CB27/81. Had my Post Office licence for FM, Cobra 21. Pimped with rg213 to a 5/8 silver rod on the chimney stack. Hilltop location, the extra power we all used, and yes I did have a Lincoln, meant real dx even on crowded bands. It was our social media. No internet or Facebook. Taught you how to talk to people, hold conversations. Telephony at it's best and sometimes worst.
Enter the world of work and the use of PMR and licensed frequencies, so more Post Office, by now it was all about Ofcom. A little more money than I spent on the 27/81 and Five year licences supported online. Rigs too had changed, especially the rather cheaper totally programmable Chinese imports. I was using VHF, UHF and marine VHF. At least ear pieces had become more comfortable and you could still hear the outside world.
It was whilst at work, I struck up a conversation with a late G series ham. Looked bemused at my apathy at going for RAE, having been in deep discussion over all things radio with him. I owe that man. I joined my local club BBRC, and haven't looked back.
The club supports all those taking up the hobby and studying for one of the now three licenses. These were a revision of the RAE, and have now been revised again because of all the new surface mount tech and the advent of commercial and hobby SDR.
I wasn't one of the brave to study and take all three at once. Instead the club helped me to my Foundation M6 and Intermediate 2E0. Around the eighteen month mark I had proudly got my M0 with the Bath based distance learning course and support from the club. This was a great learning curve and took me from unconsciously incompetent to consciously incompetent. It was then learning in practice and enjoying the clubs events when possible.
I think when you set out you may have a goal HF, VHF, Ghz. However the hobby is so diverse you are definitely going to potter around and dabble in alot of different aspects until you find your natural home. I am of course leaving all the normal constraints of finances, planning, QRM, location etc to one side in that broad statement. The club helps.
The great thing about it is you can 'waste' so much time footling away at all these little projects, builds and plagiarisms and it is the best therapy. Word to the wise, you will never complete all the little projects you dream up.
There is another point I should now add, and I doubt there is another ham out there who would not agree. As much as you try to be reasonable about your hobby, once you are licensed...There is no known rehabilitation back into society.