The Simple Life – millionaire pitcher lives in a van

Keeping it Real

As a “top prospect in the Toronto Blue Jays organization and widely regarded as one of the top young pitchers in baseball”, Daniel Norris is a minimalist maintaining his roots in the simple life.

Although he signed a bonus worth over $2 million, Norris spends his offseason living in a 1978 Westfalia. Most people would have gone a little nuts with a couple million bucks in the bank. They’d be tempted to buy a whopping amount of unnecessary stuff. Suddenly receiving a couple of million dollars would inspire a hoard of people to magically pop out of the woodwork, asking you to help them out or buy things from them. 

And then there’s Daniel Norris. He’s doing his own thing and keeping it real. Rather than buying flashy sports cars and living out of hotels, he’s camping out in his van and working out in unconventional ways. “He digs the solitude and the surf, makes his meals on a camping stove and brews his coffee in a French press, sharing his Kerouacian travels on social media.” – thestar.com

He loves outdoor activities like baseball, camping, paddle boarding, rock climbing, mountain bike riding, kayaking and backpacking.

I love the outdoors. I grew up in the outdoors and that’s why I love it. I’m passionate about it — being able to be with the environment and having a relationship with it on a personal level, because you’re living in it,” Norris said. “My dad’s had [the mountain bike shop] for 35 years. His dad had it before him. I’ve been mountain biking my whole life. I’ve been hiking my whole life. “Through backpacking, you really learn to be self-sustainable, and not only through backpacking but also living out of the van and even hiking,” he explained. “That’s a really important thing and it feels really good to be able to take care of yourself.” – milb.com

He’s someone who appreciates having some space. ‘I love my teammates and family but I’m not the kind of person who likes to be around a ton of people. I’m a thinker, I like to be alone with my thoughts.’  ‘When I’m out there, it’s just me, Shaggy (his van) and God and I can really connect with myself. It’s very peaceful.’ – Daily Mail

This 6 minute video gives us a glimpse into Daniel’s van and thoughts on the simple life.  

He talks about spontaneously exploring interesting and remote areas while living nomadically, he says,

This is what I live for. This is the way I was raised up and that’s what I enjoy. Just ‘cause money’s there doesn’t mean that you gotta have nicer things than you used to have, you know. No amount of money can really buy this.

To be fair though, Westfalia vans are super cool. His is a vintage model with it’s inherent quirks. If you have never been inside one, I can tell you that the design is extremely well thought out. They have elegantly sophisticated transforming interiors, while looking unassuming from the outside. In other words, an excellent minimalist abode. 

Daniel’s story is a great example of how minimalism is not determined by the amount of money one has. Minimalism is about streamlining our lives to do more of what we love.

Bodyweight Exercises – No Gear Workouts

Keeping healthy and looking awesome doesn’t require a bunch of exercise equipment.

One of my oldest friends worked as a professional trainer and has studied fitness & body building magazines for years. He swears by squats and pushups. He does them vigorously every day and he looks amazing.

It’s not that he doesn’t have all of the exercise equipment. He has free weights, a rowing machine, treadmill, exercise ball, some wacky ski boots that hook on a bar to do upside down sit ups, etc., etc… but he routinely only does the squats and pushups and insists that’s all you really need to be buff.

His mom, who is now 76 years old does 100 pushups a day! There’s some serious inspiration and motivation to not complain. She looks fantastic too and you’d never guess her age correctly.

For a slightly more elaborate, yet similarly simple exercise regime, including a healthy diet plan and no-gear workout routine, here is a great place to follow a simple formula for fitness. None of the exercises require any equipment whatsoever, and there are links to watch videos of how to properly perform the six basic moves; squat, squat jump, baby burpee, lunge, pushup, and hopscotch.

The workouts are only 16 minutes long. Who doesn’t have 16 minutes? We all do, so no lame excuses. Being slim and fit doesn’t mean that we have to spend tedious hours every day on a treadmill, unless super long workouts make you happy. Spending a few minutes a day to vigorously move your body is investing in your life!

It’s great to know that you don’t need to spend all day, or any money at all, or collect a lot of stuff to stay fit. Buying a lot of expensive gear is generally a huge distraction. For most people exercise equipment is destined to become a guilt ridden dust collector. So save your cash and space for more important things.

An abundance of money is useless without an abundance of health, so keep it simple by using your own body weight to help you get fit and stay that way.

Related reading: Eating Naked with Nude Food

Planned Obsolescence: Light Bulb Conspiracy part 3

The good news is that people all over the world have started acting against planned obsolescence.

When the batteries died in the first ipods, customers were advised to replace the entire $500. piece of hardware, even though the item was under 18 months old. An unhappy (and media influential) customer, started a website called “ipodsdirtysecret.com” which got millions of views. Apple was sued in 2003 by Elizabeth Pritzker and Andrew Westley in a class action suit for the planned obsolescence of the the 3 million ipods sold in the US in the first 2 years.

Apple set up a replacement service for the batteries and extended the warranty. The claimants were offered compensation as well. (Yet, ten years later, I bought an Apple laptop which provides the purchaser no access to the battery. Looks like another remedy is needed.)

Waste from the first world is sent by container shiploads to poorer nations, such as the electronic waste that is sent to Ghana. They get around the international laws by declaring the waste, “second-hand goods” although the items are nonfunctional. The e-waste is destroying their waterways and jeopardizing their futures. Their “country is being used as the world’s trash bin.” “Posterity will never forgive us…(and) the throw-away-attitude… of people in the advanced countries.” – Mike Anane

We’ve come to realize that the planet that we’re living on cannot sustain that forever. There’s a limit to natural resources and there’s a limit to the energy resources that we have. Warner Philips (descendant of the Philips dynasty of light bulb manufacturers).

Philips now produce an LED bulb that lasts 25 years, while promoting sustainability as the best business model, and factoring in the true costs of the resources being used, as well as the energy consumption involved in manufacturing and transportation. If the prices reflected the true costs, then there would be a huge incentive worldwide to make products that last ‘forever’, rather than being as ‘disposable’ as possible. 

A group called “Cradle to Cradle” encourages the rethinking the engineering and production of consumer goods. Their motto is, “Remaking the way we make things”. They state that, “If factories worked like nature, planned obsolescence itself would become obsolete.” There is no waste in nature – only nutrients. Any excess becomes nutrients for other organisms.

This revolution is called “Degrowth”, based on the fact that infinite growth is not possible, so we need to reduce our environmental footprint by reducing our waste, overproduction and overconsumption. By doing so “we get more free time to develop other forms of wealth that can’t be exhausted, for example friendship and learning.” “If happiness was dependent on our consumption level, we’d be 100% content.” Critics of the Degrowth movement worry that it will destroy the economy and take us back to the stone age, but the proponents disagree. “Anti-growth society meets Ghandi’s vision:  ’The world is big enough to satisfy everyone’s needs, but will always be too small to satisfy individual greed.’”

“We increasingly rely on objects to give us a sense of self-esteem and identity… rather than membership in a community or our relationship to the land… which have been replaced by consumerism.”

You can watch the full documentary,The Light Bulb Conspiracy: The Untold Story of Planned Obsolescence, here.