Book Review - Resilience

Resilience – an unexpected story

Nicholas Orsini

I remember the day I first met Nicholas Orsini. His excited talk left me wondering. He came to ask for career advice but ended up leaving with an offer to fundraise for ALG. He was writing his book – Resilience. It seems he had ridden a bike through more than a few US states fundraising for ALS. I remained unconvinced. Too good to be true.

I meet wanna-be volunteers and contributors to ALG often, and, in London, they don’t tend to go very further. Whether it is the life that gets in the way, or my lack of ability to engage and motivate people, something is breaking. So I managed my expectations to think Nicholas would be the same. Also, the thought of a twenty-little-year-old writing and publishing a book with no prior knowledge or established presence also seemed to be a far away success.

Sara, did you turn him down?

Not at all. Through the more than a year that ensued, I mentored Nicholas the best that I could with the career advice he sought and we continued to work on our Partnership. We drafted a protocol, we had approved text to include on the book and also the actual preview of the manuscript. I browsed through to ensure it was not conflicting with any of our beliefs. But I did not read it as a book. It was a working document.

This late February, Nicholas launched Resilience, self-published on Amazon. That fact itself talked to the title of the book. He drove through all the skepticism of those that thought he would not publish, just the same way as he rode through the skepticism of those that thought he would never leave Florida. He kept his deal and committed to donate 15pct of proceeds to ALG. Our first ever book partnership, Nicholas ever first book. I was very proud he made it so far, and that he wanted us part of it. 

So how is it then? What was the Resilience story?

Resilience is a strong word. One that I would reserve for a small amount of events in my life, or anyone’s for that matter. My assumption of resilience applies greatly when I think of some of our kids in Mozambique. Or to someone dealing with a life threatening disease or financial deprivation. Hardly applies to 2 kids riding their bikes for ‘fun’ through 8 US States.

I am glad to report my prejudice on the use of the word is not justified.

The book is a true tale of Resilience. As anyone that has driven more than a few miles of the countryside will know, cycling does not come without complications (and investment), especially if you have taken your little brother’s bike to do it. Nicholas and Brett are on a tight budget so each day is a life lesson on choices and how much they can really endure.

They also face all sorts of hurdles that you did not consider could happen. To be fair, they did not seem to have considered it either. The limited effort that seems to have gone into preparing the trip had to be 10x compensated by effort in dealing with the surprises that came along the way. Bike maintenance, too much stuff & weight, more flat tires than I could count, strange encounters – with people and coyotes. Oh yes, and a lot of physical pain.

What did you get out of it?

  • The importance of preparation. Even though much of what they have gone through could not be avoided, some of it could have been better planned, such as learning early on how to change a flat tire or do maintenance, such as investing in good bikes instead of then spending the same amount in bike shops along the way.
  • The drive of believing in something and having a goal. It was truly hard for them to roll out of bed (and into their foam rollers) to keep on riding. It was a (stubborn) belief that they could do it and wanting to prove others wrong. But it was also a bigger drive of self-affirmation in what potentially became a defining moment in their lives.
  • The everyday choice to keep going. Every day they had a choice. Their family calling them on the next plane home. The dreadful thought of riding outside in the hot summer. Storms. Pain. Every day they chose to stay resilient, by whatever coping mechanisms they found along the way.
  • The choice to get unstuck and have fun. In many occasions, they arrived in a new city drained and drenched but they did not shy away from opportunities to discover a new city and meet new people. They had a goal but they made the most to enjoy the journey. With a beer if possible.
  • The importance of decluttering. They soon found they had too much weight with them. That was actually part of the (only) preparation they did – the equipment to get them across to California. What they found was that in this difficult journey, only decluttering down to the things they really needed (or less) would get them there;
  • The kindness of strangers. They may not have made it without a few lifts and generous souls in a bike shop along the way. Shows the interconnectedness of us all, and how we are better together.

Resilience can come in many forms and it is mostly manifested through our choices. Nicholas and Brett persevered and achieved, with barely anything else other than Resilience.

Full disclosure: 15% of the profits of Resilience go towards ALG. I still recommend it though. Bias aside.

One comment

  1. Thank you Sara for the very special book review for RESILIENCE. Nicholas Orsini is my son. I’m very proud of him but you were able to capture all of the aspects and let the world know about the real Nicholas and his perseverance and dedication to matters that are important for him. Thank you for assisting him along the way and taking the time to really explain RESILIENCE. Sincerely, Nancy

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