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Nerd Nomads – Geeking Out On Travel With Divi!

Posted on May 2 by in Customer Spotlight | 109 comments

Nerd Nomads – Geeking Out On Travel With Divi!

This post is part of our Customer Spotlight series. If you have an interesting story to tell and would like to share your experience with WordPress and Elegant Themes on our blog, please contact us!

I am Maria Wulff Hauglann, a computer specialist from Northern Norway, now a world traveller together with my boyfriend.

After finishing our Master’s degrees in Computer Science in 2005, we took off traveling through Asia for five months. That trip changed our life, and from that moment we were hooked on traveling, adventures and pushing our limits from the safe and normal life at home. Since then we have been traveling every year, taking advantage of the five weeks of holiday Norwegians get each year. In 2013 we took another big step towards satisfying our never ending craving for traveling, taking leaves from our IT jobs in Norway, and heading out into the world once again for a long trip. We left our safe Norwegian harbor October 2013, with not much planned or booked, only a one-way ticket to Asia. So far the plan is to travel till August 2014.

After a few months of traveling, our friends and family started to nag about pictures and news from our travels, and we figured out we wanted to make a travel blog. That way they, and everyone else who wants to, can follow along and hopefully be inspired by our journey.

sigiriya_sri_lanka

To reflect our personalities, and help us stand out a little from the jungle of travel blogs out there, we came up with the name Nerd Nomads, a travel blog written by nerds for nerds. And by nerd we mean anyone that is truly passionate and curious about the world we live in. Be it its diverse culture, its food, languages, sports, pop culture, music or technology. “Nerd. One whose unbridled passion for something defines who they are as a person, without fear of other people’s judgment.” —Zachary Levi. Our definition of “nerd” is not stigmatized by a perceived lack of social skills, but rather one that celebrates the mad, the inspired, and the passionate!

We wanted a webpage where we could geek out on any and all things interesting we come across on our journey! The people we meet, the cultures, the sights, the beaches, the food, and the hotels and shopping.

Why WP and Divi?

We didn’t learn much about web design and web development at the University where we both took our Master’s degree in Computer Science. We mainly did software programming in languages such as Java and C.

But of course most people assume you know how to create a website, simply because you have a degree in Computer Science. So I have over the years helped friends and family set up their webpages, teaching myself along the way. First it was all Photoshop and Dreamweaver, and then I discovered a little known CMS called ModX and built a site with that. It was all HTML and CSS, so it was an easy CMS to get started with.

However ModX’s lack of plugins and pre-made themes made it less than ideal for our new travel blog. For Nerdnomads we needed something more powerful and flexible. WordPress being the most dominant CMS was the obvious choice, and after a short test run, we knew it would be a perfect match for us! Easy to install, free, and web based, yet very powerful and customizable.

After setting up WordPress, we started looking around for pre-made themes, but soon found out there is an endless jungle of themes out there! We couldn’t really afford to buy and try out every theme that caught our eye. Elegant Themes offered a great solution with their subscription model. When we first signed up, Divi had just been released, and was making a lot of buzz.

NerdNomads-Screen-Shot-header_3

It sounded like the perfect theme for us with it`s nice design, extreme flexible layout options, and it`s potential for customization. We needed something that would be easy to use, and that we could start using immediately. And Divi delivered! We particular like the page builder module! It`s so easy to customize each page and make quick changes by moving things around.

NerdNomads-Screen-Shot-header_2

As for our design, while we liked the look of Divi right out of the box, we wanted our site to be warm and “cozy”, like our “web-home”, as well as having a travel feel and vibe to it. So we made quite a few changes to the Divi theme in CSS. Thanks to the great support from the support forum, we were able to make exactly the webpage we wanted! In today`s digital world, where everyone uses their mobile and tablets for web surfing, it was also very important for us to find a theme that is responsive, and looks good on these portable devices, which Divi does.

We are so pleased with how Divi works, it satisfies all our needs! With the upcoming Divi 2.0 soon to be released, I`m sure we will continue using Divi as our travel blog evolves, and our travel around the world continues.

koh_chang_thailand

109 Comments

  1. Great experience with Divi! Thanks for sharing, María!

  2. That’s amazing that you built that with Divi – Stunning site. Any chance you could share the css that allowed you to do that with the logo? I have not yet been able to get mine that good through the threads in the forum.

