Home>Travel inspiration>People>Insiders

Travel by Design: Fredrik Carlström

share this article

Founder and creative director, Austere

share this article

The Stockholm native, who imported his Scandinavian emporium, Austere, to downtown L.A. in 2014, isn’t much for travel souvenirs, but does all his shopping when he’s on the road.

Let’s play spin the globe—name the one place you’ve always wanted to go.

Patagonia—I think I will love the ruggedness. 

What’s your spirit city? (Where do you want to return to over and over?)

Not sure I have one—New York for its energy, London for its old-world charm, Paris for its sophistication, and Stockholm for its beauty. 

Do you have a travel ritual?

I still send postcards to my mom and dad. 

Do you maintain any routines from home while traveling or does it all go out the window?

All out the window pretty much. 

Sorry, you only get to eat one regional cuisine for the rest of your life. What is it? 

Southern French or Italian—simple, fresh, and grilled. With lots of rosé and bubbly. 

Carlström appreciates London's old-world charm

What one piece of advice would you give to someone traveling abroad for the first time?

Don’t plan too much—try and be spontaneous.  I think everyone should try traveling alone at least once in life—it opens you up in a whole new way. 

Describe your travel personality in three words.

Comfortable, open, napping.

Are your trips very planned, or very spontaneous?

I try and keep them open, but since we had kids, that is a little harder. 

What's the one travel souvenir you'd save in a fire?

Article continues below advertisement

Not big on souvenirs, travel or otherwise. 

What book/movie most inspired you to travel?

I love books about cities, and recently read London: The Biography of a City by Christopher Hibbert, which made me miss London. Alain De Botton’s The Art of Travel is fun and different. Watching The Talented Mr. Ripley makes me miss Europe a lot.  

Who’s your ideal travel partner?

I love traveling with my six-year old daughter, Auden. It is fun to discover places through her eyes.  

Which travel experience do you prefer: plugged in or unplugged?

Never been unplugged, but it sounds nice…  

What’s a custom from another culture that you’d love to implement in your life back home?

Proper dinner conversation. New Yorkers are terrible listeners.

What’s the first thing you seek out in a new place?

A good hotel. 

What’s the one thing you indulge in on a trip that you don’t at home?

I pretty much never shop at home—so shopping would be that thing. Shopping and piña coladas.

What’s your first travel memory?

Getting lost on a jumbo jet en route to Tenerife, Spain with my family. I must have been 4 or 5.

>>Next: AFAR Insider Jonny Bealby

Sign up for the Daily Wander newsletter for expert travel inspiration and tips

Please enter a valid email address.

Read our privacy policy