Omakase

When you travel with an open mind, you experience more.

The Japanese habit of omakase (お任せ) when you’re ordering at a restaurant pretty much means, “I’ll leave it up to you”, inviting the chef to be innovative and surprising in the selection of dishes. I try to apply the idea to everything in my daily life.

The purpose of life isn't to earn money. It is collecting and sharing as many memorable moments as possible.

A sad start.

Ok, now it’s enough, we’re going to the hospital.

My wife had been putting up with me complaining about pain for a week now. She was fed up with my stubbornness (and she has always been the smartest of the two of us). Within 15 minutes we were in the hospital and less and an hour later, I was in emergency surgery. This is on my lessons learned.

Later, the doctor told me and my wife, that had we waited a few more hours, it might have been too late.

A kidney rupture had brought me close to death. Fluids had started to infect my intestines and my lungs. It had been close. And it was enormous turning point in my life. From that moment on, I decided to spend the rest of my life chasing beautiful memories – to create as much beautiful memories as possible.

I started spending my weekends differently; less iPhones and iPads, more building castles from blankets and pillows with my kids. I stopped keeping a bucket list and just started to travel. For me, it was the start of a different way of experiencing my life, of experiencing my trips and travels.

Soon, the puzzle pieces would fall into place.

Omakase

Omakase (お任せ)

I found out about the Japanese habit of omakase (お任せ) when I was visiting the country in 2016. You’d use it when you’re ordering at a restaurant pretty much means, “I’ll leave it up to you”, inviting the chef to be surprising and innovative in the selection of dishes. A quick check for #omakase on Instagram only made me realise how widespread (and how amazingly tasty) the habit is. It felt like the best summary of how I’d like to travel – open to all different experiences, looking to make memories by getting out of your comfortzone, by doing things I’ve never done before. I try to apply the idea behind to everything between how I plan my holidays, how I pick my runs, how I pick my food, how I explore cities and how I travel in general.

Lava Tower
Jordan Trail - tea with Faris
Kumano Kodo Hiking
Stella point on Mt Kilimanjaro
Summit view
Hiking the Laugavegur trail in the snow
Graslei with Marieke near 1898 The Post
Laugavegur trail in the snow
Kilimanjaro view from Stella Point
Ella approves of the Indigo Antwerp City Centre hotel beds
Marieke at The Jane in Antwerp
Monk in Koyasan
Nakahechi magical forest

Applying omakase.

If you apply this, you experience more. You are more likely to stumble upon an amazing part of the city that wasn’t mentioned in the Lonely Planet. You are more likely to meet new people, to have the staff in your restaurant pick your food or to have a hipster local point you to the best possible bars and restaurants.

Can you please choose for me? Just give me whatever you think is the best thing on the menu.

If you apply this, you experience more. You are more likely to stumble upon an amazing part of the city that wasn’t mentioned in the Lonely Planet. You are more likely to meet new people, to have the staff in your restaurant pick your food or to have a hipster local point you to the best possible bars and restaurants.

Or to be more specific: You are more likely to end up drinking tea with Bedouins in the desert, to do the haka with Maori in New Zealand, end up bar crawling with people you never met in Tokyo, sharing life stories with drunk Russian millionaires in London and my other amazing travel memories.

Not convinced? I wrote a post on how I balance risk versus rewards when traveling with an open mind: dealing with the unknown – this might help.

This blog.

And so this blog, this site, this platform, this small place on the vast internet is my notebook where I share my explorations in omakase thinking, in traveling with an open mind. It is mainly meant as a place where I can share my thoughts. If others -like you- can benefit from it – even better. Enjoy!

All my posts on omakase

Toothbrush - brushing your teeth with the opposite hand
OmakaseRoutines
December 23, 2018

Brushing your teeth with the opposite hand

Over the years, I developed a healthy interest in both surprises and lifehacks. Brushing your…
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Avocado toast at One Shot Fortuny in Madrid
Omakase
December 21, 2018

On being unprepared

If you’re unprepared, you’re not planning.If you’re not planning, you don’t have expectations.If you’re not…
Read More
With Ammarin Bedouin Awad and Faris on the Jordan Trail
OmakaseStories
December 21, 2018

The story of my strange friendship with a Bedouin

She looked at me with a strange look: "so, you befriended a Bedouin?!". She was…
Read More
Jordan Trail - tea with Faris
Omakase
December 8, 2018

An introduction to omakase – traveling without expectations

I travel a lot. A lot a lot. Mostly for business. Frequently for some amazing…
Read More