How a Walk on a Sunny Day in Munich Helped Me Find My Father

Karen Espig
5 min readJan 1

Sometimes healing takes a really long, winding path

There are many elements to the back-story that brought me to Munich, but suffice it to say, one never knows what-leads-to-what in the universe. Chance encounters and an open heart and mind, in my experience, allow for interesting solutions and opportunities.

My father, who was German, died when I was 19 years; I am now older than he was when he died, which is surreal. He lived all of his adult life in Canada, visiting Germany only sporadically over the years. I last visited the country when I was 4 ½ years old during the Christmas season, with my parents and younger sister, but not again — until a few weeks ago, and only because I had to.

Photo copyright of the author — Munich, December, 2022

Since moving a year ago to a small town in Albania, I had travelled to 10 countries, none of them Germany, and at no point did my wanderlust tempt me to go there. The universe, however, intervened in a way I could not ignore. To be dramatic, my health actually depended on it.

In my pursuit of tracking down medication I require (which I now know is manufactured only in Canada — lesson learned), the most viable option that emerged, was to order a slightly different formulation online and have it delivered to an address within Germany (where it is manufactured and sold over-the-counter).

I was already going to be in Budapest, Hungary, so I added a detour to Munich at the end of my trip, arriving late in the evening.

I had arranged to pick up my medication in the evening the next day, from a friend of a friend (here is where chance encounters, and being open to the universe played a role), so the day was mine. I did what I usually do when I travel: walk around aimlessly with my camera, looking for visual inspiration and sensing what was unique about the place. It was a beautiful mid-December Monday — sunny with just a sprinkle of snow on the ground. The city was quiet, and the Christmas market vendors had not opened up their booths yet.

Photo copyright of the author — Munich, December, 2022

As I walked, a persistent thought rolled around in my mind, this was my father’s

Karen Espig

I am a contemporary figure painter, working primarily in oils. I am also a Canadian Expat currently in Albania. Follow my art and travel journey.