New Year, New Look, Big Giveaway (over $1000 in Prizes!)

Posted by - December 29, 2014 | Category: Loot

Celebrating 4 Years of Man On The Lam

Well, it’s hard to believe I’ve been at this for 4 years now.

Four whole years.

I began this site on December 31, 2010 to get an early start on a New Year’s resolution. Within 6 months I had quit my corporate 9 to 5 job and I’ve been at this even since.

And it’s been quite the ride.

One thing that was pretty constant over those 4 years was the look of this site. I started on Blogger, but after a month moved over to WordPress with the free Arras theme. I did all the customization myself back when I didn’t know HTML from a hole in the wall. And I was pretty darn pleased with myself with the result. And while it served me well over the years, it was starting to look a long in the tooth.

MANONTHELAM Old Web Design screenshot

It wasn’t responsive, so the mobile experience left a lot to be desired, and other than the header, it was pretty generic looking. So in a sea of blogs there was nothing that really made it stand out (okay, except maybe articles like dioramas of dead gophers and eating rats.)

A “blah” website was also starting to have a more tangible effect — I started to get pretty “blah” about blogging too. There were spits and spurts where I’d write something almost every day, then go a month (and sometimes longer) with nothing but cobwebs and tumbleweeds.

And for that I apologize.

So much like the New Year’s Resolution that started this whole endeavour to begin with, I’m making another one this January 1st — more regular updates.

The New Look

My original thought was a Prohibition era inspired design, but after showing the first draft to a few folks, the consensus was that it looked a little too depressing. And depressing is not a good look for a site designed to inspire people. So back to the drawing board it was, and the result is what you see before you today — a quirky, vintage 1920s theme that I feel really drives home the “On The Lam” experience.

There are still some quirks that need to be worked out (I’m looking at YOU Internet Explorer), but it’s time to go full steam ahead. Please take a poke around and let me know if you like what you see. And if you do see something amiss with the site, please let me know that too in the comments section below.

I’m also shifting gears and making a slight change in direction. While you’ll still see plenty of travel stories on here, I’ll also be incorporating other forms of escape too. You can read about that and all the new category explanations on the ABOUT PAGE. Inspired by ads in the back of pulp magazines from the 1920s, it’s the page that I’m most proud of. The custom social media icons you see along the sidebar, the CONTACT PAGE, and the ADVERTISING PAGE are pretty nifty too.

Bela Kolar from Andersen Media did a stellar job with the finer design details (and putting up with my fussiness!), and his coder Laszlo put in hours of work to get things running smoothly. I’d highly recommend him to anyone looking to do a site redesign on a reasonable budget.

There’s still some work to be done, but for now I’m happy to be starting 2015 on a high note. And a big thank-you to everyone who’s shared in the ride along the way. I hope you’ll stick around. 

To celebrate the launch of the new look and direction, I’ve partnered with some great companies for a giveaway for Man On The Lam readers for chance to win one of the following great prizes. Details on how to enter through Rafflecopter are below the prize descriptions.

 

he Great Man On The Lam Giveaway

 

1 rotation180° Travel Away Backpack (value $199)

R180 MINDSHIFT TRAVEL AWAY GREY BACKPACK - Manonthelam Givewaway

When I first saw the rotation180° Travel Away Backpack from MindShift Gear, I wondered why no one had invented something similar sooner. It’s a backpack with a rotating beltpack built right in. No more having to haul your entire pack off to get at your camera, wallet, or, passport — just swing the beltpack around to grab what you need, then swing it back to store in its cubbyhole. The beltpack is kinda like a fanny pack, but without the ugly. A fanny pack for people who wouldn’t be caught dead wearing a fanny pack, if you will.

The backpack itself holds 18.5 litres, while the beltpack holds 3.5 litres, and they can be used separately if desired.  The backpack also has dedicated pockets to conceal a 15” laptop and 10” tablet, while the beltpack can fit an 8” tablet. Pretty neat, huh?

