Turns out there is Cloudflare Warp https://126.96.36.199/ set up on a different user account but was made applicable on all the user accounts.
I wasn't able to see that until I logged in to the other account suspecting something like this.
This is almost always not an IP address assigned to any computer since typically, your device will connect to a router that runs NAT. Nothing about your setup seems to involve VPN - just run of the mill networking behind NAT gateways.
You can confirm this from the command line with scutil
bmike@m1 /Users % scutil
> show State:/Network/Global/IPv4
While it will depend on the actual use case, the general answer is that Private Relay is not a true substitute for VPN.
While similar in idea, the specific cases where Private Relay and VPN differ are:
Private Relay only works on Safari: In a typical Apple fashion, you do not get the benefits of Private Relay if you use anything other than Safari. I ...