The unexpected surprise was that after a dozen plus years of shooting a daily dose of not-so-pretty news stories, I ended my tour of duty with TV photojournalism. I got rid of every piece of personal photo and darkroom gear I had to distance myself from the temptation to go back. I was burned out and that was the brutal part of the love/hate relationship it became, and I needed the distance and time to get back some semblance of my humanity. I'd already dived deep into learning computers before leaving news work for good, and even taught myself to code software on an IBM XT. I soon found work in IT for quite a long time after that, but was drawn back into the non-pro side of photography a decade later.
The majority of my creative camera time has been spent using 'analog' media to preserve the results, but times and gear do change, whether you want them to or not. In the last 5 years or so I've reached into the digital world for different photographic and other visual solutions. I still shoot standard roll film in both 35mm and 120/220 formats, so this has been an expansion of my tool set - not replacing other things, per se. Nowadays I'm a hobbyist and an enthusiast and a collector - and a longtime tinkerer of all things visual. My subject matter may be different than it used to be, but it's great to be back down to 10 pounds or less in gear weight when I decide to shoot.
I'll also take a moment and hereby confess to having occasional bouts of LBA and infrequent GAS attacks, but that's a story all its own. [ Ummm, whats LBA & GAS ??? ]