HOUSTON — Growing up in Gainesville, Georgia, the longest trip Deshaun Watson took as a child was to Atlanta, which was less than an hour away.
Because traveling was not something the Houston Texans quarterback experienced growing up, Watson told himself that after he was done with college and had the means to make it happen, he was going to change that.
“I didn’t know it was going to come so soon,” Watson said. “I told myself that if I did fulfill my dream and make it to the NFL or whatever profession I wanted to do, whenever I have the time, I wanted to travel and see the world. That’s for sure what I’m spending my time whenever I get time to do it.”
This offseason, Watson did just that, taking a trip in the spring and visiting five countries: the United Kingdom, Austria, Italy, Egypt and China. He mixed business with pleasure, doing a football camp in each of the countries while making sure to fit in lots of time to sight-see.
“I love historical stuff,” Watson said. “I loved history class when I was in school and I just love to meet new people and trying to expand my brain and my cultural experiences as much as I can.”
Watson had a history-making experience of his own during a trip to Israel this summer, during the break between OTAs and training camp. Watson was baptized in the Jordan River, something he said gave him “a new perspective on life.”
“It was a moment that you can’t really explain, going to Israel and the Holy Land,” Watson said. “It was amazing being able to get baptized in the Jordan River, something that was on my bucket list for a long time. It was a blessing to be able to experience that and feel that energy and just experience the whole deal.
“Just to regroup spiritually, mentally, physically, everything. Just to start from scratch and be able to, I guess not really make a new me, but have a new perspective on life.”
And while getting baptized in the Jordan River might have been the highlight of his summer, Watson also had another pretty cool adventure during his offseason travels: He got to ride — and pose for a picture — on a camel.
“I don’t know what they said to the camel to make it stay still but they said something in whatever language they were speaking,” Watson said. “It stood there, I hopped on it, stood up and got it. It was cool.”