If you have not seen the work of Lois Conner, you might want to find a copy of the book, “The Photographs of Lois Conner, China”, Callaway, NY, 2000. This was a US$100 book when it came out, but is currently available for US$29.95 at http://www.hamiltonbook.com/hamiltonbook.storefront
If you are not familiar with Lois you might find her work inspirational. She has traveled to the mountains of the province of Guangxi in southern China many times over the last two decades. She carried first an 8x10 and later a 7x17 camera, tripod, and personal things through the mountains on a bicycle. She contact prints in platinum and her work is simply stunning. Beware it (Lois's work, large format, platinum) is also addictive. She was a Phi Beta Kappa student at Yale and has since taught photography at both Princeton and Yale.
Good luck. No doubt we all wish we could go along.