Hmm, a year is a long time to risk going with a non-touring bike. For now, Fuji Touring remains my top choice at the moment. I recently found out I may be able to get a decent discount off Tifosi bikes through my work. The Tifosi Classic looks like it could be decent, any thoughts? Might not have enough gears...
The Tifosi is also not suitable as a touring bike and has the same problems. Gearing isn't low enough and the components are entry level at best.
You can spend the money and buy a suitable and durable touring bike right off the bat or spend even more money and frustration trying to make an unsuitable bike work. It's a "pay me now or pay me later" situation.
The Fuji Touring is the closest you've mentioned to a suitable bike and somewhat lower thasn stock gearing can be had with only a low cost granny chainring change. Perhaps even a 22T granny chainring will fit if the granny bolt circle is 64 mm as on Shimano's other Trekking cranks.