 

1 Boingo Global Plan One-Year Subscription (value $708)

Boingo-logo

Boingo is pretty much the Godfather of the Wi-Fi Hotspot. The Boingo Global Plan offers 2000 minutes per month of worldwide (yes, anywhere in the world!) Wi-Fi access per month with no roaming fees. This plan allows access on up to 4 laptops, mobile phones, or tablets on any of their over one million hotspots globally. I’ve been a Boingo user for a few years now, and I’m a big fan of how easy the Boingo app makes it access any of their hotspots. And it’s not just airports either. Check out their coverage network to see where Boingo can get you connected.

 

10 Prizes of 1 GO-SIM European SIM Card with $20 Credit (value $27.50)

GoSim Prepaid travel SIM card  stocking stuffer ideas for men who travel

A GO-SIM card is a great option if you’re doing a lot of country hopping, and don’t have the time (or the patience), to sign up for a local SIM card. It can also save you to 90% of the cost of using your own mobile phone carrier’s SIM while travelling. All GO-SIM cards come with a British Isles and a U.S. phone number. Data plans available too, you just need to have an unlocked device.

 

1 Kobo Mini eReader (value $79)

KOBO MINI

Kobo Mini is the smallest and lightest eReader in the world. It’s also got built-in Wi-Fi and a no-glare e-ink touchscreen. Plus you can hack it to use as a computer for sailplanes, hang gliders, and paragliders.

 

1 Amazon Gift Card (value $100)

Man On The Lam Amazon Gift Card Giveaway Contest

Well what can I say about Amazon? They’ve got just about anything anyone planning an escape of their own will need. The prize here is a $100 USD Amazon gift card (converted into your local Amazon store currency if you so choose.) Maybe you can use it to get a couple of those stocking stuffers you really wanted.

 

Enter Here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank-you & Best of Luck!

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677 comments - add one
  1. I LOVE the design! So dandy. So you. I also love this contest because I basically just clicked buttons because I already followed you on everything. hooray! happy new year and happy 4 year anniversary!

  2. Well I’ve never been here before but compared to a lot of sites, this site is easy to look at, easy to read, easy on the eyes, etc. The colors aren’t glaring like with some websites. Not a lot of distraction from actual content. Actual content actually exists! It’s doesn’t just seem to be an excuse to post tell-nothing reviews that let the reader know that the reviewer is simply out to get a free product, not really provide any info. Now from the picture on the top, the site looks to be very, very dark, and for me, dark sites are hard on my eyes. I don’t know about other people but I usually don’t make too many trips back to a site that has a dark colored theme with white font. I actually prefer the color theme that is on this post card comment form (which is cute itself.) I prefer the black font on a tannish or grayish background and prefer the background to also not be too light colored. My first article read was good vibrations—great history and info. I had no clue on the history of the vibrator.

    1. Thank-you so much for your honest feedback Shirley. May I ask what browser you are using to view the site? I know that in Internet Explorer the header section looks a lot darker (and a lot more grim!) than in Chrome or Firefox.

      Glad you like the overall look! I love this little vintage postcard comment form too. 🙂

  3. I was surprised (in a good way) when i saw your new theme. Too used with the green/gray/white color scheme. Makes me want to reread past articles! Congrats and hope too see you again soon 😀

  4. Love the new design, Ray! I feel like I need some mustache wax and an Old Fashioned in hand while reading. Speaking of which, any idea where I could get a plush velvet smoking jacket?

  5. Looks very manly. I’m still on the same ol arras theme and desperately want to update, but I don’t have the energy. Can you do it for me? 😉

  6. Bravo and such a beautiful site, I really need to get started on so many projects. Love all the things you’ve already done before the New Years – congrats!

  7. It is my first visit, but I love it! Never seen a layout like it, right down to the postcard comment box, very quirky and historical, right up my street.

  8. You asked for honesty I am going to give it to you. This is the first time I have come across your site so can’t compare it to the old design but it looks great. I have already browsed a couple of articles. I will def be visiting more often. Cheers and happy travels.

