Re: Todd Sucherman here!
You ask what I suggest:
I suggest you try any gear before you buy it. Something like cymbals and pedals need to be felt and played before slapping down the cash. The DD is more like the Axis but it has a bit more whip behind it if you dial it in right. It's still light and fast feeling, but you should play it first. It's expensive too. That being said, a $29.95 DVD (the WAS going to be priced at $69 before the economy tanked) might serve you better for 9 months while you're away than a $600 pedal! Especially if cash is tight......
I wish you luck--and stay safe.
Cheers from Reading, PA