Born into a mixed Southern Dutch/French family of passionate world travelers with a Francophile appreciation for food and wines, I came at a very early age to exchange cultural highlights with Italian, French and Spanish counterparts in the summers (on the beaches) and German, Swiss and Austrian counterparts in the winter (on the ski slopes) and Seafood was a fresh Scandinavian experience.
Lots of immediate family lived in France from Paris to Toulouse and from Grenoble to Bordeaux, to southern Italy, so starting at age 5 or 6 we were loaded into dad’s car for extended trips to those countries. Southern France was the first trip in 1956 was the first trip I vividly remember. Highways were still a thing of the future, so we traversed the countryside for days on end, eating our way through cities, villages and vineyards. Every year after that another country was the family target with Italy probably scoring the most, with ten or more month-long visits. Greece, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Austria, England, Ireland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland and the Scandinavian countries followed in succession. In the mid sixties I spent a summer in London and another summer in Paris, turning over every stone I could lift high enough.
Dad’s Dutch heritage installed a deep love for traveling in us but Mom’s French Heritage taught us cooking and cuisine at a very young age. There could be three ingredients in the cupboard or fridge and she would make a gourmet meal out of it. The only dishes she never mastered were my Caribbean, Indonesian and Asian dishes, I perfected during my years in the islands and extended trips to Djakarta, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.
But yes French, Italian, Spanish, German and Fusion cooking were big in the family. What also was big were languages. I can make a go of seven, but I think my oldest brother masters about 12 or thereabout. Both parents installed the essence of communication into us.
I remember once in preparation for a trip Lake Balaton in Hungary, Hungarian (not an easy language) sounded through the house for months prior. Dad believed that preparing for vacation included having a real interest in the people we were going to meet and imperative therefore learning at least the basics of their language.
He was right, it always worked fabulously as we learned about their lives and culture very close up.
By the time the mid sixties came around the curve, I got into music, which for a period of about 7 years took me around Europe a handful of times. After that time corporate life took a swing at me and again I found myself in airplanes most of the time: South America, Australia, Asia, the Middle East and the Soviet Russian Empire from East to West. And again the time span was about 7 years. After I moved to the US in the very early 80s, New York and Atlanta initially carried enormous attraction, I lived extended periods in both cities, which allowed me to experience the entire North and Central American continent, from Alaska to Panama, as I worked myself through an enormous amount of regional cuisines, photographic landscapes, native music and business situations.
And then late in 1986 I needed an extended break from corporate life and the Caribbean Islands offered the perfect lifestyle and scenery for exploration. Sailing most of the islands for a while I found the most amazing beaches, turquoise waters and people. The islands kept me in their spiderweb of magnificence for the better part of 20 years, including a series of resort developments and global hospitality marketing programs, before a move to Amelia Island, Florida became the best possible alternative to life’s quirks, challenges and opportunities, especially involving family. (In 2004 I met my wife on St.Martin. She lived in Wisconsin USA, so I moved to the cold for one winter, before settling in Northeast Florida for 10 years, of which four included running a B&B on the beach, cooking gourmet breakfast in the early morning hours and entertaining and interacting with guests the rest of the day.
2016 was a year to take off and travel, so on January 14 of that year we started various consecutive trips across the States east west and north south, exploring numerous cities and attractions. Then in late May we went to Europe for 3 months, visiting 9 countries and dozens of cities, attractions and country sides. In September and October we did one more East-West and North South Crossing in the lower 48 states and in November we relaxed on a Carnival Cruise. The Holidays were for the family and now we’re preparing the first 2017 trip to Cuba. Stay tuned.
Travel, food, music, art, history and photography are our passions and get a very special attention on our trips.
Johan (Han) Ramakers
Since 1980 I have been Self employed.
Economist by study, marketer by trade and musician by passion, Johan (Han to his friends) has over a long 35 year career traveled almost every country in the world, sailed the Caribbean extensively and has been the master of his own destiny since 1980 when he left a high performance corporate career to start painting his own road, which until now has included import-export, corporate consultancy, publishing, performance and management of several music industry projects, travel and real estate development, printing, novel-writing, movie, documentary and TV production and programming, video production, event organization, event sponsoring, political campaign organizations and internet entrepreneurship.