  9. Love the vintage 1920s theme! Your social icons are awesome. On your Advertising Page, I would recommended activating the social icons under “Social Media by the Numbers”.

    Well done Raymond. I am looking forward to reading your 2015 adventures.

  10. I really like this design in part because I’ve always liked the aesthetics of the 1920s. The site is very easy to read, too, and calming to the eye. After I post this I’m going to visit for a while because the look is so appealing and makes me curious about the content here.

  11. I think it looks awesome!Clear and colorful titles. I think the postcard for comments is a wonderful idea!Keep up the great look!!!

  12. In all honesty I love the design of this site it gives me that old time feel, like back when people were making moonshine and smuggling alcohol lol. My husband and I love to watch older movies and westerns. This site gives me brings you back to that time. I really like this site because its very unique and it stands out in a good way. Good job guys

  13. I have just found your site, and I think it’s wonderful! I am traveling in a few months, and I love the backpack you posted about.

  14. Love the design, very original. Perhaps one point of feedback: I miss a little human touch on the front page, something to get a glimpse of the actual man on the lam 🙂 I just upgraded my design as well, have a look if you can 🙂

    1. Thanks for the feedback Victor! I hemmed and hawed about putting my pic on the home page, but thought a shot of my ugly mug would be the last thing folks wanted to see. 🙂

      Plus since it’s “Man On The Lam,” shouldn’t I be hard to find? 🙂

      Saw your new design — looks great! Very clean!

  15. The site theme is nice, clearly a lot of work put into it. Some of the graphics are a little but ‘blurry’ though (i.e. not crisp as they could be), mostly the fonts in certain parts. You said be honest!

  16. I love the look…don’t know what the previous look was but this is the best looking site I’ve ever seen. Absolutely love it. (Now,for your secret messages…geesh…secret is right…can’t find them.) 🙂

  17. I can tell you that I haven’t seen anything else like this site! Very unique and definitely interesting. I will be back to check you out again.

  18. Wow, prize travel gc is fab. & splendid. 2 fingers snap. It is tight, fly & off the chain. Thank you for the awesomeness, the contest, and generosity. Pick me, pick me! Dear Santa: I’ve been nice. My X-Mas wish this year is to win this contest.

  19. I love your site. Will forward to my family and friends and look forward to receiving your newsletter. Thank you for this great contest too – it helped me find Man On The Lam.

  20. I find the site interesting , nostalgic, and I love the ‘magic ball’ icon where it goes to random posts, in fact I lovee that part. If I werent married, I would swoon-honest.
    This postcard comment box is the ct’s meow!

  21. First of all, I love the post card, love the old West theme, love that this post will get the male population (or their significant spouses) to win contests for them and also to read great articles. I love it, hoping this will help to get my hubs to read, other than the stock market! Thank you!! 🙂

    1. Nate, thanks SO much for that comment! I see a lot of modern design sites out there (and a lot of them look great!) but after a while it’s sometimes hard to tell one from another. 🙂

  22. I love the new site…but I’m a huge fan of vintage design. I’m looking to create a site for myself that has a lot of Art Deco influences without looking too Gatsby 🙂

  23. You want me to be honest….This is my first visit and the look of your site through me a little. I’m not sure what the 1920’s has to do with your likable theme. I couldn’t figure out exactly what your site was about without going to your “Start Here” page. I like your theme and wish it was more visible in a shortened form (fewer words) at the top of your pages.

    I do LOVE the post card comment form as many have stated! The art work is wonderful too!

  24. You could look at the Tension Sheet page on my website, the relaxing colour for the most number of people is yellow, so you will find chaning the background colour of your website to yellow will get happier visitors.

  25. Raymond, Congrats on the redesign. At first blush the new look was a bit surprising as a retro look is atypical for a travel/lifestyle blog, but it quickly grew on my and that’s exactly what I like about it… It’s different.
    One of these days we’ll have to get around to redesigning our site which is now 9 years old.

