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It’s funny how life’s experiences can change your perceptions and habits. For years, hiking in South Africa, I would go to great lengths to keep my feet and boots dry. Walking to an easier crossing where you could boulder hop across a river, or even taking my boots off to cross in Crocs and then put those sweet-smelling dry socks and boots back on.

The New Zealand experience is quite different. Getting your feet wet is an inevitable part of hiking. Yes, you still apply costly products to waterproof your boots, you still wear gaiters, but when you get to a river – provided it isn’t a raging torrent and unsafe - you simply wade in and walk across… and then you cross the same river another four or five times on the way to you destination…

I’m not sure if it is part of the tough tramper Kiwi image or the inability to plan a route – although, in fairness, a lot of South Island rivers will change course after a flood. But like sandflies, the locals don’t seem to notice the wet-boot issue or consider it a problem

For interlopers, like me – it is also a lot like sandflies. You don’t particularly like the experience, but you eventually accept that nobody cares and you get used to the discomfort.

Life has shaped me in other ways too. Here's one example: Probably about a decade ago I got a little ahead of myself and applied to a stock photography site; and I was rejected. As a writer you get used to rejection, but as a hopeful shooter I had a fragile ego… and one rejection clearly meant that my journalism pics were not good enough for Getty Images, or anyone else.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. A friend suggested I sell my photos online. At that point I realised that I’d written off the idea based on one rejection from years ago. So, after some internet research I picked two sites: Alamy because it pays the best commission and iStock because it is owned by Getty Images – the people who gave me that defining rejection note.

Alamy accepted my examples within a couple of days – and I’ve slowly been adding to my portfolio and their mobile photography site Stockimo. iStock took about a month to review my work and I’m in! However, I’ve found their system too laborious and unfriendly (in comparison to Alamy) to bother with. So I, in turn, rejected them – for now anyway.

I’m still waiting for any sales to magically happen – but like most things nowdays, it is a numbers game. Now that I’m considering stock photography again, my goal is to add 25 images a week (old or new) and see how they fare (along with my captioning and tagging skills). It's a potential passive income stream and I'm all for creating a lot more passive income which will free up time to create more passive income...

This was a timely reminder not to be defined by my past experiences and rejection, and to keep pursuing my passions and goals. I hope you'll join me in doing the same; and I also hope you have friends, like Francesca, who will whisper ideas - like a flea in your ear - until you do something about it.

For more of my photography check out my Photo Blog.

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