Meet the Man Who Moved into a Sandcastle 22 Years Ago & Never Looked Back


If you could live in any kind of house in the world, what would it be? An igloo or pyramid perhaps?

For me, I would love to live in a treehouse high up in the trees, surrounded by wildlife. There would be a rope ladder you would have to climb to reach my humble abode and wooden bridges to connect the houses in the little treehouse neighborhood. And a large swing hanging off one of the branches.

I would also love to have it placed somewhere picturesque, either hiding deep in a forest or overlooking a beautiful lake.

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One man in Brazil, however, has chosen to make his home next to the beach in the sand.

Marcio Mizael Matolias has lived in a sandcastle on the beach of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for 22 years.

“If the castle collapses, I’ll build another one. I’ll move away, build another one over there,” he said. “I like this ephemeral lifestyle.”

Matolias is 44 and gave up his apartment for a more simple way of life. With a plastic crown on his head, he truly is the king of his own sandcastle.

Would you live in a sandcastle on a beach?

His castle is about 32 square feet, but he lives alone amongst his books so it is enough space for him. He cooks his meals outside his living space on a stove and showers at the fire station across the street for a dollar. If it gets too hot, he will sleep at a friend’s house.

“The truth is I wasn’t thinking about living here. My idea was to use it to store materials and store books,” Matolias explained. “But when it rained, I would stay here. And when I paid my rent, I would end up staying here anyway.”

Tourists visiting the area sometimes stop by to get pictures with “King” Matolias and his castle, and they also leave him donations.

“I’m happy! As everyone says and as you can also read in some books, happiness is a spiritual state,” he said. “I try to be happy always, even if I have moments of sadness, I cry, I feel alone. Even though I like being alone, there are times I feel lonely.

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“I think that that is happiness: it is being ok with yourself.”

Would you give up everything and move into a sandcastle? I would definitely have to take a sand sculpting class or two before even attempting it.

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith