Q&A With Our Friends Caroline & Erin From Authentic Asheville

Q&A With Our Friends Caroline & Erin From Authentic Asheville

Tell us about Authentic Asheville – how did y’all start it and why? 

E: In 2016 I was selected to go on this trip out west with 7 other social media influencers that was sponsored by the National Park Foundation. For a little over a week I traveled and shot photographs and wrote almost non-stop and I realized ... I don’t ever want to stop doing this. When I got home I told Caroline and an opportunity arose for us to do some of the same kind of work together for one of the top travel blogs in the world, Local Adventurer, and we were off and running! Authentic Asheville was created from that vision of wanting to travel and create. We now freelance both in Asheville and on the road. We shoot photos, design Squarespace websites and write for dapperQ and the Adventure Sports Network.

Lately you’ve been on the road a lot. Tell us about why you chose to do that and how you’re running your business from the road.

C: I have spent most of my time staying put in the place that I live and not really making a point of traveling to new places. I’ve mostly found inspiration through other people’s travels. Erin HAS made a point of getting out there, often by herself.  When she asked me if I wanted to take life on the road, I clobbered her with my ‘yes’.

E: I have this really intense curiosity and I crave new experiences all the time. I’m addicted. Routine sort of freaks me out. When I was 21 I went to Belize with a group from college and then shortly thereafter backpacked through Italy. It made me realize, holy crap there’s a whole WORLD out there and it looks and feels and sounds and tastes different than anything I’ve ever encountered before. I’ve been exploring ever since. So long as we have wifi, we have an office!

What’s the best adventure you’ve ever taken?

C: Looking back: Exploring pockets of Germany, Paris, and Brussels with my sister and her infant Antonia when I was 19. It was then I realized food could be a career path for me. It’s hard to beat the most recent year though! Traveling our own country in a van has been mind-blowing and deeply nurturing to me.

E: Hmmm...moving out of my comfort zone. I’d lived a pretty traditional life up until I met Caroline. I lived for the weekends and summer vacations. Then I found myself making decisions based on love and that meant quitting my steady job, moving to a new city, making new friends, and GETTING MARRIED! Yeah, getting married definitely has to be the best adventure I’ve ever taken.

Recently Hipcamp has asked y’all to photograph some of their camps around the US. What’s the craziest Hipcamp experience you’ve had?

C:  If by crazy you mean awesome then the Shanti Community in Madrid, New Mexico is my pick. We were in mesa heaven and stayed in an old purple school bus with a wood stove, hammock, and queen sized bed. The property also has a yurt, other vintage school buses, a VW bus, an outdoor kitchen and the best composting toilet ever made. But maybe, JUST MAYBE, the best part was meeting Alice, the male wild dingo that adopted Shelly (our host) and her other pack of dogs!

E: I  agree with Caroline, Shelly’s Shanti Community was awesome. Hope we get to go back and soon.

Who do you admire?

C: My dear friend, Carol Pennell. Also, Susan Spicer for making a drastic career change in her mid-forties and now she is one of the best chefs in New Orleans.

E: My Mom and Dad who adopted me when I was small. Without them I would be nothing.

Describe your styles in 3 words.

C: Color blue, off-center, constantly smudged glasses
E: Caroline’s Used Clothes

What do you collect?

C: Magazines, vintage coffee makers, old spoons

E: Postcards, driftwood, sharks teeth, memories

What’s your favorite tree?

C: Live Oak
E: Giant Sequoias 

What’s your favorite coffee roast and type of drink?

C: A darker roast, although Erin has gotten me appreciating lighter roasts. My favorite way to drink coffee is a pour over or a shot of espresso poured over ice and mixed with a bit of cream. I love y’alls Foxtail Dark Roast.
E: Light roasts. No cream, no sugar, just black, please. It’s how I like my whiskey, too - neat. (Though I do have a soft spot for cappuccinos.)

What's your favorite alternative use for coffee?

C: Finely ground and spooned on vanilla ice cream.
E: I think it’s cool that you can use coffee to dye fibers.

What is your favorite thing about where y’all live?

C: Experiencing all 4 seasons.
E: I love that Asheville is a place where we can safely hold hands without feeling any judgement or fearing for our safety.

What would people find most surprising about you both?

C: That when we argue, we can kick up a whole lotta dust. We are trying VERY hard to get better at this.

E:  Aw yeah, I think that’s part of living real life together. We’re not perfect but we’re getting better. Also, we don’t always know what we’re doing and that we have moments of real fear as we work through some of our ideas.

What is your favorite physical place to go for inspiration?

C: Funny, I usually only go there in my mind, but it’s a place in Forks of Ivy that is a pretty private knoll with a very tall tobacco barn on the side of the hill. I feel calm and stimulated at the same time, especially if I take our dog there and she can run free.
E: New York City 

What is your favorite podcast, TV show, or book?

C: I’ll pick the book I just finished, cause I couldn’t put it down! Shoe Dog by Phil Knight.
E: Oh I love books … too many to name. Anything by Kurt Vonnegut, Jack Kerouac, Sylvia Plath… 

Who is your favorite influencer, blogger, author?

C: To be completely cheesy, it’s Erin. Cause she’s the first blogger/influencer I’ve  actually known. And the number of creative ideas she has is so inspiring!
E: Aw, dang that’s sweet. Thanks, love. My favorite influencers are some of my friends as well.   

What is your favorite thing about your everyday?

C: The first sip of coffee! I actually crave it as I am getting ready for bed. 
E: Oh that’s a hard one. I can only pick one?! Going for a run, the smell of coffee, happy hour, spending time with Caroline … going on an adventure!

What are you looking forward to most this year?

C: Traveling to places for the first time!
E: Living in our van!




Instagram: @authenticasheville  @carolineperdue  @e.mcgrady

Twitter: @authenticAVL

All photos by Authentic Asheville

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