It has reached that point where visas need to happen, which in theory shouldn't be that hard. All I need to sort at the moment are the Central Asian visas, as most (all?) South American countries will just let you in (technically, visa on entry) and it is way too early to try and sort the few (the one?) I need to get in advance for SE Asia. That and, realistically, plans change.
Dragoman provide the Letters of Invitation and I'll be using an agency (Travcour) to do the actual leg work - the fees they charge are a bargain as compared to the amount of effort needed, let alone the use of holiday time. Simply fill in a big pile of forms, send off an even bigger pile of paperwork (Letters of Invitation, proof of residency, etc.), more passport sized photos than you'd have thought needed and the passport itself. In theory a simple and stress-free process. And yet the source of much stress - no visas, no trip.