If you buy a new bike you should probably buy a touring bike instead of a cyclocross bike, because you are touring, not riding/racing cyclocross.
In terms of a conversion for your GT, Kona makes a wide range of rigid steel forks that are cheap and worth looking into. if you convert to drop bars you will likely need to change your shifters, stem, handlebars, and brakes. Possibly even your front crankset/front derailleur. In other words it isn't cheap.
I recommend you post your question in the touring subforum.