    • Yes, please share how you did that cool logo effect! Thanks in advance, Maria, and happy travels!!!

      • Thanks jhj4! Glad to hear that you like what we have done with Divi! :)

        jhj4 and Eric, I’ll be happy to write an article on the logo customization/ effect for you all. Will write a blogpost about it on nerdnomads.com, and leave a comment here when it’s ready.

        • Fabulous!! – your site is great!!

        • Thanks Maria. I am using Divi on a couple of the blogs I have and I too am curious about the “logo effect” that you were able to produce. I am using some CSS customization on another blog that uses Divi, but I have not been able to get the exact effect I am looking for on that one. The site is not live yet or I would post it here, but it’s set to go live in about 2 weeks and I’d love to see what CSS you have used!

          Great travel blog and thank you so much for contributing. We wish you the best in your travels.

          -Denise Blackman

    • Thanks, I love what you’ve done as well and would also love to have the CSS for the logo effect.

      • Thank you Annabelle! :) Yep, will write a blog post about the logo effect, and let you know how it’s done.

  3. Hi Maria,

    EXCELLENT Divi site! I’ve made two Divi sites so far. I love how you’ve extended it though, nice touches! Did you modify the template to add the icons next to the menu links? Very cool! The logo is great too :) Congrats!

  4. Aww the photos are from my country Sri Lanka. Another reason to love Divi.

    • Ah, we absolutely loved Sri Lanka, Jay!!! What a great country with amazing people and super tasty food! Hope to go back there soon.

  5. I love how the theme is so popular yet it is so customizable. I have never seen two (decently traffic’d) Divi themed sites that look the same.

    • Yeah, totally agree with you William. That Divi is so customizable is one of the reasons why we love it! :)

  6. What a wonderful article.

    It inspired me to plan an unplanned trip this summer… just buy a ticket somewhere and see what happens.

    Thanks! Love it, and joined your blog for updates.

    ALSO…. please add my gentle request for an article on how you get your delightful logo to work the way it does….(custom css).

    Anyways…. once again… thanks for sharing your travels and your experiences with us…

    ==>Jim

    • So happy to hear that we inspired you to travel, Jim! That made my day! :)

      I’ll be happy to write an article on the logo customization for you all. Will write a blogpost about it on nerdnomads.com, and leave a comment here when it’s ready.

      Happy travels!

  7. What a beautiful site Maria. You did an amazing job customizing the Divi theme. Very original. I am blown away by several features. The logo, the custom dividers and post date images, the torn paper backgrounds in the sections and the background in general. You definitely have an eye for design. Keep up the good work and thanks for the inspiration.

    • Thank you so much for those nice words Geno!! We put a lot of love and hard work on the small details in our design, so happy you noticed and liked it! :)

    • Thank you for the post on how you created the larger logo. I love the background too. Could you write a post on that as well? Or at least give me the approach.
      I am new to this and find your site is a great example to learn from.

  8. Hhhmmmmm…

    “Forbidden

    You don’t have permission to access / on this server”

    • I think all the hits crashed it for a moment but it is back up and running. This blog sure gets us lots of exposure :-) Thanks ET!

  9. Love it! I, too, amd dying to know how you positioned your logo and floated it over the navbar.

    Great site!

    • Thanks J. Barousse! :)

      I’ll be happy to write an article on the logo customization for you all, and how I positioned it so it floats over the navbar. Will write a blogpost about it on nerdnomads.com, and leave a comment here when it’s ready.

      • I love the attention to detail, looks amazing. Looking forward to your post on the logo! Thanks

        • Thank you so much Ronnie!! So cool when people notice the little things! Appreciate it! :) The blog post about the logo is coming up shortly…..

  10. Nice job! I have a travel site too using Divi. What plugin did you use for the Sri Lanka map? I love how that turned out!

    • Thanks Veronica! Will definitely check out your travel site!

