I never had a real layout when I was younger. I belonged to a club in the next town over, which was too far for me to walk, but my parents were more than happy to bring me to because it kept me out of trouble. I scratchbuilt a few buildings and rollingstock, but most of all I did a lot of research. Reading is cheap(er) than trying to build an empire that I knew wouldn't be at my parents house forever. I also saved up for my first brass loco, which I still have. I was more of an armchair model railroader for many years before I was even able to build my first real layout. Point is, you don't have to build a layout to enjoy MRRing. You can accumulate alot of goodies for that dream layout in the time it takes you to finish high school and get out on your own. Oh yeah, don't fall for the "I don't need high school" trap, unless you really don't want to get around to building a layout.