Lost in the Valley of Death
A riveting work of narrative nonfiction centering on the unsolved disappearance of an American backpacker in India--one of at least two dozen tourists who have met a similar fate in the remote and storied Parvati Valley. For centuries, India has enthralled Westerners looking for an exotic getaway, a brief immersion in yoga and meditation, or, in rare cases, a true pilgrimage to find spiritual revelation. Justin Alexander Shetler, an inveterate traveler trained in wilderness survival, was one such seeker. In his early thirties, Justin quit his job at a tech startup and set out on a global journey-across the United States by motorcycle, then down to South America, and on to the Philippines, Thailand, and Nepal--in search of authentic experiences and meaningful encounters while documenting his travels on Instagram. His enigmatic character and magnetic personality gained him a devoted following who lived vicariously through his adventures. But the ever-restless explorer was driven to seek out ever-greater extremes, and greater risks, in what had become a personal quest--his own hero's journey. In 2016, he made his way to the Parvati Valley, a remote and rugged corner of the Indian Himalayas steeped in mystical tradition.