I never actually picked this place. It just ended up that way.
September 21, 2018 10:30 AM   Subscribe

Meet Sjors Horstman. He has spent the last 31 years of his life at the bottom of the Grand Canyon as a volunteer for the National Park Service. posted by cichlid ceilidh (10 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
What a delightful change of pace his lifestyle is. Thanks for sharing.
posted by jillithd at 10:54 AM on September 21, 2018

Thanks for the post! Reading it was a mini vacation for me.
posted by Bella Donna at 11:15 AM on September 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

Thanks for sharing this! I've met Sjors on a number of occasions, but had no idea what his story was. He seems like a good guy.

If you like the idea of volunteering in the parks, you can go to volunteer.gov, select "National Park Service" for the agency list, and search for opportunities. Search for something with one of the housing amenity options if you want to actually live in the park. For example, here's a current listing for Rainbow Bridge National Monument, with housing at a marina on Lake Powell, accessible only by boat.

You can also search for a job with the Park Service or one of its concessionaires.
posted by compartment at 2:34 PM on September 21, 2018 [5 favorites]

Retirement plans: check

Thank you, compartment.
posted by Songdog at 4:02 PM on September 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

Call my crazy but at this point couldn’t they just give him an actual job? I mean, I know he says he doesn’t want the paperwork but $15 a day for “volunteering” is criminal.
posted by lydhre at 5:10 PM on September 21, 2018 [2 favorites]

Also, how does he cover subsistence costs or feed himself?
posted by Valued Customer at 6:42 PM on September 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

posted by homunculus at 7:51 PM on September 21, 2018

I'm wondering how he's going to support himself in old age. I'd assume $15 a day would not make you eligible for Social Security.
posted by tavella at 9:22 PM on September 21, 2018

Horstman suspects that he'll stay at the ranch for another few years. Last year, a bout of knee pain reminded him that his body won't always be able to meet the physical demands of his post. But he appears unfazed by the logistics of such a major transition and speaks of it calmly, as if it were a shift in the canyon's wind.

"I think I'm too young to stress about those kind of things," he says. "I see people buying a house, and they're half my age, and I'm like: 'What are you doing? You're not ready to settle down.' Ten years from now, I'm only 72. Later on, maybe I'll come up with a base."

I didn't find this article charming or endearing. This is the most stressful thing I've read all day. I worry about his savings. I worry about his future housing situation. I worry about his teeth and his health. $15 a day. This country is no place for an old man like he will be.
posted by AlSweigart at 11:10 AM on September 22, 2018 [3 favorites]

What a hell of a life he's lived though!
posted by BlueHorse at 7:08 PM on September 22, 2018

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