A wanderer, but not lost

September 14, 2020


By Cheyenne Varner, '13

If there’s one lesson we can learn from Gabrielle Misiewicz, ’11 — though I suspect there are many more — it’s that life is better when you strive to do new and challenging things.

As a student, the transition from the Bahamas to the University of Richmond wasn’t easy, but once the American culture shock softened, she delved into the variety of experiences campus offered, including student government, water polo, and music. By graduation, Misiewicz completed a self-made interdisciplinary major in African diaspora studies and successfully raised funds for a charity climb of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Although she first mentioned it as casually as she might a trip to the grocery store, on reflection she acknowledged the weight of the moment. “Physically I had nothing left, and mentally I was able to get myself to the top,” she said, adding that she remembers this whenever moments in life feel hard. “I can do absolutely anything I put my mind to.”

And Misiewicz has put her mind to quite a few accomplishments. She completed a master’s degree in ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University; worked on the production team of a documentary on the women’s suffrage movement in the Bahamas; founded and served as editor of four issues of Gumelemi, a digital magazine on Bahamian social issues; produced a podcast on two Bahamian festivals, Junkanoo and Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival; served as an adjunct music professor at the University of the Bahamas; and has traveled, almost exclusively on her own, to more than 15 countries.

Her latest adventure has been relocating to Glasgow, Scotland, where she is building her business as a freelance writer. As the 10-year anniversary of her Mount Kilimanjaro climb approaches, “I’m looking at other mountains that I can climb now,” she said. “It’s good to do hard things.”