Welcome to Des Moines muralIt’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since I moved back to my hometown of Des Moines, Iowa. If you had asked me where I’d end up moving after finishing my master’s at the University of Missouri, I would have said anywhere but Iowa. As a 25-year-old, I was anxious to go somewhere different, experience unfamiliar things, and meet new people. I thought that if I ended up back in my hometown, that I’d have nowhere to grow, no new experiences to take in. In my eagerness to move somewhere new,  I forgot that life doesn’t always pan out how you want it to, and without a job secured elsewhere, I had to return to the one city I had tried so hard to reject.

It sounds like I’m not happy to be here, right? {Insert buzzer noise} WRONG! It took some adjusting to being back in the city I tried to escape, but I’ve gained valuable experiences here as a young professional. I get to work at, what is arguably, the best company in the area. I can’t make decisions for you if you’re considering relocating to Des Moines, but I can tell you why I’m glad I did, because as an adult, I’ve rediscovered home.

Related: What am I doing in Iowa?

I get to share my home with other young professionals

Photo of young professionals at networking event
I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Des Moines is a town that lives for lists. We’re constantly topping the charts for various reasons, but several of our accolades boast how great this city is for young professionals. We’ve been named the most affordable place to live in the U.S., the best place for millennials to live in the Midwest, the most popular city for millennial homebuyers, and the best minor league sports market.

I should note: As I adamantly stated I would not return to Iowa a year and a half ago, my dad would send me links to these articles every time Des Moines topped the charts in hopes of persuading me to return (he really loves this city). It was not his persuasion that brought me back, rather it was a job opportunity that I couldn’t turn down.

With these accolades we’ve seen an increase in population, especially among young professionals, and I’m fortunate to be able to network with many of them through Young Professionals Connection. As a member of this organization, I meet individuals who now call Des Moines home, participate in volunteer, civics, and social events, and bolster my skills by helping with their marketing efforts.

Becoming part of this organization has helped me extend my circle – it’s helped me redefine my home as a place where I can still grow, meet new people, and experience new things.

I have more freedom

Growing up, my life here revolved around school, extracurriculars, and part-time jobs. Weeknights consisted of homework, and weekends were spent performing with the Valley Marchmasters, traveling with the jazz choir, working, or eating at Buffalo Wild Wings with friends. Now, my weeknights and weekends still consist of spending time with friends, but I have more freedom over what I do.

I have the freedom to explore more, spend my money how I want, and not abide by a curfew, and I’m taking full advantage of this freedom to rediscover Des Moines as an adult.

As a self-proclaimed foodie, I love indulging in the Des Moines food scene. If you haven’t visited recently, you should, because there are some great restaurants. I’m currently working on the A-Z restaurant challenge, where I’m trying to visit at least one restaurant that starts with each letter of the alphabet.

Related: Top 5 bars and restaurants with patios in Des Moines

I also put my sometimes useless knowledge to the test by going to trivia nights at a different bar at least 1-2 nights per week. And not to brag too much, but my team rarely loses. 🙂

Sand volleyball team photo in front of the netIn my free time, I participate in a book club with close friends, check out local festivals, spend time at the farmers market, patronize locally owned shops, play in area sports leagues, attend Iowa State, Iowa Wolves, and Iowa Cubs games, and take cooking classes. That’s what’s great about Des Moines – there’s never a shortage of things to do.

I’m happy I boomeranged, because home for me now is different than what it was when I was growing up. My desire to see and experience other cities hasn’t diminished, but fortunately, I work for a company that has one of the best PTO policies, so I still get to travel a lot (next stops: Rhode Island and Maine!). If you’re looking to come home and work for the best agency in the metro, check out our openings today!

About Erin Fry

Erin is a social media specialist who enjoys strategizing how to effectively use social media in marketing campaigns. When she’s not working at Two Rivers Marketing, she is testing new recipes in the kitchen or cheering on the Cyclones. Send her a DM at erinf@2rm.com.