columnist Alex Clelland gives students advice once every five years when the crest of the moon shines brighter than the Ursa Major. Please mail in your questions for 2026 to 55 Gould Street.
I’m so overwhelmed with the toxic demands of our capitalist society. I think it’s time for me to quit my job, drop out of school and become a hermit that lives in the woods. Any survival tips?
Love, Aspiring Forest Fairy.
Dear Aspiring Forest Fairy,
You’ve come to the right place. I like to consider myself an expert in survival thanks to National Geographic
, the hot guy at my local Canadian Tire who taught me about jumper cables and that interactive Bear Grylls Netflix show where you make important decisions to keep Grylls alive. (He totally lived to see another day under my watch.)
You’re also in luck because spicy fairy erotica has been trending on social media lately, so fairy escapism is so in right now. That being said, there’s nothing I hate more than seeing someone announce they’re ‘taking a break from social media,’ only to return three days later. You can’t live off the Instagram grid for 72 hours and call that a detox.
I say, why not go the extra mile and live your best life in the woods? Ditch the internet entirely. Who needs plumbing anyway? Maybe you can even snag a hot fairy boyfriend in the bushes behind your local Circle K convenience store.
I totally understand where your stress is coming from. Capitalism is a never-ending strain on our society that has cruelly and inescapably forced us to live under the boot of the corporate bourgeois elite. I’m definitely not
buying another pair of shoes on Amazon as I write this.
But hey, we’ve all been there. Getting overwhelmed by society’s expectations is practically human nature with everything going on in our lives. There’s nothing quite like a stress-fuelled mental breakdown in the middle of the night where you question every life decision you’ve made up until this point. Although my breakdowns usually end with me lusting over Expedia packages in Italy so I can live out my Romeo and Juliet
fantasies (minus the melodramatic deaths), the woods can work too.
If you’re truly dead set on leaving it all behind and ready to trade electricity for campfires and toilet paper for tree leaves, go for it! Human beings all survived in the woods at some point in history, so how hard can it be? Somewhere buried within all of us exists the hardwired instincts we relied upon for hundreds of thousands of years, before the invention of Keurig coffee machines.
So let’s get you started with some essential survival tips to get in touch with your prehistoric ancestors:
Tip #1: Pack lightly
Nobody wants to ruin their best clothes by hanging out in a dirty forest. Leave your Lululemon leggings and Patagonia jackets behind and opt for clothes you don’t mind ruining when you inevitably sleep on the cold, muddy ground. It’s key that you pack only the essentials so that when you ultimately decide you miss your bed, heating and clean water, there’s less stuff to embarrassingly lug back home. Note: This is especially important for when you end up fleeing from a pack of coyotes in the middle of the night.
Tip #2: Stay hydrated
Since you’ll be packing lightly, you’ll probably be leaving your several moisturizers and serums at home. The only way you’ll take care of your complexion during your adventure in the woods is with plenty of water. Remember to BYOB (bring your own bucket) to catch some rainwater or just stock up on some Dasani at the Circle K. I know, I know: “But, Alex, what about the environment?”
Listen, when you’re dying of dehydration in the middle of the forest, beggars can’t be choosers. However, beggars can
choose a good bottled water brand, and you wouldn’t catch me dead drinking Nestlé Pure Life.
Tip #3: Know how to build a fire to burn evidence of all your online shopping. And, you know, to survive and stuff
The cavemen discovered the existence of fire for a reason, and there’s nothing cute about freezing to death. Whether you’re roasting some foraged nuts over the flame or burning your Amazon receipts to really stick it to the man, fire is essential for survival. Plus, it’s a really great metaphor for burning the bridges of your past life as a capitalistic slave. And isn’t that what this whole adventure is really about? Intense symbolism. Even in your darkest moments, when the fire has gone out and your only possessions are your thoughts, you can comfort yourself with the fact that you’re being so
deep right now.
I hope these tips helped your plight, Aspiring Forest Fairy. When it comes to survival, remember to trust your instincts, stay hydrated and curse Jeff Bezos for your disillusionment. And when all else fails, remember that this will all make a great storytime video on TikTok.
This column is brought to you by Dasani and Circle K