This above line is the sticker for me.
Originally Posted by redmike
If I had a nickel for every pro travel kit that I've read about that eclipse your intended kit by a factor of 5 I'd be a rich man. My feeling is that either you go with the intention of creating images as a pro and for sale or you go as a tourist with something smaller to remind you of the experience. Not everyone can take a trip like this, and if travel method (ship?) can provide you with a place to store stuff I'd personally be taking the kitchen sink along as well. If your backpacking it, that's another story.
Personally if I was taking just one lens, and that would never happen, it would be a top of the line wide to medium telephoto in a 35mm slr system. Something in the 35mm to 120mm FL range or thereabouts. I prefer a wide and a short telephoto lens, you may like normals lenses and longs, who knows, your pick. A body or system choice is the big one. Pro's take bodies and multiple lenses, travelers take a camera. For such a trip I'd have to consider a MF camera although I don't like them. A compromise would be the rangefinder for the documentary work if about the people and a MF camera with a wide (and maybe a medium) for the landscapes. Landscapes are broad subjects and you need to pull detail which a MF camera will give you. It's a hard choice really and much depends on the travel arrangements. Thinking about it for a second, and for a one camera kit, probably a Pentax 645 NII and 3 lenses. The internal metering would do it for me and the lenses top rate. On trips I either go to shoot or go to travel. The choice dictates the kit for me. Luck with your choice.