      I used the plugin WP Geo for all the maps: http://www.wpgeo.com/. The styling of the maps is a bit of a “hack”, to get the colors and the styling the way they appear on the web page.

      Happy travels! :)

  11. Great article, Maria! This is by far one of the most unique and beautiful ways I have seen divi used since it came out; I love the website!

  12. Gorgeous site! Wonderful customization! :)

  13. Man! What an absolutely beautiful and AWESOME customization of the Divi theme. Super-kudos! I’m still striving to develop the chops needed to churn out customization to the level done with Nerd Nomads. Thanks for sharing and inspiring!

    • Thank you so much, Jordan! That was an AWESOME comment to receive! :) Highly appreciate your kind words, and I am super happy to hear you find our site inspiring!

      • You’re MOST welcome Maria! :) Wish you guys the best with the site and travels.

  14. This is awesome! I’m just building out a new site about photography/travel using Divi and we share a passion for the nomadic lifestyle. I’ll be following your blog from now on. Great stuff Maria! I love the customization you’ve done here as well. Particularly the larger logo. Bravo!

    • Thank you for the kind words, Dan! You have so many absolutely beautiful photos on your site! I will be following you too :)

  15. Excellent blog! From design and usability point of view.. :D (and wonderful posts, photos and trips!).. I have a question, we’re working in a blog quite in the line of travel blogs, but not so, more like a guide of places to visit. In the map (on “Places” link), how did you do to link the pin directly to the blog post?

    (we’re still on design stage, and undecided between Explorable and Divi themes)

    Thanks for your help!

    • Hi Van,

      Thank you so much!

      The plugin we use, Wp Geo, takes care of the linking from the map pin to the blogpost. You set the pins location when you write the blogpost and the rest is automatic.

      You can display a map for each post, a map that shows all the post in a category, or a map that shows absolutely all posts that have pins.

      Hope that helps. Send me an email through the website, if you need any more tips :)

      Best of luck with your site!

  16. Adam, I couldn’t agree more.

    I think I like WP themes (and DIVI particularly) because they allow me to ‘try’ and develop my creative side. Deeply buried as it is I find a lot of inspiration from the great work that people like Maria and Sonia do. (You all might recall Sonia’s write up here at ET: http://soniaquinones.com/ ). In my efforts I realise how much work is required to produce such exquisite works of art. So maybe us ET groupies appreciate what you’ve done more than the average visitor.

    I will add your site to my ET favourites list as a source of inspiration.

    btw: we are heading off to Istanbul in late August this year then spending some time in Austria and Poland. Should be some great photo ops.

    Keep up the great work on the site.

    All the best,

    John Anderson
    Australia.

    • Thank you so much Jon!

      I am so happy and touched by all the extremely kind comments you all have given our little site. It makes all the hard work worth it, and gives us a lot of motivation for the future!

      Istanbul is beautiful in the fall, you will love it! Plenty of amazing photo opportunities there. Have a great trip!

  17. Your enthusiasm about traveling and building your site with Divi was so darn inspiring. After “cruising” :) through your site I can’t wait to work on tweaks for mine. Happy travels to you!

  18. Nerdnomads rocks with styling no doubts. Did you say you got the Elegant support this far to customize your site? That’s interesting!

    • Thank you bb! The ET support team helped me a few times when I got stuck on some specifics. And I also found a lot of helpful content by browsing through the support forum.

      Other than that it was a lot of trial and error. :)

  19. WOW!!! Incredible job you have done with the Divi theme on your website. This is by far the best website I have seen to date using Divi :-)
    There are so many great things you have done with the site, I don’t know where to begin. I am sure many others will be asking the same questions, so I will ask them and if you have time to answer them it would be greatly appreciated.

    1. The logo is amazing and even better being nice and big in the left corner. I see many have already asked about this so I will wait for your blog post on this topic.

    2. Your use of the font icon pack on the menu is brilliant…I read that blog post on the ET blog and could not figure out a practical use of the fonts…well, looks I will be putting them to use on my site too…great job.

    3. How do you have the graphic of the postage stamp on the top left side of each blog post? I would love to put a custom graphic like that on the posts on my photography blog.

