I had to do quite a bit of work to prepare for this adventure, and while there are a few books on the subject of gap-year or round-the-world travel, by their very nature they can only be very general and vague or else they will be very incorrect.
In seeking like-minded people and advice, I found BootsnAll Independent Travel to be a great starting point. From there I found an abundance of people preparing, doing or having completed similar adventures. I also found it to be a valuable link and reference resource.
I found my RTW travel agent Air Treks from there as well. From what I have heard you need a RTW expert, most local agents don’t have the skill to put together a good deal. Airtreks seems to know what they are doing and so far have proven to be very careful with their customer, giving excellent advice and encouragement during the planning stage.
Travel gear I found mostly either locally or at REI. You can take a look at what I packed here. Even when I didn’t buy something at REI they were a great help in comparing gear. Plus that have really good international shipping, something an expat appreciates anyway.
For location advice The World Travel Guide is fantastic. For more esoteric budget traveler info, Backpackers Ultimate Guide is great. For Hostels I also joined Hostelling International, which has a global network of hostels and discounts on hostels, transport, many attractions and some shops. Train travel questions were well answered by The Man in Seat 61.
For medical needs I first saw my regular doctor, for a general check up and then got inoculated up the wahoo by a travel doctor at the Hong Kong Travel Health Service. The travel doctor turned me on to the International Society of Travel Medicine. I had inoculations for: flu, hepatitis A & B, meningococcal, rabies, yellow fever, tetanus, and of course malaria meds for my travels in malaria prone areas. But since every itinerary is different, and these bugs change and migrate, it’s great it know there is a world wide web of medical specialists for this sort of thing.
In my own research I have stumbled across too many blogs and web pages to list, some of them suited to my way of thinking and some not so much. What I have come away with is that you can take something from pretty much anybody, but in the end you need to figure a lot out on your own. With a little effort and the help of kindred spirits you meet who can hasten your learning, you too can take a dream journey without too much trouble.