"The Promise Of Things To Come" LeslieofTodd's Profile

Happy July!

July is a beautiful month in the mountains and valleys of Central Pennsylvania. The farms now look like patchwork quilts and home gardens are lush with growth. June was very stormy, with rain almost every day -- but this made up for a dry May. I'm sure that farmers, gardeners and visitors to Raystown Lake are all looking forward to some long, sunny July days. For me, it is a pleasure to be out, regardless of the weather.

This photograph was taken in the afternoon of May 27th on a drive through "Big Valley" which spans both Huntingdon and Mifflin Counties. Many Amish and Mennonites make their homes and farm in this fertile valley. It is a beautiful drive any time of year, one of my favorites, but old fashioned plows and Amish buggies must be watched for on the two-lane road. The Amish prefer not to be photographed -- but I sometimes will take a discrete photo when passing by. The variety of styles of buggies depends on which "order" the Amish family belongs to and the weather usually determines whether an open or closed buggy is in use.

Happy and safe travels to you!

Get Up And Go!

In my 58 years I have lived in five states and traveled to many others in the USA and I've made multiple trips to the Virgin Islands, Mexico and Canada. I have always enjoyed visiting new places and have a keen interest in the culture, history and food of the places I've been and where I hope to go.

Back in 2006 I tore up my left ankle and had it repaired with a handful of steel screws and plates. That experience slowed me down considerably and forced my semi-retirement from selling recreational real estate around Raystown Lake in Central Pennsylvania. In the spring of 2012 I fell on the steps in my home and ravaged the tibial plateau in my left leg. Again, able hands sculpted a repair of stainless steel and I spent many months regaining my ability to ambulate.

Both accidents damaged my confidence as well as my body--and a poor body it is; MS has taken its toll since the early 90s and my spine is aging even faster than my brain! In 2013 I decided that I needed to do something to regain my psychological strength and test the physical progress that hard work in physical therapy provided.

I had never been to Europe but have held a life-long dream of traveling through France and I planned a journey that tested my ability to travel with mobility issues. I use a cane and have a noticable limp. I can cover some distance but I must watch my step and take my time and manage pain and fatigue. With the trip to France as my prize, I worked hard to gain strength to handle the rigors of travel. Every trip up and down the steps of my home builds a little more muscle and balances my gait. And the time spent on the computer researching and planning my journey was wonderful brain exercise. And I am learning so much I did not know. One of the greatest things I have discovered is the amazing community of travelers who are willing to share their experiences and expertise with others.

I look forward to the interactions with others who have also been bitten by the travel bug--both the able-bodied and the disabled. After all, it is all about the journey...

"Leavin' On A Jet Plane..."

(Written just before the trip to France) This coming Tuesday (23rd April, 2013) I will be flying over the landscape in this photo; an aerial view of where I spend most of my time. I am on the cusp of departure for an eighteen day trip through parts of France by train. The trip is a life-long dream and also a life-affirming action. I stumbled onto Virtual Tourist back in February while I was playing travel agent and planning this trip. Since I signed on to Virtual Tourist, there has not been a day that has gone by that I have not been enriched by the contributions of committed travellers and armchair travellers alike. I have made friends, and I thank each and every one of you for all of the wonderful advice and support that you have given me. The bonds of friendship that are formed here on VT are something I can pack (with no additional weight!) and take with me when I go out into the world to explore. Very special thanks to those who have helped guide me when I was clueless, bouyed me when I flagged, and kept me out of trouble when I did get back out in the world.

(Updated March 20, 2015) In the spring of 2013 I made it to France. I went, I stayed for 18 days and I came home basically in one piece, vowing to never try that again. Once I recovered from it all, I booked a return trip to France for May of 2015, but a decline in my health required me to re-book the same trip for the spring of 2016; an entire month in France, most of it in Provence. Something to keep me putting one foot in front of the other, with the promise of continuing travels.

Coming soon(er or later)...a travelogue and tips concerning what REALLY happened in France! And more about beautiful Raystown Country in the mountains of South Central Pennsylvania. I write as about as slow as I walk. C'est la vie.

  • Intro Updated Jul 5, 2015
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Comments (89)

  • JessieLang's Profile Photo
    Jul 6, 2015 at 3:01 AM

    I hope you make it!

  • IreneMcKay's Profile Photo
    Jul 5, 2015 at 7:14 AM

    Nice new photo. Hope all is well. Irene

  • LeslieofTodd's Profile Photo
    Jun 7, 2015 at 9:27 PM

    PJ, it is stewing in my head as I try to determine if I am fit enough to make a second planned go of it next Spring. It's all booked and if I make it there will be the rest of the story. If I don't, it will be a different tale. I've been slow to pick up on writing on VT. I am a snail. But it will come... ;-)

  • pieter_jan_v's Profile Photo
    Jun 7, 2015 at 1:06 AM

    Now, where is that France Travel page of you? PJ

    • LeslieofTodd's Profile Photo
      Jun 12, 2015 at 1:04 PM

      PJ, I neglected to reply within the comment box. Sorry. Original reply below. Leslie

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Jun 1, 2015 at 12:42 AM

    Nice new photo of the Amish buggy.
    Greetings from Frankfurt am Main.