    4. You have a custom background image for the entire site. Is that done in the CSS or the Divi Page Builder? It looks amazing by the way!

    5. How did you add the torn edged paper to the top and bottom of the slider, header blocks, and posts? Again, this really makes the visual design pop on the site.

    6. How was the custom text with lines above and below added to the right side bar for the “Where We’ve Been” “Instagram”, etc…

    Sorry for all of the questions. When I see somebody do such a kick ass job on the visual design of their site I just need to ask how so I can hopefully make my site look good too.

    Thanks in advance for any information you can give myself and the other ET members. I will certainly be following your blog from now on :-)

    What’s crazy is that I had an idea to make a page of my photos with inspirational quotes on them on my site as a freebie to attract more visitors….looks you guys beat me to it. Great minds do think alike!

    Thanks again and keep up the great work with Nerd Nomads.

    • Hi David!

      Wow, thank you so much for those great words! Your comment really made my day! :)

      Will try to answer your questions as best I can:

      1. Here is my blog post about the logo customisation: http://nerdnomads.com/divi-logo-size-customisation

      2. Hehe, yep those icon logo fonts are great! I really love them! :) As you see, I have used them on both the menu, and above the header-text on each page in the menu.

      3. Hmm, about the post stamp that is a date on each blogpost on the front page…..that question is a bit too complicated to get into here and now. It would require a long answer. Maybe I can write a blog post about that too :).

      4. The old map in the background is a CSS background image.

      5. Happy you liked the torn edged paper :). Short answer: A combination of CSS3`s border-image function and setting custom class names on the page builder`s sections. A long and complete answer would have to be a pretty big blog post :).

      6. The red lines above and below `Where We`ve Been` and `Instagram` is CSS border:
      .widgettitle {
      font-family: ‘Dancing Script’,serif;
      border-top:2px solid #dc7960 !important;
      border-bottom:2px solid #dc7960 !important;
      }
      The font we have used, Dancing Script, is a google font. Just to give you an idea of how it`s done.

      Hope my answers helped you a little!

      Hehe, so funny we had the same idea about pictures with quotes! Love it! Go for it, the more quotes out there the better! :) Had a look at your webpage, great start! Nice photos, and love the photo with quote on your front page!

      -Maria-

      • Transatlantic high five for this Maria!! I second the request for the custom date image as well :)

        • Thanks for the high five Dan! :) Yep, will see if I can find the time to write a blog post about the date customization. Had another look at you photos, and signed up for your newsletter. Your photos are really amazing! So inspiring! Love the one with the skiers jumping! :)

      • Maria,
        Thank you so much for taking the time to create the blog post for all us who asked about how to change the logo position. Also, thanks for answering each of my other questions. It has become very evident that I need to be using a child theme and learn CSS ASAP!
        I look forward to seeing your future blog posts about your travels.

        Safe travels,

        P.S. Keep up the great work with the photography :-)
        Dave

  20. Awesome site !!! I was wondering what plugin did you use to build the gallery ?

    Love it, keep traveling !

    • Hi Jerome,

      Thanks for the nice comment! The gallery is built using two plugins.

      1. NextCellent Gallery https://wordpress.org/plugins/nextcellent-gallery-nextgen-legacy, a branch off from Nextgen Gallery 1.9.13, since NextGen Gallery 2 didn’t work so well for us. This is used for backend administration, creating albums and galleries, descriptions etc.

      2. Justified Image Grid http://justifiedgrid.com handles the front end display. I do not love the default NextGen gallery look, and Justified Image Grid is responsive, lightweight, fast and has a lot of styling options.

      Hope this helps! May the travel force be with you! :)

      • omg…
        I just found the gallery… You must win an award for this!!!!
        These images and this gallery are just amazing!!!
        Thanks for the tips on the plugins and the grid concept.

        Jerome: Thanks for asking these questions…If you would not have asked them to start with, we would have not had the pleasure of Maria’s answers to your very well thought out questions.

        I sincerely mean it, when I say that Maria should win an award for this stellar blog she has designed…

        In addition, This blog post rocks with tips, tricks and just about everything that one could ever hope to learn about cool things that you can do with the Divi Theme.

