That same friend got me interested in gliding simulators such as Condor and Silent Wings, some months ago. I've been building and playing with toy/model/rc gliders my entire life and I've always been fascinated. Somehow though, I never made the connection and suddenly I realized that it's not so much "flight" that I'm interested in as "unpowered flight" (soaring, gliding, para-gliding, para-sailing, etc..). This realization motivated me to locate an instruction school nearby and I was luck to find AZSoaring.com (owned by a family that's been gliding for decades and largely managed by a champion aerobatic glider pilot). I think I've found that hobby I've been looking for my entire life. No sound but the wind, almost nothing obstructing my view of the world, and the perfect balance between me, nature and machine.
This was the first of 3 flights this day and despite decades of simulator time, I was surprised at how much higher my cognitive load was compared to when I'm in a sim and what I expected (I knew it would be at least somewhat higher).
By flight #3 (with plenty of coaching an an instructor ready to take the controls at any moment of course), I was largely handling takeoff, tow, release, flight, pattern, descent and landing.
I was also pleasantly surprised at how nice the 2-33 was to fly despite my preconceptions about how "poor" a glider it is. In reality, it's magnitudes nicer to fly that a 162/172 (by my tastes) which makes me even more excited at the idea of making my way to the Grob 103a and such.