I got an early start with cigs back as a teen and gravitated over to dip and chew as a lot of my buddies were big in to that form of tobacco. I didn't truly get addicted to the nicotine until the chewing started which I would probably still use to this day if it wasn't so unpopular with the females, lol
When I decided to stop the chew, I walked in to the local cigar shop one day out of pure curiosity. The small town B&M had been there for almost 40 years, was throughly cluttered as the old guy that owned it was some kind of horder, but the smell of pipe tobacco made it feel like heaven. I guess that aroma got me interested in pipes but I went the route of cigars and really got to enjoying them right off the bat. I quickly started reading forums, Cigar Aficionado, etc and got hooked big time. When the store closed and new owners refurbished the spot and opened a new business I managed to score a job there and it became my second home during college. I basically worked to buy cigars but I was loving it.
One of the gents I met on the cigar forums, and became good friends with, had gotten in to pipes and was really enjoying them. He mentioned several times that I should try them out but it wasn't something I had priority on as I was such a cigar nut at the time. He and I did a great deal of trading which quickly became a game of trying to one up each other with blind trades etc. One day a package arrived with a brand new Peterson Flame Grain, a leather pipe bag, and a tin of C&D Cross Eyed Cricket. I was excited to try out pipe smoking and took a liking to it, pretty much as a change of pace to my regular cigars but not as a full time hobby. I collected a few more pipes and a range of tobaccos and started slowly learning more about blends, etc.
After I met my wife and moved away from home, I had pretty much hit the point that I was tired of cigars. I smoked everything out there, including Cubans, to the point that nothing stood out anymore. I was also in an entry level point in my career and now had a woman to be accountable to with my purchases so the budget for cigars came to screeching halt. I smoked pipes pretty exclusively for about two or so years, sticking to a core group of blends I enjoyed without the PAD or TAD thing kicking in. I also downsized to one desktop humidor of about 50 or so cigars to enjoy from time to time. I'm still not sure how I accomplished this feat
I slowly gravitated back to cigars, trying new things here and there but sticking to old favorites and that went on up until about 6 months ago. My pipe racks had kind of become more of a shelf decor in the study and one day I thought to myself I really should clean them all up and start enjoying them again, especially given how nice a quality some of my briars were. So I spent a few days getting my bowls and stems thoroughly cleaned up, put in an order for a few tins of old favorites and went at it. Needless to say, I didn't realize what I had been missing out on. I've since added more pipes and an insane amount of tobacco to my cellar and pretty much not slowing down since. I found this place and found a new online home for my hobby as well. It's been enjoyable to interact with those who enjoy pipes without the forum drama from the past places I've been a member at. The experience definitely enhances my enjoyment of pipes quite a bit. Despite the number of years I've smoked and blends I tried, I still feel like I'm learning new stuff everyday.
My apologies I didn't mean for this to be so lengthy but it seemed like a good time to share my journey!