WESTWARD HOME CO.
Several years ago, while traveling to Buenos Aires for the summer, I booked an room in an Airbnb for the first weekend of my five-week stay. My goal was to get to know the neighborhoods and then decide where I wanted to spend the remainder of my time.
Timidly, I booked a brand new property; one which had never been reviewed, or even occupied.
As it was a somewhat last-minute request (I literally was in the Lyft on my way to the airport) and relatively affordable, I went for it.
Two double digit hour flights later, I arrived on the concrete doorstep, jettlagged but excited. The feeling of stepping into this six-floor historic apartment in Recoleta was both tantalizingly new and strangely familiar. I was welcomed by a kind woman, a friend of the host, who was at work. We rode up five flights of stairs (or was it six? That 0 outside of the US always throws me off). She spoke to me nearly-perfect English, I responded to her, practicing my Spanish).
The apartment was built by the host’s grandfather and decades later the love from conversations between family, the laughter from friendly bickering in the living room, and the faint smell of old smoke from late night cigarettes on the balcony all still somehow magically hung in the air.
When I met my host, Nico, a man almost exactly my age we hugged and I immediately felt I we were kindred spirits. At least in my mind, I had known him forever. When Nico’s boyfriend returned from a trip a week later, we had equally natural and friendly chemistry.
Though only visiting for a month, this couple and the group of friends they quickly integrated me into, made me feel like I belonged in their city. On my birthday, three days after arriving, I walked into the kitchen later that morning and saw a Pastafrola (a traditional Argentinian dessert, comparable to a quince tart) with a note that read, “Feliz Cumpleaños, Richelle”. I rushed back into my bedroom and bawled, more than I’d like to admit. He had stayed up late and woken up early to make that just for me.
My friends warned me that I would feel lonely on my birthday so far away from home, and they were right. I was touched by my new friend’s generous gesture to help me celebrate. Later that night, he invited several of his friends over for a pot luck party (something distinct I noticed and loved about Argentinian culture. Everyone always contributed to the party - the host typically only provided the space, and one other simple item, usually something leftover in the fridge). A handful of people showed up with beer bottles the size of wine bottles, and the makings for pizza, and we sat on the couch for hours and talked about synchronicities and healing hertz frequencies and I knew that we must have met before, or at least had known them in another dimension.
The month that followed was full of getting to know bus routes, meandering markets, discovering the hipster cafes in Paloma, where I could both sip the illusive almond milk latte and borrow their wifi to get some work done.
I feel in love. With the museums, the music, the sounds, the food, the matte, the parks, and the culture. But mostly, I loved the feeling of being in love with a home that in spite of only being temporarily mine, felt like it belonged to me.
That is the feeling I want to create with Westward Home Co. This feeling is why I build spaces with character and integrity. It is why I add special touches that are reminiscent of the things that make you happy. And this feeling is why I fill my floors with unique furniture and walls with works of art created by local makers in each city.
I want to give my guests the feeling of both being at home and experiencing somewhere new. To feel both the wonder of novelty and the comfort of their own bed. The curiosity of new places and the familiarity of their happiest memories.
I hope that every person who steps into one of my homes will feel at away at home, no matter where they land.
Richelle on the Run