While it seems like Amanda Lindhout was a driven but naive journalist, she was actually on a subconscious mission to relive the story of her mother's religious abduction 11 years earlier.
(The Times omits this but it came up in the NY Post http://bit.ly/1397hjp.)
In my experience, Investors have seen plenty of these "Vision Quest" startup scenarios and the smart ones have a special radar for them. Generally, they are big losers because the founders tend to ignore market realities and are impossible to deal with.
And then you have a Steve Jobs! So how do you tell the difference?
You'll have to read my book....
By the way, this is not an affliction dedicated to the young - it happens with mature folk too!
This is my comment published in the New York Times.