Haha thanks guys for the big welcome!
About the trip: you bet your arse I'll be taking photos!
Fortunately my beau's a bit of a photography enthusiast (he studied it at university here), so I think I'll have more trouble getting it off his face than out of the backpack. We've got a lot of preparation to do for the trip (including Tim building his own tourer bike) and getting stronger & healthier is just one part of it.
As for the deadlifts, etc. I used to do those at the gym, but as I think I may have mentioned (or forgotten to) in my original post, I suffered from a massive knee injury about a year and a half ago and so any kind of weighted lifting through my knees is a big no-no according to my physio. I actually fell on my right knee & fractured the patella a couple of years back without realising it (thanks to a very high pain tolerance!!!) & it wasn't until I started doing heavy-lifting exercises through it that I realised that something was up. Quite randomly, I twisted through it one day and it just went 'pop'. The fracture had damaged the cartilage bonding my medial collateral ligament to my kneecap & it had suddenly torn off with a chunk of cartilage. I might have a high pain threshold, but that floored me. Anyway, it's been an arduous process & months in crutches to get me hobbling, walking, then jogging and finally jumping again. But the long & short of it is that things like weighted squats & deadlifts all come at too higher risk of re-injury sadly.
So, while I don't have a PT, I have my (very expensive
) physio & he's pointed me in the direction of plyometrics & free weights. I've worked out a decent routine that alternates 5 days a week between upper & lower body initially so I don't burn out, and incorporates some of the stuff that was really working for me before the injury & some new stuff courtesy of my physio!
Anyway, cheers for the support guys. I might not be the most regular visitor on the forums, but I will definitely be checking in consistently with progress over the next 9mths & to see how other people are going.