Vladivostok – On Responsibility In Relationships

After 9300km of traveling on the Trans-Siberian Railway we finally reached Vladivostok. We were tired but happy to have reached the other side of Russia, to have reached the Pacific Ocean.

“Ocian in view! O! the joy”

William Clark, Journal entry, Nov 7th, 1805

Just as before in Ulan-Ude, we experienced a clash of cultures in Vladivostok: Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, and Russians lived scattered across the city. This is also why we found it to be the first authentic Asian city, despite the fact that we had already crossed the whole Asian part of Russia.


On our second day in Vladivostok we managed to lock ourselves out of our room. Of course, both of us were pretty mad about this since now we had to wait for our host to open our room with a back-up key before we could explore the city. Imagine the following conversation after the door was already locked:

Gratsi: “You have the keys, don’t you?”

Jan: “No, I said ‘I’m waiting outside, take everything with you.’”

Gratsi: “But I thought you had taken the keys with you just like yesterday.”

Jan: “No, that’s why I said ‘Take everything with you.’”

Gratsi: “You just took the camera and left everything else for me!”

Jan: “What’s wrong with me leaving the room to wait outside? We don’t have to leave the room together, do we?”

Gratsi: “But you’re always the first to leave, and you’re always so sure that you took everything you need with you.”

Jan: “Because I did take everything I need with me.”

Gratsi: “And the keys don’t concern you?!”

Jan: “Sure they do. But I left those for you because the last person leaving the room is responsible for the keys since the last person also closes the door.”

You may have noticed that we made each other responsible for taking the keys while both of us did not want to be responsible for the keys. When confronted with responsibility, we pretended not to be responsible, that is, not to be response-able. However, we were accountable for the keys.

“Accountability breeds response-ability.”

Stephen Covey (1989): The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

How well are you able to respond in your relationships with friends, family, and even strangers? Do you take responsibility for your part or do you regularly push it away from you? Next time you deny having response-ability, stop for a second and ask yourself, if your reasons for not being responsible really discharge you.


We learned that mutual action requires mutual response-ability. Just like in a company, each person in a relationship contributes to the relationship and takes full responsibility for it.

All the best changes,

Jan & Gratsi


P.S.: Check out our route map to see where we are!


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