Turning into an Internet expert became inevitable after teaming up with his brother Thom ( a medical doctor turned internet tech guru) in 1990 when they opened a very successful travel and destination marketing company on the Caribbean of St.Maarten, handling major accounts such as the French Tourism Bureau, Tropicana Juices, Hilton International, Kraft General Foods, AVIS Caribbean, Seagram’s and many more. With the advance of the Internet in the mid 1990’s the company changed gears quickly to benefit from the opportunities afforded by the Worldwide Web. Much of the time since then has been spent on developing, executing and improving sales strategies for online success, while integrating multi media structures.
Familiar with Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach since 1996, when he designed and built a friend’s home on the Municipal Golf Course (a project in his advanced effort to become a Polymath. Owning a non working farm in Lake City, Florida from where he practiced writing and improved visual creativity (photography and videography), he continued to visit the island for the next 10 years and moved to Fernandina in 2006, from where he now seasonally commutes between residences in St.Martin-French West Indies and Amelia Island.
Married to Teresa J.(TJ) Seaton of Gainesville, Fl.
Life’s Motto: No matter how much the time clock brings you daily chaos, always keep checking back with your life’s compass to make sure you stay on course.
I am “ate up” with a Peter Pan syndrome. Call it living within an inner innocence or simply refusing to completely grow up, but I would like to think it is a little of both. Seeing my Lego collection is proof in itself. However, I have had more than my share of life experiences to jade me, but I refuse to let anyone or anything take the smile off my face or the craziness out of my dance. Oh, and I still have some dance moves to show off.
I am a very exuberant, barely grey in the hair, mom of six adults and an amazingly fortunate “nonny” to eight grandchildren.
Seriously, there should be an option in life to have grand kids first. : )
I am a fidgeter with get up and go, and I am proof that busy hands are happy hands. I easily become bored, so I try to eliminate the possibility. I’ve enjoyed a large passion of different interest, but first time experiences are the most exciting. I have and still plan on creating a life full of spice.
Just a few past experiences: being a field reporter/interviewer of stars, musicians and artist for the TV show “What’s Up St. Maarten” located in St. Maarten Netherlands; American liaison chaperone for groups of French exchange students but also hosted numerous individual students from around the world; fundraiser/auction coordinator for American Heart Association; interviewer/writer for Search Amelia; promoter/planner for the amazing blues guitarist Joe Bonamassa for a concert in St. Maarten; Fedex United Way Coordinator; Petanque America International tournament planner for seven years; refinishing furniture; sewing; volunteering for humane societies which also included fostering and of course a large array of children and teen activities leader.
I still had enough time to fit in some more exciting type pursuits like skydiving, scuba, parasailing, Polar Bear Plunge into Lake Michigan in January, singing, climbing Dunn River Falls, deep sea fishing and obviously traveling.
I have been married before but finally met my “meant-to-be” fella when I was 44, and have decided that this one is a keeper. We have so much fun together, have had many an adventure and now we are setting out to create more memories that will hopefully keep us company in our (far away) elderly age as we sit in our proverbial porch rockers, but knowing us it will be hammocks strung between two palm trees.
Goal: I want to learn to completely let go and give my inner butterfly permission to fly free without worry, stress or fear. It may appear that I have conquered this, but there is always more brain mass to free up.
Here we go……www.boomerbabetravels.com
My (still growing) Bucketlist
• Whitewater Rafting
• Go on Train Vacation with a Stateroom (more like bunk room!) Done 2016!
• Place a Lock on the Bridge of Locks in Paris. Done 2016!
• Learn to play my Ukulele In the process
• Walk Half of the Appalachian Trail
• Biking in Cuba. Scheduled for February 2017
• See the Northern Lights from Lapland or Churchill Canada
• Own a real Louis Vuitton
• Visit Machu Picchu in Peru (just heard that its elevation is 7,500 ft; might have to change this item after our recent “thin air” experiences in Flagstaff Arizona)
• Learn to speak Spanish. In the process.
• Swim with dolphins in the wild
• Live and Sail for a couple of months in the Caribbean
• Walk among penguins
• Live in a small shack on a tropical beach
• Take a vow of silence for one week and succeed
• Kayak in Greenland
• See Jesse James burial ground (yep he was an ancestor of mine, as was Mary the Queen of Scotland, believe it or not)
• Be on any show on the HGTV Channel Network
• Go an a real fishing expedition
• A Gondola ride in Venice. Done 2016