To-do list: Meet a Cowboy

Emily Ould

Photography: Emily Ould

I’ve always longed to meet a cowboy. Ever since I was eleven years old, the idea of the South and cowboys has always fascinated me. I can’t help it, and I don’t really know where it came from. It just planted itself within me at an early age, and it just kind of stuck. I don’t think I could get rid of it, even if I wanted to.


By now, I’m used to the weird looks I get when I tell people my favourite genre of music is country. When I was eleven, the other kids either picked Beyonce or Fall Out Boy as their favourite music artists. But me? I chose George Strait.

So when I visited Amsterdam with my best friend last summer, I hardly expected to find anything remotely connected to the South. Traveling kind of opens up doors you never really knew were there before, and I don’t think I was quite ready for what was on the other side.

We were heading to the bus stop to wait for the shuttle that would take us back to our hostel. When we got there, a group of people were also waiting.

‘Hi, y’all!’ they said as we approached them. Something about their greeting told me that they were not Dutch.

‘Where are you from?’ I asked.

‘Texas,’ they replied, and I swear it was all in unison.

Boom. That was it. From that moment on I was kind of hooked – on their accents, on their stories, on pretty much everything they told me about the South. They asked me who my favourite country artists were, if I enjoyed whiskey, and I told them how many cowboy boots I owned (which is a lot).

When they found out I didn’t know how to two-step (which of course was something I’ve always wanted to do) they actually got up and showed me. I twirled round and round while the guy told me about ranches and guns and his sister’s wedding where they all wore cowboy boots. It was amazing.

I was blown away by all of this, a complete chance meeting in Amsterdam. I still can’t really believe it happened.

Meet a cowboy.

Those three words were always pretty much at the top of my bucket-list. And now, as crazy as it still sounds to me, I’ve done it.

Even if he didn’t technically herd cows and throw a lasso, he was still a cowboy to me. Maybe one day, I can finally cross off another thing on my bucket-list, which is to actually visit Texas. Fingers crossed.