Bills' Andre Roberts has seen it all, from Alaska to Antarctica

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Andre Roberts takes in all the sights and sounds during a 2013 trip to Cartagena, Colombia. Photo courtesy of Andre Roberts

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The way Buffalo Bills veteran Andre Roberts travels, the dateline for this story could easily be Sydney, Australia. Or Cartagena, Colombia. Or maybe South Africa.

His NFL journey includes six teams and two Pro Bowls in 10 seasons, but it is the trips he takes when he's not playing that fuel the wide receiver and return man. Roberts, 32, who has visited every continent, says the travel bug was instilled in him long before he entered the league in 2010.

Born in Fairbanks, Alaska, to two Army parents, Roberts moved from Alaska to Texas and to South Carolina before living in the Virgin Islands for a year while his parents were stationed in Korea. In eighth grade, he moved back to South Carolina, where he graduated from Spring Valley high school (Columbia) and The Citadel (Charleston).

"You never know what it is, but I do think moving around, having that change of scenery kind of inspired that," Roberts said of his itch to explore. "It's kind of who I am as a person -- I like to be on the move and be in different places."

Roberts was selected No. 88 overall in the third round by the Arizona Cardinals in 2010, and as his NFL career afforded him the means to travel more, he began collecting experiences from around the globe. He met his wife, Olivia, in her home country of Australia, visited the Great Barrier Reef and saw the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt.

Of course, there were a few experiences he won't be trying again.

"In South Africa, we went bungee jumping -- definitely will never do that again," Roberts said. "It was fun, but it was one of those things where you do it one time, you have that experience and you never do it again.

"One time, I was in Belize [Central America] and we were scuba diving, swimming around by the boat, and there were sharks in the water. I believe they were nurse sharks, so they weren't really that dangerous -- but you see a shark in the water, it doesn't really matter what kind of shark it is. You're in their element, so it's still kind of scary.

"That's probably something I'll never do again -- swimming with sharks. That's probably not a good idea."

With the stamps in his passport adding up, Roberts crossed a destination off his list that only a small segment of the world's population has experienced -- Antarctica. He accomplished it via a cruise with former Cardinals teammate Larry Fitzgerald.

"It was something that had been on my radar for a while," Fitzgerald said. "We went and did it, and it's one of those experiences that you never forget."

The weeklong trip included exploration of Earth's coldest continent as well as a "polar plunge" -- during which Roberts and Fitzgerald jumped into the freezing water from their boat; Roberts added the frigid dip to the list of experiences he will never do again.

Then there was the barbecue while in the Antarctic.

"Me and Dre [Roberts] had the coldest barbecue we ever had in our life," Fitzgerald said. "We never had a barbecue in zero degrees before, so when you get your meat off the grill, it was cold once it hits your plate."

But mostly the trip served as an adventure that will "stand the test of time" for the football friends and travel partners. Roberts and Fitzgerald once spent nearly a month traversing Central and South America for Roberts' birthday -- including stops in Nicaragua, Panama and Colombia.

It was in Panama where Roberts said he was convinced to try some unorthodox cuisine.

"I had some termites," he said. "They said it tasted like pepper ... I was like, 'You know what, let me just try it.' Unfortunately, I got a stomach virus -- surprisingly, right? I'll never eat termites again; that was an experience."

With families and young children, Roberts and Fitzgerald don't travel as often together nowadays. They still manage to take annual trips to Australia, and it hasn't taken a negative toll on their friendship.

"I feel like Dre in a different life would be my blood brother," Fitzgerald said. "We have so many commonalities in terms of our work ethic and the way we view life. ... There's so many things that we see through the same lens. That's why we're so close. There's nobody I'm closer to in the world."

Roberts' wandering ways, from living in different locales along with playing for six NFL teams, have served him well during his pro career. Despite the constant transition, he has established himself as one of the league's premier return specialists. He played in the Pro Bowl on Jan. 26, catching two passes for 30 yards and a touchdown and returning two punts in the AFC's 38-33 victory.

"I was well prepared for the league and how much you can change spots," he said. "You never know, once you get in the league, how often you'll move. But I think moving around as a young child and a young person helped me once I got in the league -- having to get to know new cities, new people, new places and getting used to that change.

"It helps me be more grateful for what I have and what we have in this country. I've been to every continent, so you get to see how people in Argentina live, how people in South Africa live. It's pretty revealing, and you just become more grateful for what you have."