About Steve

My favorite photo of Dana and me. Best wife a man could have.

Hometown: Jonesboro, Arkansas

Professional background: All things mass communication with a global perspective: newspaper journalist, congressional press secretary, private foundation director, business/life coach, marketing and publishing. I’ve interviewed more than 15,000 subjects during my journalism career.

Education: BS Journalism; MS Mass Communication

Married to: Dana Hoggard Watkins. Three children, Adam, Emma, Sophie.

It is said this is what an angry Ecuadorian woman looks like when the esposo is late for dinner!

It is said this is what an angry Ecuadorian woman looks like when the esposo is late for dinner!

DOB: 2-10-66

10 words that describe me: believer, journalist, adventurer, missionary, Southern, High D, rule-breaker, loyal, transparent, and OCD.

Pet Peeves: bad listeners, passive-aggressive behavior, chronic complainers.

Why I blog: I love writing, have lots of ideas and opinions, and the written word is how I best express myself. Why would I not blog?

The facade of our second home in Puerto Cayo, Ecuador.

The facade of our second home in Puerto Cayo, Ecuador.

One of the crazier things I’ve done in life, but glad we did it, is building this home away from home in Puerto Cayo, Ecuador. We spend time there writing, learning, and doing our best to live out the Gospel and show the love of Christ to others. My experience living in Latin America is one of the five things that’s most radically changed my life.

In 2013, Dana and I were on an episode of House Hunters International. The episode is called “Livin la Vida Local in Puerto Cayo, Ecuador.” You can catch it on Netflix.

Some “Don’ts”  I’ve Learned: Don’t take yourself too seriously. Don’t freak out. Don’t burn bridges, except every once in a while when you need to, then really burn them down.

Favorite writers: A.W. Tozer, Pat Conroy, Lewis Grizzard, Larry McMurtry, Kyle Idleman, David Platt, Donald Miller, Brene Brown, Ernest Hemingway.

Fear of: Heights and failure.

Favorite Bible Verses: “And God said, ‘Let there be light, and there was light.'” – Genesis 1:3“For I am the Lord your God, who takes hold of you by the right hand, and says to you, ‘Do not fear. I will help you.'” -Isaiah 41:13; “He must increase; but I must decrease.” – John 3:30

Three things you’d be surprised to know about me:

  1. I grew up as a huge fan of professional wrestling. Wrestling where they used chains, threw chairs and Texas Tornado Death Matches. At 48, I had my photo made with Jerry “The King” Lawler, and it’s one of my prized possessions.
  2. I’m an introvert who plays the role of extrovert only when it’s necessary.
  3. I aspire to own a food truck one day soon.

Favorite quote from my favorite writer: “You don’t learn how to write in a writing program. You learn how by leading an interesting life. Open yourself up to all experience. Let life pour through you the way light pours through leaves.” – Pat Conroy

I’m not that good at: what I’d call meaningless chit-chat.

Favorite movies: Gladiator, Braveheart, Ragamuffin; Lonesome Dove, Hunt for Red October, Shawshank Redemption, The Way.

Favorite TV shows: Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown, 60 Minutes, CBS Sunday Morning, Seinfeld, King of Queens, Everybody Loves Raymond, Meet the Press.

Most people who don’t know me would call me: Guarded, hard to get to know and distant.

People who know me best would say: He’d do anything in the world for you. 

Significant accomplishments: Ran 3 marathons in 18 months 2006-07.

Hobbies: yard work, reading, writing/blogging, art collecting.

At the Zero marker in Fisterra, Galicia, Spain.

At the Zero marker in Fisterra, Galicia, Spain.

DONE: In October 2015, I spent 7-weeks walking 500 miles across Spain on the ancient pilgrimage of the Camino de Santiago. The experience thrilled me.  I’m seriously considering a thru-hike attempt of the Appalachian Trail in 2017 – all 2,183 miles.

ALSO DONE: As a result of the experience above, I’ve completed my first book, #PilgrimStrong.

MY TRAIL NAME: High Roller.

A defining moment in my life: When a career pastor refused to baptize my father in the hospital because he could not be fully immerse.

My life philosophy summed up in three words: Let it Rain.

CONTACT ME at steve@pilgrimstrong.com or call me at 870-926-4055 (US).



15 thoughts on “About Steve

  1. Hi Steve. Just found your blog and am interested in what you know about Puerto Cayo and where abouts you are building in Puerto Cayo. Also how you found the lot and the process you are going through to build there. We are thinking about a trip to this area (never been to Ecuador) instead of Salinas. We are thinking about sometime in January but are now concerned that it is the rainy season that month. We are flexible in getting there, but the earliest is January. Would also be interested in your thoughts of retiring there. It seems like all of the necessary services (groceries, medical, dental) are available in Manta. Also any recommendations for a hotel there in Puerto Cayo. So much to find out about Puerto Cayo.



    • Alden: Are you in the states? If so, it would probably be better if we spoke by phone, and I don’t mind at all giving you a call. Yes, if this is something you’re serious about, there are lots of questions. I have lots of answers. The first trip my wife and I took was a total adventure, rental car and a road map (which did us absolutely no good). If you’re in the states, send me your number and I’ll give you a call. If not, we can email.


  2. Mr. Watkins,
    I met you at the writer’s conferance in Tennessee. I wanted to hear you speak,but I was in another workshop. The Lord had been speaking to me about Ezekiel 37. I was so moved that you were speaking on that book of the Bible. God wanted me to have Life breathed back into my life as well as my writing.

  3. Thanks for coming by our blog. In the AFLC (Association of Free Lutheran Congregations) we have missionaries in Ecuador, Justo and Patiricia Pillman and their son Nathanael. We will have info on them from time to time on our blog. You can also follow them at http://aflc-wm.blogspot.com/

  4. “A defining moment in my life: When a career pastor refused to baptize my father in the hospital because he could not be fully immersed.”

    This is messed up. I’d be curious to read about the affect of this one you since you call it a defining moment. How did it change your faith. Have you written about it here or elsewhere?

  5. Pingback: 7 Things That Changed My Life | Pilgrim Strong

Leave a Reply to WMF Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s