CFB Europe (The Cunningham Family Band)

The Cunningham Family Band

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The Cunningham Family Band

The Cunningham Family Band is composed of Jesse, Ceileigh, Tahnis, Becky and Dave. Learn a little bit about them and their amazing trip through the past and present of Continental Europe.



I've been out of high school for a little more than a year and I work at a Mongolian food restaurant. (what kind of food is Mongolian food? you ask... hmmm). I'm enrolled at Grant MacEwan College, where I'm taking an undeclared B.A.

Not that this trip was a major disappointment or anything, but everything turned out very differently than I expected. Nobody was put up for adoption or left on an Italian roadside, and day to day, everything seemed under control. It isn't until you realize you've slept five hours in the past week and your debit card won't work anywhere, your train is leaving in three minutes and the ticket-taker wants you to give him the (secret) handshake or your luggage won't be delivered to right country or arrive there in one piece, that you realize your not in Kasas anymore.

I think we spent too much time just moving around from one monument to another. That made it hard to be a traveller and not just a tourist. The difference can be subtle. You may feel like a traveller after you've been walking all day, respectfully noting the charcter of the local colour, food and history, but to the locals you're probably still a tourist.

The best stories always happen when something goes horribly wrong. Santorini would have been almost literally, a day at the beach, if not for a thousand stairs and a hundred donkeys all of which I was allergic to. Rome wouldn't have been half as interesting if nobody had tried to pickpocket Dad. Getting lost, being late, or just generally having no comprehension of how everyday events in a foreign country are supposed to go down, provide the only basis to test your coping skills. I guess that's how you become a traveller.



I’m Ceileigh, I’m in my third year of my education degree. Let me start by saying that, there has always been a love of knowledge, food and music in my family, so we naturally applied this love to our exploration of Europe. Right up until the night before we left, we were all busy researching the trip. Everything from favorite Italian recipes to the origins of the French sewage system. We did a ton of research and I think we were all overwhelmed by the amount of information we already had, and yet also a little disappointed we didn’t have time to do more.

One of the hardest things to do while traveling, aside from finding somewhere to sleep, is finding something or somewhere good to eat! It really is just the luck of the draw when it comes to picking a good restaurant; you win some you lose some. Luckily for us, we all have an interest in cooking and along the way we manage to make some pretty terrific meals, not to mention dozens of picnic lunches!

For as long as I can remember we’ve been playing music. Singing in cars, jamming in the living room. Music is a great way to connect with people, so while we were in Europe, taking in the sights it was nice to give something back with our music. It hardly mattered that we couldn’t speak the language.

Traveling can be stressful but also exhilarating as it puts you in many new situations and forces you to deal with them, often in a language you don’t speak. Ultimately, traveling is a huge learning curve that stretches your understanding of both yourself and the world around you.



Hi I’m Tahnis, (pronounced taw-niss). This summer I’m just finishing up my arts degree in history and classics. Right now I’m on an archeological dig in Thessaly, That’s in northern Greece. I thought I would never be done, but I should graduate this fall.

I started playing violin when I was 5, and gave up when I was about 14. I guess I had more important things to do. Luckily I rediscovered fiddle music when I was about 17 and I’ve been playing ever since.

When you travel you spend most of your time watching and observing other people live their day to day lives. It makes you homesick for simple chores like laundry, which when your traveling become a whole day affair. Being suspended like that eventually makes you long to get back to your own life, so you can live it. Not watch others living theirs.



I want to tell you about laundry. Yes, as well as exploring historic sites in six countries, we also carried out the more banal activities of day-to-day life. In some ways, it is through these activities that I found the best reason for traveling.

In Greece we struggled with bizarre bird-shaped structures, which, when assembled properly, turned out to be clothes drying racks. In Venice, the view from our 4th floor apartment was stitched with clotheslines running from building to building; creating an almost festive, flag-waving feeling for those walking on the streets below. While crossing the Tiber River in Rome, I looked down from the bridge and saw a little cave dug into the bank. The person who lives there had staked their claim to it by flying a line of laundry across it mouth. In civilized Paris our rooms included a clothes dryer, while in Dover there was no choice but the laundromat.

In my own life and in my own way, all I ever try to do is to solve the riddle of what it means to be alive. Everywhere I went, I saw people doing the same thing and it was exhilarating to see the creativity of their responses. Whether the question is “How shall I get my clothes clean and dry?” or “How shall I express my love and commitment to my god?”, there are as many answers as there are people in the world.

Traveling is a great way to remind yourself not to get caught in the rut of either your thoughts or your actions. Just as there are many ways to do your laundry, there are many, many answers to the riddle.



It’s a cliché to say that traveling changes you, but it really does. The act of moving through the foreign landscape redefines it for you in a way that reading or hearing about it can only hint at.

For example, you can be having what for you is a new experience, say that of looking at the Acropolis in Athens. But... at the very same time you can be having a parallel experience to that of the long dead democrats of Athens, those early citizen voters, who sat on the "Pynx", the same hill where you're sitting now, waiting to participate in the governing of the Athenian state. Your eyes see what they saw, your feet feel what their feet felt, your skin feels the heat or the breeze that has blown on that hill for thousands of years. And you feel connected to them, down through the ages.

I also found the nature of the land itself incredibly compelling. The earth is paradise, not just in one spot! But everywhere! I couldn’t escape this feeling of wonder, whether we were traveling on the "Road to Rouen" from Paris, or shuffling along the "Apian Way" into Rome. You realize the world was made for human beings, or if you prefer, we are made for it. And the fit between us is perfect.

Travelling can be a very lonely business if you're by yourself, but being in the company of our family was like touring with four of my closest friends. We've shared the excitement and the tedium, the drudgery and elation, as well as the insights and the letdowns, together; as a result we've been drawn even closer.

During our travels my love of the planet and of its people has fused more deeply, and my only regret is that I didn’t make this trip twenty years earlier.