≡ Menu

Millionaire Pro Baseball Player Who Chooses to Live in his Van

When 21-year-old Daniel Norris got a $2 million signing bonus to pitch for the Toronto Blue Jays one of the first things he decided to do was buy his dream car… Which just happens to be a 1978 Volkswagen Westfalia bus where he lives simply from. Yes. This is also his home.

The young man is from Johnson City, Tennessee and the people who know him definitely think he’s a little weird for his lifestyle choices. But at the same time, they find him interesting. According to GrindTV, Norris says, “I knew after I signed that I was going to get a Volkswagen van. It was my dream car.”

Now the van is set up with solar panels and all. And Daniel uses it to travel to practice training, to adventure, to surf, to go hiking, and more. Doesn’t this story inspire you to consider a similar or just simpler lifestyle? I encourage you to enjoy the rest of this story below and re-share it if you want to. Thanks.

Please don’t miss other interesting tiny homes like this – join our FREE Tiny House Newsletter for more!

Millionaire Pro Major League Baseball Player is also a Van Dweller

Millionaire Pro Baseball Player Who Lives in his Van

Photo © Daniel Norris

Millionaire Pro Baseball Player Who Lives in his Van

Photo © Katherine Williams

Millionaire Pro Baseball Player Who Lives in his Van

Photo © Katherine Williams

Video: Wealthy Pro Baseball Player Chooses Living the Simple Van Life in his VW Van

As Major League pitcher and cancer survivor, Daniel Norris is used to taking some hard knocks. But living out of his van during the offseason provides a sort of “reset” button for the everyday grind.

Major League Detroit Pitcher Embraces Unconventional Van Life

Detroit Tigers pitcher Daniel Norris is more “comfortable being kind of poor,” despite his multi-million-dollar salary, and living intentionally through God’s Word.

The Millionaire Major League Baseball Pitcher that Lives in a VW Van

Daniel Norris signed a bonus worth just over $2 million to join the Blue Jays organization out of high school. While life on the road becomes normal for any pro athlete, the 21-year-old takes things to the next level by spending his summers living in a Volkswagen camper van. VICE Sports traveled down to Blue Jays Spring Training to meet one of the sport’s top pitching prospects.


  1. GrindTV
  2. ESPN
  3. ThePlaidZebra

“Norris’ lifestyle was shaped by his father, who used the family bike shop not just for business but as a way to spread a message: Play outdoors. Love the earth. Live simply. Use only what you need.” –ESPN2

You can share this using the e-mail and social media re-share buttons below. Thanks!

If you enjoyed this you’ll LOVE our Free Daily Tiny House Newsletter with even more!

You can also join our Small House Newsletter!

Also, try our Tiny Houses For Sale Newsletter! Thank you!

More Like This: Vans | Van Life | Van Dwelling | Stories

See The Latest: Go Back Home to See Our Latest Tiny Houses

The following two tabs change content below.


Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 26 comments… add one }
  • Frank
    March 23, 2015, 7:49 am

    I’m envious of him. Not for the 2 millions he received from his job contract. I envious because he is free to live anywhere. Free to interact with different people and have new experiences. In other words, I am envious because he is living life to the fullest, and I still chained like a dog in the backyard. He’s not crazy. I’m the crazy one for not severing the ties that keep me still from exploring the world. He’s a model I hope to aspire some day in the near future.

    • March 23, 2015, 8:52 am

      I love this post! And I agree, completely, with the previous commenter: The fact that Daniel Norris chooses a minimal home when he could easily slip into the old American Dream speaks volumes to his character. I believe more of us are choosing to minimize our carbon footprint, to minimize the time we spend paying for and maintaining a big home, and to minimize our horrible debts and stresses by simply learning to enjoy LIFE as opposed to STUFF. This is a shift from slavery to freedom! The big house was sold to us at such a huge price—our lives! We do have the power to trade that house in for a LIFE! Okay, I’ll step off my soapbox now 🙂

    • Alex
      March 24, 2015, 6:42 pm

      Wow. Well said, Frank. Thanks for sharing!

    • Juli
      March 25, 2015, 5:53 pm

      Frank, you sound like me. I’m “trapped” by association with a homebody fellow that won’t give me his blessing to move on. I’m also vehicle-less after an auto accident in October last year. The first step for me is to get another van that I can call home. The second step is to start taking trips again on my off days, whether or not homebody is in tow. Life will begin again once I can accomplish the first goal at least. I wish you the best karma and blessings!