    • LeslieofTodd's Profile Photo
      Jun 1, 2015 at 1:01 AM

      Hi Don! Thanks for the compliment. I take the drive through Big Valley each month and try to snap a few photos because it is such a lovely area. Hope you are enjoying the run-up to summer and have lots of pleasant travels planned. Always nice to hear from you!

  • angiebabe's Profile Photo
    May 20, 2015 at 7:32 PM

    Hi Leslie! came to see again the last communicado we had here and you made such a complimentary reply but ive realised i never replied to sorry! but on arriving see your lovely new main pic - I really really loved my visit to the Amish area around Lancaster, including a visit to the Mennonite visitor centre. Im sure the previous visit to your HP though you didnt have Pennsylvania as your home state? anyway i loved my trip around Pennsylvania..happy travel memories and learning more about the wonders and diversity of the world we live in! (Just as i am here in Japan at the moment - how interesting it is to have perceptions and opinions or feelings about a counry and its people and then see the difference when in reality you spend some time there! am actually loving my time in Japan and feeling a bit sad about having to make a decision to commit to a flight out of here in the next 2 or 3 days!) have a great day over your way :)

    • angiebabe's Profile Photo
      May 20, 2015 at 7:33 PM

      also...there are quite a number of Mennonites in Xi'an where ive been for a year and still on travels after leaving...some really lovely personalities doing great things in China and its been a pleasure to get around the world meeting them :)

    • LeslieofTodd's Profile Photo
      May 21, 2015 at 10:17 PM

      So nice to here from you! I actually do live in Huntingdon County, PA not too far from adjoining Mifflin County, in the middle of the state to the west of Lancaster by several hours (it is a big state). I took that same drive through Big Valley today on the way to the doctor's office. Big teams of draft horses were pulling the Amish plows, the children of the Mennonite School and the Amish children were done with their studies for the day and were rolling down the side of the road on their little foot scooters. The simple folk were busy with their gardens and bringing in the days laundry. Many buggies on the road today so I was especially careful. Very pastoral scenes! No time for photos today though, except on the way home, rather late because I "went to town" and got a hair cut and did some needed shopping after my appointment. I returned by another route and stopped to take some photos of a farmer plowing in the dark with the strong headlights on a modern tractor.

      I will be back in Big Valley next week and hope to get some photos of the greening of the valley and the lovely flowers. I'm not very talented with a camera but I enjoy taking photos.

      Your life of travel and work fascinate me and I look forward to reading more of your pages as time permits. Right now I am summoning the energy to try to get some gardening done (the weather has been so strange--patchy frost called for in some areas of the central mountains tonight) --herb plants in and seeds poked into the soil. Inch by inch is how I move along...kind of like a snail. ;-)

      If you ever get back to PA, I would love to show you our region. Happy to know you've enjoyed Japan. My father spent several years in Japan after the war before he married my beautiful late mother in the late 40s and his time there left a deep impression on him. He is in his 90s now and whenever he eats especially good cherries he talks about how good they were in Japan.

      Be well and safe travels always!

  • kenHuocj's Profile Photo
    May 11, 2015 at 3:49 AM

    at least this septua is able to flec the knees and lumbars digging our dandelions and trying to get the veggie seeds into their boxes, trying to remember the rotation sequence et all - enjoy the free solar Vitamin D too;-)))

    • kenHuocj's Profile Photo
      May 12, 2015 at 1:36 PM

      Lucky you, I use they age old method - one at a time, will send you a few photos tomorrow ;-)))

    • LeslieofTodd's Profile Photo
      May 21, 2015 at 10:25 PM

      In the 1800s dandelions were cultivated in England and shown at floral exhibitions. My dad always dug them out too (usually cursing each one), wanting a perfect green lawn.

  • wabat's Profile Photo
    Mar 15, 2015 at 6:54 PM

    Leslie, lovely to see you are keeping an eye on what I got up to in Papua New Guinea, all those years ago :-)

  • myriam_c's Profile Photo
    Mar 7, 2015 at 8:44 AM

    Not quite spring, but beautiful nonetheless!

    • myriam_c's Profile Photo
      Mar 8, 2015 at 3:37 AM

      Belgium's climate is pretty mild year round. No harsh winters, no harsh summers. Not a lot of sunshine either, unfortunately. Pretty much rain throughout the year. In fact: a boring climate. That's why we travel as much as we can. :-)

    • LeslieofTodd's Profile Photo
      Mar 8, 2015 at 6:34 AM

      Well, too much of any kind of weather seems to be a motivator for travel for a lot of people! ;-)

  • kaloz's Profile Photo
    Feb 21, 2015 at 11:40 PM

    Looking forward to your travel pages on your visit to France.

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“Pull yourself up by the bootstraps and put one foot in front of the other.”

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