        • Hehe, you are just too sweet!! :) Thank you so much for those fabulous words Juliet!! :) Super glad to hear that you like our gallery and our photos! It would be great winning an award! Maybe some day….. :)

    • Hi Jerome,

      Thank you so much!

      The gallery is built by using two plugins:

      - NextCellent gallery for backend administration. Creating albums and galleries and such.

      - Justified Image Grid for displaying the gallery on the page.

      Hope that is useful information for you! :)

  21. Nice creation :) Very good use of Divi and WP Maria. Good job

  22. What a beautiful website you have made.Great job. :)

  23. Nerd nomad one of the awesome site made on Divi platform . Please let mw know how you were able to customize it so beautifully. Great feel and looks. Waiting for Divi 2.0.

    • Thank you so much Nikhil!! :) Have a blogpost coming up on our site nerdnomads.com later today about how the logo was customised.

  24. Nerd nomad one of the awesome site made on Divi platform . Please let mw know how you were able to customize it so beautifully. Great feel and looks. Waiting for Divi 2.0.

  25. Hi,

    finally some amazing modification of Divi theme. This is really nice work! Wish you best luck to the future.

    Dave

  26. Hi, wonderful work on/of a wonderful journey. Great response and answers as well!

    I scrolled through the support of divi to find any of your questions and elegant support answers, did not find them though. (now over 584 pages!)

    mainly looking for the paper look of the customized? width of the content block.

    Any hints of you Maria or another sage: very welcome!

    Also my day is already great when thinking of wonderful people traveling and sharing on this amazing blue planet

    • Hi Michel-de! Our questions and answers on the Elegant Theme Support Forum is in my boyfriend’s name Espen. He was the one who signed up at ET :).

      But questions and answers about the thorn edges and the paper look is not there I`m afraid, sorry. This was one of the bigger customisations we did on our site.

      It uses the CSS 3′s border-image properties, as well as setting custom class names on the page builder sections.

      It is somewhat of an in-depth subject, and would have to be a blogpost in itself. Maybe I’ll be able to write something about that at a later time.

      • woow maria, thanks for all your answers and the blog on the logo. Great job!

        It would be great to have a blockpost on the border-image properties. Hope that the many MANY positive reactions support you in doing that.

        Have a great time. Thanks

  27. Great Website!

    It would be really great if you could write short post how you did the logo!

    S.K.

  28. Best DIVI Motification! Amazing!

  29. Wow, wow. wow !!! That is some seriously snazzy customization!!! Thank you so much for sharing and inspiring. Very warm and cozy… Love it!

    • A million thanks for your kind words Janet!!! You made my day!! :) Had never expected all these great and friendly comments!!!

  30. Excellent blog and thanks for the answers re customizing DIVI! Web design isn’t my thing but I do like to make a few customizations here and there so this will help!

    • Cool, thanks Mike! I am definitely far from a web designer either. Happy tweaking on your customizations! :)

  31. Wow!! very elegant website Maria. I really like it and appreciate the efforts you put in there.. Truly an amazing website.

    A couple of suggestion for your website though (hope you like them)

    Since your site is image heavy site, your site does not load as fast as you would like to. (see Google page speed score http://goo.gl/dIoXZ0).

    Hence, you can,

    # install a caching plugin. The simplest and very effective can be WP Fastest Cache plugin. You should Leverage browser caching.

    # install the free version of Cloudflare. This will further boost up your site’s performance

    # (I am not sure) If you are on a shared hosting environment and you need to look for more space for your images and also to boost up speed, you can consider this plugin https://wordpress.org/plugins/google-drive-wp-media/ to store all your images in the Google’s cloud server for free.

    # This article http://www.agentwp.com/remove-ver-parameter-wordpress-css-js-files from one of the ET support members Mayur will also help you.

    Hope you find them resourceful. Keep up the good work !!

    • Great suggestions, thank you so much Kaylan!

      We are on a Godaddy Managed WordPress account. They unfortunately do not allow us to install any caching plugins.They claim they do all the caching for us, but not quite sure how good a job they really do.

