Amiris Feland Ketcham, age 35

Albuquerque, New Mexico

“Write the Life You’d Want to Read”

I grew up feeling cheated by having been born a girl. I felt cheated by the Girl Scouts, who only offered macaroni crafts, songs comparing friends to precious metals, and an introduction to direct sales, while the boys got pocket knives and camping trips. I felt cheated when I wanted to follow in the footsteps of the writers I admired (Kerouac, Least Heat Moon, Steinbeck) and cruise the blue highways of America and sleep under starry skies, and was told time and time again that it was far too dangerous for a girl. Cheated again when I realized all of my role models and favorite writers and artists were men.

A couple years ago, someone told me that I should write the kind of book I would want to read, and I’ve taken that challenge on as a kind of mantra. I am now on a mission to visit and write about as many campsites in New Mexico as I can in a year–hopefully a younger version of myself would see this book and not feel so cheated, and instead start living the life she wanted earlier.