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From Sand to Snow: A SoCal Gal Moves to DSM

One Board Gal

August 19, 2021

In Iowa, common small talk usually includes discussions about the weather, upcoming season and, of course, where one grew up. What other topics of conversation can fill the space between two strangers any better? People are often shocked to find out that I am originally from Southern California; San Diego to be exact. So how did a SoCal gal end up in the Midwest? Well let’s just say there is quite a long list of why I traded sand for snow and why Greater Des Moines (DSM) has become the place I call home.

Introduction to Iowa

When I was 22, I came to DSM to work as the volunteer coordinator for the 2017 Solheim Cup put on by the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association). I first found Iowa’s pace of life to be agonizingly slow and the humidity more than my blonde hair could bear. While the Solheim Cup was an amazing event and I met some wonderful people, I was ready to head back to my busy, fast-paced California lifestyle. It was not until a few months later that I was sitting in traffic on the I-5, one of California’s busiest freeways, that I realized I missed Iowa. I missed the common-sense approach to life. I missed the pace. I missed the heartland hospitality found everywhere.Abbi at the Farmers' Market

Back to the Midwest

By October of 2018, I was packed up and ready to move back to DSM. Leaving my family, friends and beloved beach behind, I headed back to the Midwest, this time for good. As my Grandma Georgia has mentioned to me several times (as Grandma’s sometimes tend to do), that day changed our family history. While my first winter was a bit of a challenge and making friends pushed me out of my comfort zone, I have now recruited my younger brother Jack to Iowa. He recently graduated from Drake University and just started working in the Historic East Village in Downtown DSM. We both have found the region to be filled with activities, new places to explore and a vibrant community for young professionals. Drake Graduation

Additionally, my parents decided to make the move from CA to IA. While the smaller city has been a new change for them, they have found so much fulfillment in spending time together and becoming “regulars” at their favorite new restaurants. You can find our family walking the Downtown Farmer’s Market, supporting local artists, small businesses and hardworking farmers. You can also catch us playing golf, walking our dog at Raccoon River Park or out on the town trying family-owned restaurants. We find the integrity of Iowans, the beauty of the landscape and the emphasis on family absolutely refreshing. DSM has welcomed us in with open arms.

Are you interested in moving to Greater Des Moines (DSM)? Relocation Packets offer information on everything from neighborhoods and shopping to parks and local attractions. Or, kick start your career by checking out the DSM USA Career Center. It has over 10,000 jobs listed!

Named the #1 Best Place to Live in the Midwest and #2 Safest Place to Live, Greater Des Moines (DSM) is a city where you can have it all. Learn more about what it’s like to live here.

Abbi Gibson

Abbi Gibson is the CEO (Cheese Eating Officer) behind One Board Gal. She has always had a passion for events, travel and food. With time on her hands during the pandemic, she began to style her own boards. From small to 8-foot grazing boards, Abbi brings a lot to the table - Literally.