Digital Nomad Life in Iowa

The pandemic has shifted work situations around the world. Many Americans worked from home with varying degrees of productivity. Many companies learned new ways of conducting business including less travel for meetings, video meetings internally and externally and discussions about hybrid work schedules for their teams. These learnings are leading to new life choices for a growing number of Americans. Gig workers, hybrid workers and remote workers are realizing they can combine work and travel as digital nomads. It is reported that about 7 percent of the United States Labor Force fits in this work style. Des Moines in Iowa are unique locations to add to your nomad life itinerary.

Popular site DeftNomad.com explains the nomadic lifestyle, “When we talk about becoming a digital nomad, essentially we mean adopting a lifestyle that doesn’t attach us to an office, coworking space, house, or coffee shop.” Furthermore, “Many digital nomads have jobs and skills that can be monetized online, this means all they need to work is a computer, headphones, a table, and an internet connection.”

According to a The Jerusalem Post quote, “it has been discovered that Digital Nomads work harder than their colleagues working in offices. Based on several studies conducted by researchers, it has been found that remote workers are 13 percent more productive than their office-based counterparts. Apart from that, about 23 percent of digital nomads are always willing to work extra hours to complete a given task.”

“If the Great Recession was a crack in the system, Covid and climate change will be the chasm,” says Bob Wells, 65, the nomad who plays himself in the film Nomadland, an Oscar winner starring Frances McDormand. This film is about the growing population that didn’t make the choice to live the van life but have make it work. We are talking about the people who are making the choice to enjoy the nomad life to experience the world while making a living.

This decade is also creating an increase in the second home or get-away home. These are not necessarily luxury vacation homes but a place to relax and work for part of the year in an area that is a smaller community or rural location. A second home can give you a feeling of security during a global issue or just a break from the daily routine by escaping to another regional culture. Most homeowners are now creating comfortable and productive work spaces in their homes.

The goal of a nomad worker is to find a space where they feel comfortable to work for a few hours and take long or short breaks. Some engineers, for example, might prefer to do all their work without breaks to keep their focus on the task, while content writers usually finish one piece, wait for feedback, and do something else while waiting. Some workers may have multiple clients that keep them busy while taking time to discover the locations they visit in between projects.

The benefits of this lifestyle is having time to visit locations around the country and the world. The new work year may include a goal to complete a 50 state bucket list. People may travel from national parks to national landmarks. When discovering new cities it is best to take tours to discover the local food, history and art.

A challenge of nomad work is having reliable internet wifi connections. Vehicle insurance and travel insurance are important parts of this lifestyle to protect from a broken down van, lost luggage, unexpected injuries or other traveling complications.

Planning ahead is the key to success so there is a schedule for travel, work and leisure time. Nomadic Matt has been remote since 2008 and suggests that you travel slow. He says, “That way, you’ll have plenty of time to build productive habits and routines while getting an in-depth experience of the destination you’re in. You’ll be able to play tourist, network, attend events, and get a feel for life there more than the standard tourist does.’

There are a lot of online resources like Go-Van.com. Nissan has even introduced the NV350 Caravan Office Pod Concept (below) provides a low-profile workaday nook that seems perfect for workers looking to escape apartments crowded with small children or noisy roommates. The office pod can remain inside the van, which can be parked on the street or in a parking garage and used as a stealthy mini-office.

Maggie, Living to Roam site and author of The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Digital Nomad, says the, “online world makes the digital nomad life look overly glamorous which unfortunately also makes it seem unattainable” She outlines 7 Steps to Building Your Profitable Digital Nomad Career which is a realistic path to success.


Airbnb has adjusted their search and offerings to help remove workers in their journey. Get creative as you search for wifi rentals with categories of cabins, castles, caves and even yurts. Airbnb destinations are increasing in "low-density urban areas," like suburbs and small towns, from 26% in 2018 to 35% in 2021. They realize that people are looking for a more flexible lifestyle as they embark on their travel journey.

Invest in noise-canceling headphones which are great for working in busy environments (such as co-working spaces) as well as on buses or planes, where there is ambient noise. Another tech note is to ensure you have a quick view of a world clock to make sure you don’t miss meetings in other time zones.

Iowa Tour Company has pulled together a list of Des Moines wifi locations, daily coworking spaces and boutique hotels with epic lobbies.

Don’t forget to log off the mobile work to experience the local life. The ITC expert local Tour Team is ready to welcome you to Iowa with Des Moines walking tours to discover the best of the city, past and present. Visit our Walking Tour page and select your tour experiences. Visitors can also choose a Self-Guided tour to discover the city on their own time 24/7/365.

Embark on your American adventure while accomplishing your nomad work goals. Our nationwide team looks forward to hosting you as you travel. We will watch for your post with #DigitalNomadLife and #DiscoverDesMoines.