Life in Motion

A childhood on the road means that Emma Figg is an expert at packing. Here she offers useful advice for anyone who has to fit their life in a bag

by Emma Figg

I used to think ‘home’ was somewhere in between Junction 9 and 12 of the M20.

My mum, sister and I made the journey from Dad’s to Mum’s (and vice versa) approximately 6 times a week, totalling 114 hours a year . . . For 10 years. Racking up 1,140 hours of my life, in a car, on the same stretch of road.

Amongst all of that riveting entertainment, we also managed to squeeze in 5 of my subsequent 16 house-moves.

Meaning that if there’s one thing I excel at in life, it’s packing. I can pack a bag, for any occasion, in approximately 15 minutes. I can pack up a house in a weekend. As far as party tricks go, I think you’ll agree – that’s a pretty impressive one. (You try packing for a week’s camping trip in 15 minutes without forgetting so much as a spork, I dare you.)


What all that packing up and moving on has taught me however, are some incredibly useful and philosophical life lessons . . .

One: you always need more knickers than you think you do. (Possible pant-loss scenarios include: falling in rivers, inexplicably losing multiple pairs between point A and point B of your journey, or ripping off an entire waistband when drunkenly attempting to change silently in the room next door to a sleeping parent.)

Two: what you haven’t worn/watched/sentimentally stared at in a year, ditch.

Three: you will always return to a size 16 in winter – stop gleefully throwing out your ‘fatty-jeans’ in the summer, woman.

Four: ‘phone charger, contact lenses, purse, keys, phone charger, contact lenses, purse, keys, phone charger . . .’

Five: a house is just a house. You are home. Family is home. Security comes from relationships, from your own sense of acceptance, not bricks . . . Even if the bathroom is lush.

Six: The Big One – Life always changes, be ready for it.

You never know when you’re going to take a direct hit to the face with the next big bag of life-poo. And in my experience these situations seem to happen pretty routinely around the time when you just start to feel a little bit smug about the latest success at work/financial windfall/partner buying you 12 custard doughnuts.

Hope for the best, secretly keep all non-essentials in easy-to-move boxes for the next Big Change.

Keep smiling,


Emma Figg | Carpe Diem

Emma is a twenty-something female. Which makes her feel stuff that she needs to write down. Lena Dunham is her spirit animal. As is lasagne.