At his first dinner while on vacation this summer, Jonny David ate … ostrich.
“It was really good,” he said. “Kind of like steak. A more tender steak.”
An ostrich dinner — it didn’t taste like chicken? — explains what going on vacation means for David and his family. The trips are part adventure and part fact-finding tour. In the process, life-long memories are made for the Kentucky sophomore, two older brothers, a younger sister and their parents.
David dined on ostrich to begin a trip to Africa. The family visited South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana. They saw Victoria Falls, which CNN has dubbed one of the seven natural wonders of the world, and climbed Table Mountain, a popular tourist attraction on the outskirts of Cape Town.
For family patriarch and vacation organizer Joe David, the trips are reunions that foster togetherness. Instead of the familiarity of the old homestead, the Davids spend time together at exotic locales around the world.
“I always wanted to do something where they could learn different cultures,” said Joe David, a sports therapist in Pittsburgh.
When asked where the family had gone on past vacations, Jonny pulled out his cell phone and read from a list: Canada, Mexico, China, Jordan, Egypt, Israel, Italy, England, France Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, Greece, Turkey, Spain, Monaco, Denmark, Norway, Estonia, Russia, Finland, Sweden, the Bahamas and this year’s trip to southern Africa.
David has a favorite destination.
“Venice, Italy, for sure,” he said. “It’s so unique. Everywhere you look, it looks like it should be on a postcard. The food’s great. I’d go back there any day.”
Joe David said Venice won the hearts of all his sons and his daughter, although not necessarily because of the city’s famous canals.
“They initially liked it because you can drink, I think, at 16 when you’re in Venice,” he said with a chuckle.
David said the trips bring perspective.
“It makes the world seem smaller,” the UK player said. “When you look at a map, you can kind of see places and say, ‘I’ve been there.’ It kind of opens your eyes to some things, different cultures.”
David first thought of going to Australia this summer so the family could visit his former UK teammate Isaac Humphries. Joe David thought such a long trip might be too challenging.
“Whether we go to Africa or China, it doesn’t make a difference,” Joe David said. “The biggest blessing is being together, and that’s when we have our most fun. We’re all eating together every meal and going together to different places.”
The elder David did not grow up going on such vacations. He and his family were content to “hang around the pool all summer,” he said. “So maybe I’m making up for it. I don’t know.”
Of the advantages these family trips hold, Jonny David cited how there’s no humdrum beach vacation. Well, that’s not exactly true.
“Sometimes we go to the beach, too,” his father said. “It’s just in another country.”
Joe David doesn’t like warm-weather destinations. August is late winter in Cape Town, which is about as far from the equator in the southern hemisphere as Atlanta is in the northern hemisphere.
“Sometimes it’s not always exotic,” Joe David said of the vacations. “But as long as we’re together, that’s the best part of it all.
“Next year, it could be Lexington. Who knows?
Lexington? Surely no Lexington restaurant serves ostrich.
Perhaps, Joe David said, but Cape Town and other family vacations to places most familiar to readers of National Geographic “don’t have horse racing or the whiskey or the level of college basketball that Lexington has.”