      I have been experimenting with optimisations plugins like Autoptimize, but not sure if it is helping very much.

      Will definately look into the google drive plugin, and also try out cloudflare.

      Would love to have the site load even faster, so thank you for your input! :)

      • Cloudflare (.com) is not a plugin. It replaces your DNS server and provides caching before your pages are fetched. If GoDaddy won’t let you install caching plugins, Cloudflare would be good option to providing caching.

  32. Bravo!!! on a wonderful writeup on your experience with Divi… This is one of the best Divi sites I have ever seen. I know that you are definitely not a novice to CSS with the level of customization done to this theme. You are quite the inspiration for others using Elegant Themes… Look forward to following your wonderful Blog for future updates….

    Thanks again for sharing the possibilities with Elegant Themes.

    One thing that your site really gives is the reason why everyone should learn HTML and CSS when working with Elegant Themes. The possibilities are limitless when you have the basic fundamental skills.

    Kudo’s on your awesome site….

    J-

    • Wow, what a lovely comment, Juliet! Thank you so much!! :) Highly appreciate it!

      You are right, learning some CSS and HTML is very useful when wanting to tweak on the Elegant Themes. I am far from an expert on either CSS or HTML, and learn every day. Really happy to hear that our blog and design is inspiring! :)

  33. Nice customizacion, congratulations!!!

  34. I got jaw drop when I saw that this is Divi Theme!

    You sure have the taste to make the theme into your style. Thumb up totally.

    And I see that you are in Bangkok now! Have fun and enjoy the trip. Love the place so much.

    Greeting from Singapore. =)

  35. Its really amazing to see that you built it with Divi. I must say it is one of the best Divi site. But the site is not loading very fast. using some plugins can solve this problem.

    • Hi Lakhajyoti!

      Thank you for the kind comment!

      I am working definitively working on optimising better for speed. Godaddy’s server actually took down our site again today for about an hour! And it’s was sluggish before that as well, so not quite sure what is going on there.

  36. Fantastic customisation of the Divi theme. Well done!!

  37. Wow, Maria! That’s some very beautiful work you’ve done there!
    I really enjoy seeing how far one can go with Elegant Themes and that’s also the reason I am using these themes on all of my sites. Although I wish I could customize themes as well ;)

    Also great travel blog! I will be reading some of those posts as I am traveling at the moment as well :)
    - Alex

    • Thank you for the kind words, Alex!

      It’s great to hear that you enjoy the travel content as well! :)

  38. Your site looks great ! I love your logo animation and the design on the top of the recent post. Can you write how you made a background in DIVI – when i added the text in the blog is merged with the background.

    • Hi Sri Ganesh.M!

      Thank you so much!

      The background is a combination of two things.

      1. An image of a map. This is set as a
      css background image, and attached to the class #main-content.

      2. A tileable paper background in the same worn map style, uploaded though the admin interface under the menu Appearance -> background. This fills out the screen outside the map image.

      Hope that helps. If you need any more help, just send me an email through http://nerdnomads.com

  39. best customization of DIVI so far. Congrats. Great Content also. Cheers.

  40. Wow. Excellent site. I just would like to know how you did the Gallery part of your site. Which plugin did you use for this?

    By the way, I am proud that you have to my country which is beautiful country.

    thanks

    • Thank you Dharshana!

      If you search above for my reply to Jerome, you can find a little more details about the gallery.

      But in short, the gallery is built by using two plugins:

      - NextCellent gallery for backend administration. Creating albums and galleries and such.

      - Justified Image Grid for displaying the gallery on the page.

      Hope that helps! :)

  41. Great looking site!
    Would you mind sharing what plugin you used for the photo gallery.

  42. Hi Nerd
    Thank you for your sharing. Actually, I want to know which plugin that you used for registration (sign up) at the end of your website. And also please tell me how I can add icons like you added in your menu.
    Thanks

  43. Awesome customisation of the Divi theme :) I also used the theme recently, however on a very basic level…. I have one question though, how strongly would you recommend the optin links plugin? is it working as well as they advertise?

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