Girl We Love: Cara Gonzalez

 
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What do you do when you're not traveling?

I transform smiles, as a dentist. During my free time, you can find me losing myself on the bike in my favorite indoor cycling studio or enjoying a cup of coffee or gin and tonic with friends. 

What are your travel must-haves?

Bikinis; and not just one set, I bring a lot for options! Sunblock, a good pair of sunglasses, a beach mat that can also serve as a towel, a canvas bag to reduce plastic use, my trusty insulated water bottle, speakers and a journal to take note of all my adventures.

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What do you like most about Wink? 

I love Wink for making everyday life so easy for me. The staff are very knowledgeable and accommodating. They make the whole process stress free and hassle free. The laser treatment is also seamless; you don't experience any pain and you're in and out of the studio in a blink of an eye without sacrificing the quality of their services. 

How does Wink help you with your travels?

Wink makes me feel even more comfortable and confident in my own skin. Wink has apprehended my pre-travel worries and has given me more time to relax and enjoy before and during my vacations.

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Best trip you've ever been on? 

Whenever I think about my best trip three trips always come to mind: first, a few friends and I went to Tacloban a year after typhoon Yolanda hit to visit and help those affected by the disaster. It was such a heartwarming and eye-opening experience for us. We ended our trip by camping in a simple but majestic paradise a few hours away called Kalanggaman, Leyte. Two sandbars spread like wings on each side of the island wrapped in crystal blue water. It was the perfect culmination of our trip; living the simplest way of life surrounded by such a breathtaking view. Second, My friends and I always start the year by heading to our secret spot in Nagsasa Island. Who would ever think such a peaceful paradise is just a few hours north of Manila. Nagsasa is the perfect mix of everything I love about the outdoors. The lush mountains are perfect for hikes. The water is cool and calm; always glistening when the sun is out. The beach is lined with hundreds of pine trees; a rare mix of nature. Trips to Nagsasa are always dear to me because it always makes me feel so grateful for the year that had passed and excited for what the new year has to offer. Lastly,  any trip to the magical island of Siargao is always the best. Driving motorbikes across endless rows of coconut trees, entering small roads that lead to quiet beaches, surfing in cloud 9, eating the best pizza in the world (beats even those I've had in Italy and New York), making friends that over time feel like family and just immersing yourself with the community is truly something you look for over and over again. Thus, making Siargao such a highly addictive place to be.

Do you have a travel bucket list? If yes, what countries/places are on it? 

On top of my bucket list is an African safari, I also want to scratch off my list all the 7,107 islands in the Philippines. We are so spoiled to be living in paradise. The least we could do is appreciate it and take good care of it. 

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What do you love about traveling?

Traveling to me is synonymous to learning. You learn about different cultures, different ways of life, and the most valuable lessons for me are the ones you learn about yourself. Traveling pushes you out of your comfort zone but at the same time gives you so much comfort in the midst of change. The best gift traveling gives you is a change in perspective and recharging your mind, body and spirit. 

What has been one of your favorite dishes you've eaten while traveling?

This is a tough one because I LOVE to eat. From the top of my head: Adobong posit from Neknek's carinderia in Real, Quezon, Pizza from Kermit and Sizzling Chickenjoy from Harana in Siargao, Peter Luger's burger in New York, Sushi made fresh from Tsukiji Market in sushi Dai, Truffle pasta from Trattoria Zaza in Italy,  and plum lemonade from the wet market in Bangkok. 

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If you can be anywhere right now, where would you be and why?

I would love to be in New Zealand right now enjoying the great outdoors. I am also loving the weather right now in New York because the leaves are all turning and everyone seems to share the same infectious energy before having to hibernate because of winter.

What's your go-to traveling hack/tip? 

Always bring an extra foldable tote around. It's perfect when you need extra space in your luggage and a great way to save the environment by reducing the use of plastic when you go shopping. Also, engage with locals so you get the best deals and appreciate the place as locals do. Tourist traps take the fun out of traveling so it's best to get local knowledge over anything else. 

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