Four years ago — when I was still in school studying design– I fell deeply in love with the American West. From my home in Minnesota I started collecting saddle blankets and bolo ties. I listened to Merle Haggard and the Flying Burrito Brothers, hoping their records could tell me something about myself I didn’t already know. I wore hats to breakfast, only ordered Mexican imports at bars, and religiously attended shows at the Turf Club Thursday nights when the Cactus Blossoms played their iconic brand of lilting country music.
Back in December of 2013 I took some time off from design school and began traveling the dirt roads and deserts I had fallen in love with. I was looking for an answer to some big questions about love and loss that I couldn’t quite articulate to anyone –even myself. In my travels I found comfort in strong diner coffee and hot dusty afternoons that turned into cool clear nights. I liked being a stranger just passing through these towns where music came from jukeboxes or from a stage, towns where mountains and cacti were more common than cars or apartment buildings. The desolate nature of these places out West fit my soul — a place where I felt limitless and truly free.
I traveled to Marfa for space to think, in search of the clairvoyance that can only come from those big blue skies and an endless horizon line. I bummed around in Austin, looking for inspiration in the form of vintage workwear and country music. I went to the Badlands, a Longhorn ranch in Wyoming, and a handful of one-stoplight towns. I explored mountains in El Paso, learned to order lunch in Spanish, and lost my keys amongst the Sotol plants and dry grasses of a state park in eastern New Mexico. I grew to recognize the names of different cacti, and slept in a tent underneath a huge West Texas sky while someone next to me in a silver airstream fell asleep to Bill Callahan and Tift Merrit records. And so it was there — in places like Wyoming, Oregon, Arizona, and Texas –where I found a never-ending source of energizing inspiration — the landscapes and the lifestyles of the American West.
At the time of all this traveling, I was already taking photos and blogging under the name OLDR SISTR — a blog I had started while still in college studying design. In this early time of writing I was still developing my voice and honing in on the type of content I liked to create. The blog was still growing, my editorial focus was a bit more broad, and so at the time the nom de plume still seemed to fit.
After doing a lot of my two favorite things this month — thinking and reflecting — it was clear that a name change for the blog and a renewed editorial focus would be what could keep this space just as fresh and current as it felt on day one when I published my first post. The url needed to change as it was hard to remember and didn’t actually match the title of my blog. The name OLDR SISTR was starting to feel a bit contrived and overly generic. I needed something that felt like me, that expressed the wonder I felt when I was out west, that gave me a renewed sense of energy and inspiration with which I could write with.
OLDR SISTR has been my handle and my brand as a blogger for over five years. This year it was time for a new focus and a big change. And so I am happy to begin writing today underneath a new identity — Western Daughter. It’s a bit more memorable, a little more poetic, and a lot more reflective of who I am. I look forward to creating and curating content here under this new name, and I thank you as always for following along with me.
Go forth and be well!