Interview with Jo Patti Munisteri, Author of Traveling off the X

What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book? 

I was in remote Alaska when I was writing, “Traveling Off the X”.  The internet was unreliable and I was writing through the winter when we had 24 hours of darkness.  I had to write either before or after my fulltime job. I had my notebooks from years of working overseas I had to go through and choose the most salient events to record.

What was the highlight of writing this book?

Remembering the best parts of my family life when my son and husband were still alive, and recording my good friend and teammate’s actions before her death in Kabul

What do you hope your readers take away from this book?

A better understanding of humanitarian projects and what its like to work day to day in conflict zones as well as a broader understanding of other  people in other parts of our world.

If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be? 

Intrepid, compassionate, diligent

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

Swimming, hiking, dancing, having long, in-depth conversations face to face and reading a variety of books.

Do you write listening to music? If so, what music inspired or accompanied this current book?

Yes, most of the time. Depending on the chapter either Celtic harp music, Northern Cree, sometimes rock n roll and music from the country I’m writing about.

Do you have a library membership? 

Yes, always a priority to get a library card wherever I live. Many countries don’t have public libraries FYI.

Where can readers find out more about you and your books?

I created my own website at

Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers about? 

Yes, just finished writing my second non-fiction book entitled, “Traveler Between Worlds”.  I have a description on my website.

Tell us about your first published book? What was the journey like? 

My first published book was my poetry book, “Kismet”. My daughter’s publishing company, Di Angelo publications published it in 2017.

My first non-fiction is published by Defiance but it was during the restrictions of the plandemic in 2021, so I didn’t get enough press on the launch or opportunity to do readings or live podcasts.

Brief excerpt from a review of Traveling Off the X:

“This incredible memoir takes us to places we are unlikely to travel to and gives us insights into situations we are unlikely to experience unless we worked in covert operations for government agencies. The book is written in first person, so despite when these events actually took place, the reader feels very much as if events are unfolding as they are being read. The author has a knack for highlighting and explaining things along the way, such as why communism doesn’t work. I also really appreciated her sense of irony such as this phrase, “the team posed taking pictures in front of instruments of torture and weapons displayed.” The book is filled with intrigue, information, and casts a light on human behavior. Loved it.” -Vanessa O’Brien, Adventurer and author of “To The Greatest Heights”

Excerpt from my book: Chapter 17 “Kabul-First Contact”

Saturday morning at around 4:00 am I decided it was all clear and I could go down to get some tea. I put on my black abaya and tip toed downstairs. No one was around. I started the kettle, had my cup, spoons and teabag ready. The kettle stopped whistling and I poured out some of the boiling water. Then I heard a key being turned in the front door. The door opened.

I couldn’t see the front door from my position back in the kitchen. Therewas no way out and to get to the stairs I would have to run across the front foyer. I looked for a large kitchen knife. There were none out on the counter and opening a drawer might be noisy. I grabbed the kettle of boiling water.

A tall man in shalwar kameez with a turban-like headdress approached. He was reaching into his front sash, a place where Afghan men often kept their special daggers – kukri or pulwars. I stood ready to throw the boiling water on him.

He stopped when he saw me. We both looked at each other for a brief moment, casing each other. Then the man showed me both his hands, placed one over his heart and bowed slightly. He pointed to the downstairs bathroom and made a washing motion with his hands. I kept looking at him while holding the kettle. He backed up, then turned and went into the bathroom and shut the door. I heard the door lock click.

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