Great RR. I noticed it only last week and caught up during the entire last weekend.
Many of things you wrote about, resonate with me very strongly. I too am a veteran, Israeli Military (tanks, infantry ran after our dusty trails..
), and through out my 3 long and tough years in the army (we had our own Afghanistan, it is called Lebanon), had this dream of a long ADV Motorcycle trip, in Australia.
That was back in 1995.
I got out of the army, with $200 in my pocket (IDF service doesn't pay more than say $100 a month..) and started working in various jobs - body guard, gardener, fuel station operator.
Saved penny to penny (actually Shekel to Shekel). Had a motorcycle license complete.
My dream bike back then was a DR-750 or DR-800 ("DR-BIG"), which I wanted so badly. It was so funny to see it suddenly in your thread. DR-650 DAKAR was my 2nd dream bike.
Anyway, I met this beautiful girl, she loved travelling too, and had a mini RTW on her own already. Told her about my plans, we started dating..
So then I'm in a dilemma - she's amazing, only thing she hates motorcycles and I really wanted to travel.
We both quit our jobs and went on RTW for 6 months, RTW literally: Israel/Thailand/Australia/New-Zealand/Fiji/Cook Islands/Tahiti/Bora-Bora/LA/Paris/Israel
Just not on the motorcycle.
I think I made the right decision
Fast forward almost 20 years, I have 3 kids and a V-Strom (and my dear wife) and we are travelling as much as we can.
But that big ADV is still waiting. One day..
Enjoy your time, I wish you all the best.
P.S. The Galil Assault Rifle you took a photo of (Columbia?) reminded my of my Glilon (shortened version of Galil) that was my de-facto GF for 3 years, we went together 24/7 and even slept together..
(Israeli soldiers never ever leave their rifles, even at night time, not sure how it is with the Marines)