Man avoids paying rent by living inside a giant sandcastle for over two decades

Man avoids paying rent by living inside a giant sandcastle for over two decades

With the way the world is heading these days, I'm sure many of us frequently get the desire to escape society and go live in our own little private paradise somewhere. Perhaps a treehouse in the woods where there's no cell reception, or a desert island far away from all the pressure of 21st-century living.

Or - if you're Marcio Mizael Matolias - a literal palace.

Well, one made of sand, anyway.

Matolias, who is from Rio de Janeiro, built himself a castle on the beautiful shores of Barra da Tijuca over 20 years ago, and he still enjoys its luxuries today.

Having grown up on the Brazilian coast, Matolias has always been familiar with the beach lifestyle. But, by the time he turned 22, he realized he did not have the funds to sustain a livelihood in the place he'd always known and loved.

Rather than give up on his dream, though, Matolias took matters into his own hands and built himself an incredible castle along the beachfront. As a result, he now enjoys a peaceful lifestyle, and has become known amongst locals and tourists as "The King".

"I grew up in the Bay of Guanabara, I always lived on the beach," he said. "People pay exorbitant rents to live in front of the sea, I do not have bills and here I have a good life."

While everyone around him spends their time slaving away to afford some beachfront property, Matolias passes the days by working on his castle, playing golf, and going fishing. He also spends a huge portion of his life reading, and has set up a sort of library outside his home where people can borrow or buy books in exchange for a voluntary donation.

However, the King has run into one or two issues during his tenancy in the castle.

Even though the palace might look like a magnificent spectacle from the outside, the interior is actually quite cramped. In fact, Matolias only has about three square meters (32 square foot) to keep all his books, his sleeping bag, and the few other possessions he owns.

What's more, because of the scorching heat of the Brazilian summer, the 44-year-old is sometimes unable to sleep inside. "The sand holds all the heat, so sometimes at night I can not sleep here," he explains. "I'll spend the night at a friend's house, but I prefer it here even if I have to lie outside by the sea."

Matolias has also been the victim of theft on several occasions and sometimes finds that the donation box he leaves out has been emptied by opportunistic passersby. However, he tries not to let it get to him, saying that he gives out the books "for pleasure", and does not want to "live in paranoia" about being robbed again.

Despite his problems, the innovative architect is perfectly happy in his home - and the local government does not seem to have much of a problem with him, either.

"I have become a sort of tourist attraction and social service, too," Matolias joked with reference to his library.

He isn't breaking any laws by living on the beach and, if anything, his presence seems to encourage tourism to the area.

In the future, Matolias hopes to reinforce his home with more sustainable materials. But, until he does, he will continue sculpting and renovating its sandy walls while doing his best to prevent his livelihood being washed away by the sea.