This definitely can be compared to Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild, just set in India. It was well investigated and Justin came across as a seeker, a wanderer, a survivor, and full of normal human flaws.
This was an interesting story about a young man who is always searching for something, and ends up disappearing while looking for fulfillment. Justin Alexander came off as a showoff, and a very confused, unhappy person. I felt sorry for him, but I also disliked him. It was an interesting read but tedious at times due to the personality of Justin.
In 2016, American backpacker Justin Alexander Shetler disappeared while traveling in the Himalayas. Shetler was last seen in the treacherous Parvati valley, India. This gripping tale by journalist Rustad ( Big Lonely Doug) is a real life mystery. I raced through Lost In the Valley of Death. Very well researched and Rustad does justice to the life a compelling young man. For fans of Into The Wild by Krakauer.
Stories where people up and disappear into the wild or wilderness or what have you always intrigue me, and LOST IN THE VALLEY OF DEATH by Harley Rustad fits that bill. It is the story of Justin Alexander Shetler, a traveller and adventurer who was looking for meaning in his life, and who disappeared in the Parvati Valley in India while on a spiritual trek. Rustad tells his story as well as a broader examination of a desire seen in other Westerners who go to India in search of themselves and spiritual awakening. I liked slowly peeling away the many layers of Shetler's story, and a story that very easily could have been about a Western gaze and misconception about the 'Mystical' East is a bit more than that. Though don't get me wrong, there is still a bit of that, though I think Rustad doesn't glamorize it too much. At the heart of it this book is about a person who is trying to find himself after going through a massive amount of trauma, and how trying to find oneself can be life altering. I liked the history of the Parvati Valley, as well as the history of Westerners going to India and exploring for their own self discovery (and the fallout and consequences of that). And I also liked that Rustad doesn't strive to speculate or answer what happened to Shetler. Perhaps he was the victim of foul play, perhaps the victim of an accident, or perhaps he did, indeed, find a new life. It's an interesting read.
Justin Alexander Shetler was an experienced traveler, an adventure seeker, so no one was really surprised when he quit his job and set out on an epic around the world trip. He documented his travels and the people he met on social media, sharing his adventures with the world. Always on the lookout for that next travel “high”, in 2016 Shetler headed to a corner of the Himalayas to study under a Sadhu, an Indian holy man, where he lived in a cave, meditating , until he was deemed ready to make a spiritual journey with the Sadhu. They were on their way to a holy lake, but Shetler was never seen again. Reminiscent of Krakauer’s Into the Wild, this is a remarkable and harrowing journey