Great suggestions. Sounds almost like the ideal group. I still struggle to find people in my area but given it is a pretty backwards area in South East Asia and the next supermarket is 40 minutes with the car away, most people around us know how to provide for themselves.

In terms of gear my goal is to learn to use the local tools and master them. What our neighbor can do with his flat head machete is pretty awesome, but he has worked with it since he was a child.

Alea iacta est ("The die has been cast")