I had a big, worldwide collection as a youngster -- nothing valuable, but fun and educational. That collection, in one big, over-stuffed Minkus Master Global album disappeared half a century ago (gave it away to some younger youngsters), and my life turned in other directions. Now, I'm retired, and find myself hooked again, but in a more restricted way.
History has been a lifelong obsession for me, and I decided that my collecting has to be history-based. Having poked around over the past few years, looking for a specialty, I'm now settled on a "Centennial collection" of World war I occupation issues -- studying the history illustrated by the stamps, as I go along, and creating pages that highlight the history alongside the stamps. I'm concentrating first on Europe: Eastern, Western, Italian and Balkan Fronts. Later, if I live long enough, I'll expand into the colonial and Middle Eastern occupations. I'm limiting it pretty much to 1914-1918 -- avoiding the minefield of the few years following (maybe some day, who knows?). My fixed and none too generous income does not allow for much extravagance, but relatively few of these stamps are particularly costly; so I think I can put together an interesting and worthwhile collection.
"Hard core" philately, chasing after every shade, perf, paper and plate variety, holds no charms for me. My collection is simplified: one mint and one used of each stamp (looking particularly for good, clear postmarks), along with postal stationery and a selection of postal history. If I happen across any of those more or less minor varieties, though, I'll certainly find a place for them.
I'm still in it for "fun" (my own peculiar brand of it).
And, I'm glad to be here.