I've been treating this trip as if it had two parts: India, and the later stuff. But really, there are three. And thinking about it like this helps me answer the (somewhat common) question of "why?"- either "why this trip?" or "why these specific places?"
Here's what I want out of the trip: India, Fun, and the Unknown.
First, India. (and Nepal and Bhutan.) September to December. I want to soak up the culture, because India is The Most of Everything. The most amazing mountains. Sickly sweet chai, mattar paneer, dosas. Ramayana and Bollywood. I want to meditate and yoga and learn about Buddhism (and Hinduism) from the source.
Second, Fun. Visiting friends in south India and Indonesia. Hanging out with my family in Australia. Straight-up touristing in Iran, hanging out in Turkey (motorbiking?) enjoying underground cities and falafel, and some kind of touristing through Bulgaria and Romania. Maybe I'll pause for a month somewhere here or something.
Third, the Unknown. Ukraine and whichever of the Stans I can manage to get to. This is the exploring, the adventuring, the part where I come back with some knowledge that's four degrees away from regular life. I haven't thought about this as much; it's a ways off. I don't know how someone finds "the unknown", either, but it feels like it'd be easier to find there than almost anywhere else.