Welcome to Away with Joanna! My name is Joanna Kowalski and I’ve been a French teacher at the elementary level for over 30 years.

When my eldest daughter turned 18 many years ago, I felt free and wanted to discover more of the world. That summer, during the summer months off from school, I travelled to Cuernavaca, Mexico with a group of teachers. The purpose of the trip was to learn about local people’s lives – we visited them in their homes, learned about their circumstances and opened our eyes to the reality of how other people live.

It was life-changing.

That trip shaped my passion for travel by showing me that the best way to discover the world is through the eyes and hearts of local people.

Through this blog, I continue to share my discoveries and deepening of my understanding of the world. You’ll find posts on visiting the Sahara Desert, cultivating tea in Sri Lanka, walking in the footsteps of St Paul in Cyprus, Malta and Rome or hiking along levadas on Madeira Island.

Cultures and world religions fascinate me, and, as I am currently completing a Masters of Theology at Regis College at the University of Toronto, I also love to find the sacred in every place I travel to. This is the mysterious, the magic that surrounds us: ancient sacred sites in Ireland, or Buddhist art in Sri Lanka.

I am thrilled you are here, thank you for reading. To stay up to date on my ongoing trips, feel free to subscribe to alerts about my new posts in the footer, and if you’d like to reach me, leave a comment on any post or reach me on my Contact page.

With love,

Photo of Joanna Kowalski in Sri Lanka


  1. Hi Joanna,
    I’m a volunteer at the Royal Ontario Museum. One of our programs, ROMBus (a day bus trip program), will be visiting Saint George’s Greek Orthodox Church in December. I do publicity for these trips which raise funds for the museum and I would like to include a photo of the church’s interior. You have some gorgeous shots on your blog. Would you permit me to use one for a ROM newsletter? I’ll be happy to credit you. I need to know asap please if it’s okay.
    Liz Campbell

    1. Dear Liz, I am sorry, I haven’t been checking my blog for a while and I didn’t reply to your question. Of course you can use the pictures from the blog. Please feel free to copy any picture you may need for your project. I would also recommend the Macedonian Orthodox church in Markham. If you want we could arrange a visit with the priest. It is a breathtaking church. Let me know if you like the idea.

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