Whether in your hometown or on the road post here if you are looking to try and meet up with fellow tattoo enthusiast for conventions, shows, coffee, etc. Also post if you know of any tattoo conventions.
Yeah. Something like that would probably be the shop minimum. $75-100 depending on what shop you end up in.
Look at portfolios when you're shopping for the tattooist. Learn to see the ability to be creative with their drawing along with having good saturation in the application.