in reply to
The Road to Enlightenment?
I have yet to find another programming language out there that has such a comprehensive body of knowledge captured within one site. (Perhaps Google's archives of comp.lang.perl.misc, but it's common knowledge that usenet is dead). Perl on dead trees have mostly been decorations for my bookshelves, although MJD's recent "Higher Order Perl" was an enlightening exception to this.
The other leg to stand on was of course the practice of programming. Reading only gets you so far, even with an exceptional memory. Write lots of scripts. For me it was reading comp.unix.shell, and for every too-clever one-liner in shell script, I rewrote it in Perl. I got to a point where I could see the solution to nearly any possible sysadmin type of task in my head, in Perl. (It's a lot easier than it sounds). After that got too routine, I wrote my own smaller projects. A website here and there with a database backend, etc. Or find some software which was impressive and clone most of it in Perl. Along the way, the most useful modules on CPAN are pretty much unavoidable, and more specialized use involves examinging the source. Modules such as CGI, DBI, LWP, the HTML parsers, CPAN itself, IO, the Util modules, Acme, POE, the list goes on &etc.
There seems to be a peak on the learning curve though, and after a while it seems like there's nothing truly new to do except muck around with XS and the Perl internals while waiting for Perl 6, or keep climbing the ladder to the hang with the wizards on the compilers & languages floor and pitch in on Perl 6.