Adam Leffert’s (www.leffert.com) response to this question.
Don’t worry about it.
Just go. Do your thing. Come back.
It will be more difficult to find a job than if you spent the year in a cubicle writing code. It’s your job to make sure you’re clearly more valuable to potential employers than other candidates for the same job.
If you narrowly focus your mind on that one negative, you’ll feel bad. Instead, realize that in general, people in a position to hire you care about themselves. What can you do for them? How certain are they that you will do an outstanding job?
The situation you describe is one reason why I freelance rather than work full-time.
If I’m a full-time employee (FTE), and I want to take a solid two months off (let’s use an easier case) to eat/pray/love, my vacation costs my employer. Any projects I’m working on get interrupted, to some extent. Other employees may want to do the same thing, causing a ripple effect.
On the other hand, as a freelancer, let’s say I complete project #1, with outstanding results, and receive a glowing recommendation from my client. Then I head off to EPL.
The client who will hire me next HAS NOT EVEN MET ME YET. I all-caps this to call attention to this simple fact, that has only occurred to me recently. The next client doesn’t know I exist, so my activities are irrelevant to them.
If they look at my resume, notice the 2-month gap, and decide NOT to hire me, no problem. Every client should hire contractors whom they trust and feel comfortable with. So by definition my next client is someone who is comfortable with my work history and skills.
I also believe that my ability to take breaks between projects saves my clients money. If they had to pay to keep me happy working 48 weeks per year, it would cost them more per hour. My breaks keep me happy and cost them nothing.
As an aside, sometimes hiring managers ask my advice on how to attract and retain the best employees. I suggest they consider offering some remote-work time to FTE’s, once the employee has proven they can do the job, and be trusted. Cash is not the only way to keep people happy. Not all benefits cost the employer money.
Hope this helps!