    • Lorraine
      March 25, 2015, 10:44 pm

      I believe he is free and we are the crazy ones, too. Thanks for expressing it so well. I am paying off 5 acres I love. Just want a bitty house. It seems to take forever. Sometimes I want to barrel off… but spring is almost here and I love playing in the dirt. Maybe if I could camp in a national park every night…

  • Bev
    March 23, 2015, 10:04 am

    Good man!

  • gmh
    March 23, 2015, 9:59 pm

    Well that’s pretty good lookin’. And the van isn’t bad either.

  • Brian
    March 24, 2015, 12:54 am

    There are more pictures and a video on this ESPN link, too! Daniel is inspiring….what an awesome example of sustainable thinking and…sustainable wealth!!


  • Susanne
    March 25, 2015, 5:39 pm

    The guy is not only a great example of living simply but if for some reason he suddenly can’t play ball, he will have most of that money for security! He knows what he’s doing! How many 20-somethings do???!! Impressive.

  • Myra York
    March 25, 2015, 5:50 pm

    Cool. So very humble too. Seems like a good guy.

  • March 25, 2015, 6:24 pm

    Baseball players have a Nomad existence as a rule. Here for 3 months, there for 6, off for a few… If he’s not married (it appears he isn’t), he seems awfully smart. He would have a choice to hang out with his team for meals and entertainment, or go “home” for some alone time. If he is wise, he’ll distance himself from the party scene and this VW Van is a great way to do just that. He seems to have a great head on his shoulders.

  • Karen R
    March 25, 2015, 8:57 pm

    Money does not determine one’s quality of life.

  • Comet
    March 25, 2015, 10:37 pm

    Not to burst anyones bubble but without a hefty sign-on bonus or the like–inheritance; lottery win–buying a Westfalia (and I could not get the viseo to play on my Net tonight so I don’t know exactly which one he bought) can mean an investment of up to $200,000 USD. If it is all original and not an altered one–the original tiny oval roof windows are original etc all parts numbers match etc–it could be even more. They are great but they are spendy. All of them come with a “plate” that tells where they were originally sold and IF they are what they look like they are–for instance those oval windows have been installed on many a VW that was not “born” with them. Doesn’t make them less cool; just less original. The Westfalia WITH the orig ovals is the Holy Grail of campervans. And you can fix them with a nail file and a rubber band. No liquid cooled catalytic converters HERE!!!! One of my yard sale dreams is to find one of these in some old barn.

    • TB
      March 26, 2015, 10:03 am

      The ESPN article says he paid $10k for the van.

      • Alex
        March 26, 2015, 11:16 pm

        Thanks TB! Yup. He paid $10k for it according to the ESPN article.

  • Dominick Bundy
    March 25, 2015, 11:17 pm

    This young man is a millionaire and chooses to live in a 1978 Westphalia VW. What a inspiration and a real cool dude as well. I have so much respect and admiration for people like this..This is one of the best story’s I’ve read in a while. Hope to hear more about his journey in life..

  • Brenda Russell
    March 26, 2015, 9:05 am

    Thank you so much for the memories! We owned a 1978 Westphalia popup (named, officially, Wilhelm von Volkswagon, or Willie for short) from 1979 to 1984 and camped frequently – perhaps 2 of 3 weekends. I never imagined something so square and pea-green would apparently appear invisible to other drivers! But I must say that, for the 5 of us, the weekend camping trips were supplemented by a very large tent. Since the van did not include any sort of stove, I cooked over the fire – and on one truly memorable occasion, held an umbrella over the “fire” that was smoking, rather than grilling, supper burgers. The “hammock” that could be slotted over the driver’s and front passenger seats was a huge favorite of all three boys in turn – the oldest refused to give it up to the next until he simply didn’t fit any more. Best wishes to the ball player – I hope he loves his as much as we did ours. Thanks again for the trip down memory lane.

  • sc
    March 26, 2015, 11:43 pm

    Dang, he is a boss, a very cool vagabond!

    If I didnt have a tiny house for a choice, I would choose a school bus or a gypsy wagon instead of a van. I have to at least be able to stand up in my house.

    • Alex
      March 27, 2015, 12:03 pm

      He makes me want to get a van so bad!! Andrea doesn’t like the idea very much though. Haha.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.