I was thinking of taking scuba lessons and then buying my own gear since I recently got a job at an airport and I’ll be able to fly to many gorgeous locations for free. I thought diving would be my perfect hobby and see how many locations i can get to in a year. But Im not exactly sure how it works. Do I need to pay to dive somewhere even if i have my own equipment? How much is equipment to begin with? I guess im just looking for a price on equipment in total for now

Getting Certified can be done for under $200.00. They should include basic snorkeling gear. If you are on a budget, you can begin by renting gear from them, as this will also forego an investment should you decide you’re not comfortable with diving.
Once you have some experience, the sky is the limit for gear. Rather than pay retail, I have had some success on Craigslist. You do need to understand what you are buying, and it’s always a good idea to have your local dive shop inspect, repair, and certify your BCD, Regulator, and other life saving equipment.
Go For IT! Diving is better than anything on land in my opinion. Very Beautiful and Calm, as long as you are relaxed. Better than S–!!!!!