“Gliding is a recreational activity and competitive air sport, in which pilots fly unpowered aircraft known as gliders. Using naturally-occurring currents of rising air to remain airborne, gliders can fly for hours and travel hundreds of kilometres”- Wikipedia
Many commercial pilots kicked off their aviation adventure with gliding. There are also many glider pilots for whom gliding is a passionate hobby.
Learning to Fly
You do not need any prior experience to start gliding, most people are able to learn the basics and have their first solo flight in under a year. It is about as easy a learning to drive. However unlike learning to drive there is no pass/fail moment, instead there is a continuous progression of learning and unlocking more privileges.
During pre-solo training, you will fly in a two-seat glider with an instructor. Pre-solo training can be completed in under a year, although this depends on the person and the amount of commitment they put in. Pre-solo training covers the basics such a takeoff, basic flight, landing, and all the safety critical aspects of flying.
Gliding is much cheaper than other forms of flying and it probably much cheaper than your expect. The cost depends on how long you take to learn, and this varies from person to person.