This Pro Baseball Player's Dream Home Is a VW Van

Daniel Norris of the Toronto Blue Jays walks off field after prictice

Keith Allison / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0

Many young athletes who receive a hefty bonus or contract might be tempted to run out and buy a flashy car, a big house, or a bunch of gadgets and toys, but not Daniel Norris, who spent part of his $2 million signing bonus from the Blue Jays on a decidedly different kind of dream home - one on four wheels.

Daniel Norris, a 21-year old Toronto Blue Jays pitching prospect, lives in his '78 VW Westfalia camper.

Frequently asked, "what's your dream home?" - I've got my dream home. This van is a lot more than 4 wheels to me. Location tho? North shore
— Daniel Norris (@DanielNorris18) February 9, 2015

For Norris, an avid outdoorsman who grew up camping, biking, and climbing, the choice to buy and live in a decades-old VW microbus are a natural one, which fits his desire for simplicity in a pro sports culture more known for its excess:

"I think the simplicity of it all was the most appealing. I grew up with a simple lifestyle, and I knew to go into professional baseball that would be tested. In my mind, there’s no need for luxury or at least society’s sense of the word.” - Norris

According to an interview with ESPN, he paid $10,000 for the yellow '78 VW Westfalia camper (which he named Shaggy, after the Scooby-Doo character). It wasn't even for purchase at the time Norris was looking for one, but thanks to his father, who "knew a guy who knew a guy," the bus ended up in Norris' hands, where it received some upgrades (a bed and solar panels) to meet his needs.

Norris told Baseball America that his life in a van isn't so different as one might think:

"As a van-dweller, essentially it’s the same. I still cook my own meals, I have a kitchen—it’s a little fuel-powered stove and I’ve got a couple of pots and pans—and it works pretty well. I enjoy it. The way I grew up, my dad owned a mountain bike shop and that’s really it, so we had to learn to take care of yourself and be sustainable with what you have." - Norris

Over on LifeEdited, David Friedlander muses that Norris' choices, which seem to point to the rise of what he calls "the minimalist celebrity," may be a sign of the times, mirroring the trend of Millennials to dismiss "traditional notions of success" in order to follow their own path:

" ... Norris might be the new, low-key celeb, someone who might have access to vast material resources, but feels compelled to not exploit them; someone for whom simplicity and moderation is ideals to strive for, not signs of failure."

Even if you're not a baseball fan, if you're curious about the #vanlife lifestyle, you can follow along with Norris via his Twitter account or Instagram profile. Who knows, you might decide to ditch the walls for a tiny mobile house, too.