The thought of purchasing a solo machine was my motivation to sign up for lessons. I'd never flown a helicopter before, so I was starting from scratch. I told the school owner that I had no intention of getting a license and that I just needed a few hours so I could hover. I had no idea what I was in for. It was really hard and it took a while before I got in the groove and honestly believed I'd ever pull it off. A year later, I was a licensed helicopter pilot with about 70 hours in an R22 and a little bit of luxury time in a 44. All I can say is that learning to fly a helo by the book is a huge experience. I highly recommend focusing on getting the formal training before worrying about how you feed the habit after the fact. I submit that once you're down the road, it will have a profound impact on your opinion of which direction you want to take. Just integrating with professional pilots as you traverse the process is highly educational. Lots of studying, written and practical tests, aerodynamics, weather, pattern protocols, radio comms, navigation - lots of stuff to learn. The chopper is a fascinating machine and just performing a few hundred pre-flights will go a long way towards getting you familiar with the mechanical fundamentals of rotary technology.