He’s Worth $2 Million, So Why Does Baseball Player Daniel Norris Still Live in His Camper Van?

Would you give up the highlife for #vanlife?

Photo: Daniel Norris

If you’d just signed a two million dollar deal with a Major League baseball team where would you choose to live?

Daniel Norris signed a contract worth $2 million to play for the Toronto Blue Jays back in 2011. But instead of investing in a massive mansion or a huge penthouse flat, the 21-year-old bought himself a 1978 VW camper. Not just to drive around, but to live in – and he’s been loving it ever since.

Norris is about as far from your stereotypical jock as you can imagine and prefers the simpler things in life.

Signing to the Blue Jays straight out of high school would have been a dream to a lot of kids. And you’d imagine being one of the few 21-year-olds in the world able to afford a Bentley might go to some people’s heads.

But Norris, a surfer and climber who’s about as far from your stereotypical jock as you can imagine, prefers the simpler things in life.

Photo: Katherine Williams

“Travelling alone and living on the road can be tough sometimes,” he told the Canadian baseball network (CBN) “but learning to answer my own questions can be very rewarding.”

“I love the journey, the adventure and, well, the surf.”

His trips lead Norris along the coast in search of good surf spots, climbable rock faces and spectacular hiking trails. The camper, which he’s named “Shaggy” provides him with a bed and a place to cook his meals.

Growing up in Johnson City, Tennessee, Norris developed a passion for the outdoors early on. His father owned a mountain bike shop and he was constantly getting out amongst it.

Photo: Sharleen Rydie

Of course in the high profile world of mainstream professional sports, where most players lust after cars or glamour models, Norris’ passions might seem unusual.

But actually, as he pointed out to CBN, a love of climbing and surfing can be hugely helpful when playing baseball.

“Surfing is an unbelievable workout,” he said. “It’s great for your shoulders because you’re kind of mimicking a throwing motion every time you paddle stroke into and through the waves.”

Photo: Daniel Norris

But it’s not just that of course. “The [real] reason I surf though is because it’s the most natural rush you can have.

“The [real] reason I surf though is because it’s the most natural rush you can have.”

“Riding these massive walls of water, it’s exhilarating and mellowing at the same time. It’s just me, the water, the board and God out there. And maybe some fish too.”

It’s a sentiment any surfer will recognise and one that he’s apparently started spreading amongst his team-mates – two or three of whom have accompanied him on camping trips.

Photo: Katherine Williams

And in many ways Norris could be any surfer. It’s just that he has a slightly more high-profile day job. Oh, and several million dollars in the bank.

But for us that only makes it all the more impressive that this mellow, down-to-earth dude manages to stay that way. Long may his life in Shaggy continue.

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