaway food please, because of the pandemic. And keep moving – you have just five days to cross Canada and get to Alaska.’ So far, so good.

But before long Lynn Marchessault was scared. Weather conditions had got worse, it was difficult to see because of the snow and it felt as though the tyres on the car – tyres are the rubber part of the wheel – it felt as though the tyres were slipping, not gripping the road. Lynn also had a trailer attached to the car, and it felt as though this was pulling her backwards. And the weather was a white-out.

She stopped at a petrol station and after a conversation with a stranger, she got help. The stranger looked at her tyres and told her ‘These are summer tyres, not the all-weather tyres that you should have!’ So Lynn had help from the people of the town in British Columbia where the petrol station was. First of all to get the right sort of tyres for her car, even though it was a Sunday. So the tyres were fixed and Lynn Marchessault and her children were put up in a motel for the night.


She was about ready to give up at that point – the five days that the family had to get to Canada were running out and the driving conditions were terrible - much more difficult that they’d imagined. So as the family slept in a motel room, a post was put out on Facebook, asking for help from an experienced winter driver, to drive the family to Alaska. That’s 1,600 kilometres in total.

And answering that call, a Canadian man called Gary Bath, who is a ranger with the Canadian army. And he trains people how to survive in arctic conditions, so he answered the Facebook post. The two families did a video call first of all to get to know one another.

And then it was agreed that Gary Bath would drive Lynn Marchessault and her family for two days to get to the border with Alaska before her travel documents ran out. So they and the two dogs and the elderly cat and the children could all be reunited with her husband in time for Christmas. And that’s what they did – the journey took 2½ days!

Download The Podcast Audio & Transcript

The two families have vowed to remain friends – and the story made the news in the US and Canada. Most people are kind enough to help someone out, if they can see perhaps that the person needs help to cross the road. Or if a neighbour is locked out of their house, you might help them. But volunteering to drive someone that you don’t know over a thousand miles to their destination through snow and ice? Well, that’s a different level of kindness and generosity.

A word about Course One, Activate Your Listening

So that’s the story. I’m going to give you some questions in a minute, so that you can test yourself. Test how much of that story you understood. First of all, just a reminder that if you would like more quality English language learning and more structure, our popular course, Course One Activate Your Listening is for sale on our website at

Boost Your Learning With Adept English

This course is similar to the podcasts, except that I do a tutorial on the vocabulary, we do pronunciation practice and there are a number of recorded conversations in English – which gives you practice understanding other people as well as me. I also use ‘spaced repetition’ technique for vocabulary learning to give you a better chance of remembering! So go and have a look at our course page today – this course will really help your English language learning.

Test your understanding with some questions

So back to that news story – here are some questions so that you can check your understanding of the story. Answers are in the transcript!

  1. Where did Lynn Marchessault and her family set off from?
  2. What was the description you heard of the car was she driving?
  3. Who was Lynn Marchessault driving to meet?
  4. Who else was in the car?
  5. Why did she set off in November?
  6. Why did the family have to drive through Canada?
  7. What caused Lynn Marchessault first to seek help – and what was the first help that she received?
  8. How was the call to the wider community made?
  9. What made Gary Bath a suitable responder?
  10. How many kilometres was the journey?

OK, so see how you do at answering those questions. Obviously, listen a few times to the podcast – you’ll find you’re able to answer more of those questions if you’ve done more listening. Again, answers in the transcript.


Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.



The voice of Adeptenglish, loves English and wants to help people who want to speak English fluently.
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