When most people go backpacking, be it around their own country or further afield, they tend to pack light, wary of dragging along too much heavy and unnecessary baggage.
However, there are always those little extras that can be the difference between you having a good time and experiencing one of the most immersive journeys of your life.
When travelers think of games or pastimes to pack there are the usuals like a notebook, camera, frisbee or hacky sack.
These are all great, but they do tend to single you out as someone trying very hard to fit the stereotypical “traveler” mold, so why not take an American football instead?
How many people can say they have scored a touchdown on a wilderness trail?
Great Way to Make Friends
First and foremost an American football is a great way to make friends. It is versatile in that it can be used to bond one-on-one with someone during a simple game of catch or can bring two groups of people together for a full-scale game.
To avoid things getting too physical, just make it a game of touch football instead. When the game is done you can even get down to the nitty-gritty of Super Bowl Futures with your newly converted football fanatics. Who knows, the place you are staying might even let you watch a game or two!
The gift of an American football is far more appealing to people than a friendship bracelet or a self-portrait photograph
Cultural Exchange Made Easy
To so many communities outside of your own, the likelihood that sport is a gateway into how that community lives is probably high, with many viewing soccer players as gods or top boxers as messiahs.
This means that many folks will instantly be disarmed by the prospect of playing your game and will likewise be charmed if you attempt to learn theirs.
Breaking the Language Barrier
Often one of the biggest boundaries to interacting with locals on your travels is language, with backpackers constantly seen with their language guides out trawling for keywords to get them by.
Although football will not suddenly turn you into a polyglot, it does have the power to help you communicate through actions of sportsmanship, kindness, and team comradery.
So, there you have it, the next time you pack your rucksack for another epic adventure, make sure a well inflated football is among your treasured belongings.