Approximately 25 years ago, one of my friends bought me an already-old Ice Felix HC85. Three weeks later I finally came out of my room and showed to my father my first program, a chess interface which was able to move pieces only. I felt trapped and free at the same time.
I had enough luck to often put myself in situations for which I was not prepared. I have a deep respect for well-done science in general, and I spent the rest of my life learning, marveling at the math, computer science, physics pearls.
Three years ago I participated at a machine learning contest, knowing nothing about statistics, machine learning and so. I was trying to find an answer to the question: "What an experienced programmer can do in this field without apriori knowledge?". I did well, but the most important fact is that the contest was held for an year, and I spent that year thinking on how to find the truth when it is covered with noise?
After the contest was done I knew that I will do that for the rest of my life and I started to learn statistics and machine learning properly. I decided also to write for myself the best set of tools, because the only way I know in order to learn is the hard way. I am far away, but that does not hurt me, because there are a lot of good things to do, a lot of good problems to solve and an infinity of wonders to start my mind at. And now, I am right here.