Table 10

When I first asked Nick whether he would like to join me for my first month in Mexico I never in a million years thought he would actually come. Even after buying his tickets I was still doubtful and in fact it wasn't until I saw him step off the train in London that those doubts began to fade.

I first met Nick not long after moving to Barnstaple in North Devon around two and a half years ago. Unlike other friends I made in North Devon, the friendship I kindled with Nick centred exclusively around drinking and usually at the same table in the Bull & Bear which ideally for us both was sited slap bang between our two homes. 

So when Nick said he was actually interested in coming along, I admit I had my reservations. Why? Well I don't think we had ever spent more than 12 hours together and we certainly had never done anything in that time but drink.

How then would we cope spending a full 28 days and 28 nights together? I mean, we couldn't just drink, could we? But seriously, I was curious. How would our friendship cope? It would obviously change, but how? Would it get better? Or worse? And at the end of the 28 days when it came to saying goodbye would I be excited to see the back of him or would I miss the thought of him not being there?

People have often asked whether we're just friends and my answer is always the same, "yes, of course."

But I have a confession. 

Nick does things to my heart no other man ever has and in his company I find it beating ever faster and ever stronger. But please, don't get excited. I'm being very literal here. 

The effects of a month together with Nick have resulted in my resting heart rate increasing by the tune of nearly 11 beats a minute which is why I now believe that Nick Francis ought to come with a health warning not too dissimilar to those which come on cigarette packs.
Health warning
But before Nick reads this and perhaps gets defensive I should come clean. Out of the two of us I am probably the bad influence. And by probably I mean almost definitely.

You see, whilst I may soon be hitting 30 I still like to drink as if I'm 18. And whilst I have friends who all like to drink, few are so willing - at least at a moment's notice - to just go down the pub and get on one. Nick however... well he too drinks like he's 18 and I think that, in part, is why we get on as well as we do.
We foster and nurture each other's bad influences 
So yeah, spending time with Nick is always good fun but I don't think its very good for us. We foster and nurture each other's bad influences like few else can and over the span of a few weeks this can take its toll. I mean, my FitBit proves that to the tune of nearly 16,000 extra beats per day.

Can you guess on which date in July Nick flew home?

What then was it like when we weren't drinking? I mean, what was it like actually travelling with Nick?
No regrets
It was good. Really good. In fact, I'd go as far as to say it couldn't have gone much better.

Nick is fiercely passive and almost nothing riles him. I remember before leaving having concerns about how he might respond if things didn't go to plan or went horribly wrong, but those concerns were totally unjustified. Whenever buses took too long, hostels were too hot, mosquitoes were too many or when money was stolen, Nick just took it brilliantly in his stride. There was no fuss, no drama, he just got on with it, and that is just what you want in a travel partner.

In 28 days we had not a single argument. That alone is a triumph. I mean there's a good chance he may have wanted to kill me the whole time, but to be honest I'd never have known. After all, if he can drop 200ft on a roller-coaster in just a couple of seconds and not flinch a muscle, he was unlikely to react visibly to my… well my nuisances. 

Whilst little made it to the surface with Nick there were definitely times I could tell Mexico made him feel a little out of his depth. But far from an insult it was actually quite endearing and in a lot of ways reminded me of just how I felt when I first came here 5 or so years ago. I mean, Mexico is nothing like North Devon and at times I think it can feel a little overwhelming. Consequently, Nick unknowingly gifted me a comparative sense of confidence which I wouln't have otherwise had if I'd spent this first month on my own. For that, I'm especially grateful.

This month away was very much a holiday for Nick and consequently it became one for me too. And this is one of the reasons I wanted for him to come along in the first place as I knew it would make transitioning back into living out of a backpack more easy. 

When it came to saying goodbye… well it was everything I imagined. There was a quick hug, he said "have fun," I said "see you in 18 months" and that was that. He was gone. Even by my own standards this was a ruthlessly cold goodbye.

I say that like it was a bad thing. Trust me, its not. I don't do emotional goodbyes. 

I started this post by asking whether after 28 days I would be excited to see the back of him or whether I would miss the thought of him not being there?

Don't get me wrong... A little alone time is going to be nice and I know my body will appreciate the break from drinking. But yeah, for sure, I'm going to miss having him here. I mean it has been a really fun 4 weeks and made for the best start to this trip I could have asked for.

Nick my friend, you're welcome back anytime :)

Interested to find out what happens next? 
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