Meet Daniel Norris, the MLB Player Who Lives in a Volkswagen Van



Daniel Norris, 21, of the Toronto Blue Jays is a signed $2 million pitcher, and he’s is off to an impressive start in his career. However, the most interesting aspect of this upcoming athletic star is the way he’s chosen to live his life—in a 1978 Volkswagen Westfalia van.




Norris signed with the Blue Jays directly out of high school in 2011. Rather than waste his earnings on the stereotypical pleasures associated with large sums of cash, he handed his finances over to an adviser, and allots himself a basic amount each month to get by. After buying his van, which he has affectionately nicknamed “Shaggy”, he then set out on the road. He now spends his off-season looking for epic surf spots, hiking trails, and climbing walls.

I’m actually more comfortable being kind of poor,” Norris stated in an interview with GrindTV.




Every year Norris visits the Tennessee Mountains, then hits the Carolina Coast for some surfing, before heading back to Florida for baseball training. Between the hiking, rock climbing, and surfing, Norris keeps himself in excellent condition.

During training, he often parks his van in locations such as Wal-Mart parking lots. A typical morning includes breakfast cooked on a portable stove, then pull-ups and resistance exercises on abandoned grocery carts. The bulk of his belongings include a surfboard, a subzero sleeping bag, one pair of jeans, and a journal he writes in every night.

According to ESPN’s report:

He has always lived by his own code, no matter what anyone thinks: a three-sport star athlete in high school who spent weekends camping alone; a hippie who has never tried drugs; a major league pitcher whose first corporate relationship was with an environmental organization called 1% for the Planet. He is 21 and says he has never tasted alcohol. He has had one serious relationship, with his high school girlfriend, and it ended in part because he wanted more time to travel by himself. He was baptized in his baseball uniform. His newest surfboard is made from recycled foam. His van is equipped with a solar panel. He reads hardcover books and never a Kindle. He avoids TV and studies photography journals instead.”




It’s like a yin-and-yang thing for me,” he told ESPN. “I’m not going to change who I am just because people think it’s weird. The only way I’m going to have a great season is by starting out happy and balanced and continuing to be me. It might be unconventional, but to feel good about life, I need to have some adventure.”



Norris maintains that baseball is his top priority, but that hitting the road a few months out of the year during the off-season keeps him fresh during the seven to eight months that baseball consumes his life. The way he has chosen to live serves as an inspiration to many for its simplicity, and it proves that money doesn’t always buy happiness, and that it doesn’t always corrupt.



Froelich, Amanda. True Activist. Mar 25, 2015. (

Murphy, Patrick. Gear Junkie. Apr 6, 2015. (

Saslow, Eli. ESPN. Mar 5, 2015. (

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