Mervin Hastings has always had a thing for the outdoors. Born and raised in the British Virgin Islands, he spent much of his time exploring his backyard of Brewers Bay, on the island of Tortola. As an adult, he turned his passion for naturalism into a profession: studying conservation biology and now working in the BVI’s Environment and Climate Change Unit under the Ministry of Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration.

When the pandemic hit, he added another title: tour guide. Stuck in lockdown at home, he turned to the familiar outdoors for comfort, broadcasting educational nature walks to his friends on Facebook. It sparked interest and eventually led to Hastings creating a new company: Eco Adventures BVI, born out of the interest of locals wanting to know more about their own country, an inspiring example of making lemonade out of pandemic lemons. And in Mervin’s case, it’s also literal—at the end of his tours, he offers guests local soursop and passion fruit juices and, yup, homemade lemonade. As told to Vanita Salisbury.

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