I remember being obsessed with it in early 2002, but because the full manga was nonexistent on the internet back then (or maybe I was just terrible at finding it ), I didn't get to read it until Shonen Jump started getting published in America which was in January of 2003. Been a dedicated fan for 12 years!
12 years huh? Very nice.
So going by 2003, we're talking somewhere in Skypiea then? (I don't know how the American SJ releases sync with the Japanese ones)
–- Update From New Post Merge ---
Been reading the series since the moment Arlong said "who is that man" after Luffy destroyed a wall to Arlong Park. Yes, it's been ages ago, been reading OP since then (downloaded the first ~10 volumes in small ZIP files from IRC). The translation was HORRIBLE, the pages were so small, you sometimes couldn't even tell what was happening - it really was hard to be a fan, so I dropped the series after the 10 volumes. Came back about a year later, when I found out there were online MSN galleries with chapters - first time I could read manga online in any way. Found out there actually was a lot more volumes (it was 2001 or 2002, I think) and the releases were just so far behind. This time I liked it a lot more, not as much as Naruto or Bleach (which were the "cool" things to like, back when they were actually good), but I still had a lot of fun reading Chopper's and Alabasta arcs… and then the other series lost quality, but One Piece seemed like it was constantly growing, so I slowly became a real fan, just like today.
Man, that is a storied history lol.
So 2001/2002 huh?
So basically we're saying you got up to date somewhere around Alabasta/Jaya?