I’ve been havin so much fun with mine, I got the pi 4 integrated into keyboard (pi 400). Ive tried ras-pup, picore And Manjaro and of course rasbian. I re installed rasbian because it runs very well on the pi and it more or less sets it’s self up for you. The Official raspberry pi manual Is also a good readI still use my PI as a paper weight until I get bored and start trying to learn code stuff .
I totally agree, i have lost count of how many systems ive obliterated in a virtual machine. i use virtual box, you can also clone an install you have created. Im notorious for having 5-10 different distros on my virtual box! virtualiziation is the way to go before you do a full install onto real hardwareIn my opinion, the best way to learn Linux is by creating a VirtualBox with a LinuxSystem inside that. That means if make a heavy mistake, nothing happens to your main operating system, like windows.
There are many YouTube Tutorials how to create a VirtualBox with almost any Linux Distrobustion.
Hope this helps.