Well, I'd spent 70 quid storing the diving gear at Bangkok Airport and lugged it all the way to Australia. I left it in Adelaide, and Dad's just told me it's cost another 204 quid to take it back on the plane. Not bad considering I dived 6 times with it, eh? Painful, but I couldn't face carrying it around South America, even if I'm planning to work my way up from Colombia through Latin America employed as a Divemaster. A lesson to be learned...only take dive equipment if it's a dive holiday.
I'd bought a smaller (45-50 litre) pack in Adelaide, ditched some clothes and books. It's working a lot better. You can move quicker, run for buses and jeepneys; not possible with another 16kg of plastic, rubber and neoprene dragging you down.
This site is very useful. I followed a lot of the advice, but should have listened about the smaller bag. Basically I'm down to a tracky top, 5 tee-shirts, two shorts, two swim-shorts, five pairs of socks and undercrackers, one pair of trainers and flip-flops, and that is it. I'll be staying dusty and grubby-looking on the road in South America, too. Look like you've got nothing, and you'll avoid any hassle.
As regards guidebooks, next time I'd just buy one for the country I'm starting in, as it's so easy to buy one for the next country. The Rough Guide To Southeast Asia rivals War And Peace for weight. I've been ripping out countries as I leave them. And carrying 5 novels as I was previously? Insane. Read one and swap it when you bump into other Westerners, it's always good for starting a conversation in a bus terminal, for starters.
SLRs are a no-no unless you're serious about photography. Compacts these days have enough depth of field, and my IXUS is performing well. The weight of my SLR is ridiculous, and wandering around a third world country with the equivalent of a year's wages swinging around your neck is too much of a temptation for my liking. The less attention you draw to yourself, the better.
Here endeth the lesson. I hope...