Big Girls, Summer Camp Extraordinaire

Big Girls, Summer Camp Extraordinaire

I began to appreciate the process of making friends as a long-term endeavor that couldn’t be short-circuited. You can’t “speed-date” a new friend.

Friendships I had developed over the past came from shared stories and experiences, from being vulnerable together to being curious about each other’s points of view and their own stories, hopes, and aspirations.

All of that takes time.

You can see how much time it takes to keep friends close over time in my latest Substack issue, out now

I paid someone to drop me in the middle of the mountains for eight days with no phone or map

I paid someone to drop me in the middle of the mountains for eight days with no phone or map

Last month, I paid someone to drop my daughter and me in the middle of the mountains for eight days with no phone or map.

It was an exhilarating international adventure where we wouldn’t even know where in the world – or which mountains we’d be dropped in – until we looked at our boarding passes at the airport.

Since you’re reading this, you’ll know *spoiler alert* that we survived 😉 and the adventure was made even far more interesting with our mountain guide, who prepped us for this wild experience.

Why would we pay for an experience that many people would describe as a nightmare? What did we learn? Was it easy to make it out?

I’m revealing it all inside a bonus essay in the latest issue of my Substack newsletter, out now:

In addition to the survival adventure piece, you’ll also find stories on deepening friendships over decades and some street photography.

That time I had dinner with FBI agents and Soviet defectors

That time I had dinner with FBI agents and Soviet defectors

During the ‘80s, I continued to accompany my husband to tech conferences and continued to always see a row of Soviet “scientists” furiously taking notes in the back.

To satisfy my curiosity, I began to learn about how the Soviets developed their own technology and how the US succeeded or failed at maintaining its strategic advantage with technology. My research turned into a book, The New Wizard War, published in 1988.

While writing the book, I met FBI agents, US customs officials, Soviet defectors, and academics who studied US economic and intellectual property law.

Read more about this experience and how we can connect the dots from the past to predict the future in the latest issue of my Substack newsletter, out today:

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What’s Earth Day Got To Do With Anything?

What’s Earth Day Got To Do With Anything?

Photo by: University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability

The problem with old people is that they act as if they’ve seen it all. I see that, too.

Earth Day is upon us and social media fills our screens with calls to action against all sorts of environmental evils: carbon emissions, deforestation, fossil fuels. Everyone wants in on the act: The Department of Commerce invites its employees to post photos of their outdoor activities, New York City will close its streets to cars for a day, and Google is sending its subscribers digital wallpaper with images of green trees and pristine clouds. Businesses, universities, city governments, and world leaders rally around a day we celebrate in much the same way as Valentine’s Day: Hallmark displays its Earth Day cards next to its Easter cards.

Earth Day wasn’t always this mainstream or fashionable. Or domesticated.

The first Earth Day occurred 52 years ago. It originated at the University of Michigan and I was there. You’d be surprised to see who was there and what they did.

This is an excerpt from Robyn’s latest Substack newsletter. To read the entire article, subscribe here.

Stories from Past Invasions

Stories from Past Invasions

Stories From Past Invasions – August 1968. In 1968, I arrived in Prague on the same day as Russian tanks filled the city square.

As I watched Russian tanks invade Ukraine, I couldn’t help remembering the faces of the Czech families in the streets the day the Russians arrived in their country.

Read about my experience that day in Prague in the March issue by signing up for my Substack newsletter here:

Who will tell your story?

Who will tell your story?

My February began in Guatemala, a country I first visited in 1958 when the country was on the verge of civil war. Decades of war and unrest followed and it wasn’t until 1996 that Guatemala returned to a peaceful, civilian government. During my visit, I visited a Mayan city, Tikal, hidden in the jungle of Northern Guatemala and accessible only by plane, a battered DC-3 airplane that landed on a primitive dirt runway.

Now, almost 65 years later, a group of my friends joined me on a hike to Tikal and beyond, way beyond, to the Mayan city of El Mirador.

This experience inspired me to ask deeper questions about ancient civilizations and the validity of these stories over time, and whether or not that even matters.

It’s quite an interesting subject and I’d love to hear your take on it. Come to the jungle with me as I expand on this topic further inside this month’s February Substack Newsletter – out today!

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