  26. Traveling becomes like an addicting drug. Every time I visit one country on my bucket list – 5 more arise. Wandering into the unknown makes you feel like a child again…babbling in broken language to communicate, getting lost, and having to ask the same question 100 times before you finally understand the correct directions.

  27. Havent seen the old site but this one looks great! Unique and very pleasing to the eye. Good balance of text and pictures. Looking forward to more posts. I love the font too!

  28. Honestly this is the first time i’ve seen it, but I like that it’s not cram-packed-together like some (most) sites i’ve seen.

  29. I like this site because it’s not overcrowded with ads and other junk!! It gets to the point and is very appealing. I love the theme

  30. I am a new visitor to your site. The colors are elegant and classy. It’s not bright and flashy or jumbled like other sites. I love vintage style and it looks great !

  31. I like the look and the whole idea of this site. But, this is a tribute to escape into the best things in life, rather than escape from daily life.

  32. Hello,

    I really like that the social media icons are on the top op the webpage at a good size.On to many websites you have to look a while and they are on the bottom and most of the time to small.

    My tip as an experienced webuser and IT professional:

    Give the icons the original color.

    Greetings from The Netherlands, Europe?

    Theo

  33. I like the design. Vintage is so in. It would be nice to see more of you in the design though – always nice to have a picture of the person always in view. Makes it more personable.

    1. Thanks EJ — I hemmed and hawed about putting my pic up. Then I thought since I’m “on the lam” perhaps it was best if I didn’t. Perhaps I’ll need to rethink that one. 🙂

  34. Very different look to this site …for me it was Nostalgic – in a good way. Era pics & photos are fun and a bit challenging to figure out. Have to look more than once to get the whole message on some of the photos. Nice and creative website. Just look at the stamp & post mark on this entry card. Great touch.

  35. I dig it! It makes me want to read more than the giveaway page. It not anything like all the other blogs out there that all look alike.

  36. I love the victorian look, it makes me want to go on great journeys! I also love the font of the title, it may sound silly but I’m particular about my fonts 🙂

  37. I like the site. Looks unique, in a cool way. And easy to navigate which is huge to me. (not so tech savvy here) Great job.

  38. I like it very much. In fact, out of all other blog sites I’ve been to, I’d have to say it is my favorite layout. Love the post card comment section here. Easy to read and navigate. Well done!

  39. OMG I Iove love loooove your new site. How freaking awesome! and I can’t wait to go around finding the secret message – what a fantastic idea. As an added note I should totally win this seeming you posted this comp on my birthday – just sayin! 😉

  40. I truly think the site design is fantastic – I love the juxtaposition of the quirky and the conventional, and the modern and the old-timey elements. Very charming and appealing!

  41. I have no idea what the previous design of the site was but the one I accidentally stumbled upon this evening is wonderful. Speaks of escape in time and space in such an enticing way!

  42. Love the design. I have to be honest, I haven’t visit the site before now but it’s looking so professional, so vintage but yet fancy… Can’t describe well whatn I mean but I’m sure you get the idea. And I’m sure I’ll visit more often now 🙂 I wish all the participants good luck but I’ll be happy to win some prizes, too 🙂

  43. I like the color scale used, it really makes the vintage and new images pop. The vintage (?) typography and accents really stands out too. I prefer your new blog header than the more cartoon one you had previously. The larger thumb nail images and text are less distracting and make it easier to choose something to read from the home page. Awesome work!

  44. Congrats to all the winners! I am stiill stalking yoour posts, you are interesting and I like the unusual things you write about!

  45. Dear Raymond

    Hello from a small motu near Bora Bora in French Polynesia.

    The new outlook of your blog is just exquisite !

    I wanted to thank you for this great task you pursue.

    Hope to see you again on of those days.

    Guillaume

  46. receive my prize – I won the The Great Man On The Lam Giveaway! (1 GO-SIM European SIM Card with $20 Credit (value $27.50)) – thank you

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