My experience is that it's very possible to take a year or two off. If you do even a little extra work during that time, it's possible to come into a better job than you would have had otherwise.
To illustrate: In the 80s, I was working part-time in the computer biz. I didn't have my degree, and was working for large companies that required a degree for a ''real'' (salaried) position. I was effectively stuck in intern-hell.
In late 1989, I had had enough. I quit my job, and got hired driving school-bus. Drove bus for a year and a half. During that time I learned to program the Macintosh instead of PCs and Unix boxes.
In 1990, I found a job with a small company that seemed to offer good possibilities for advancement. In the next five years I tripled my salary, and when I left, it was to go to Apple Computer to work. Since then, I've started my own company, and am now working for me.
The point is that taking a break from technology doesn't have to mean that you have to fall behind. Even if you do fall behind, the ability to say ''I walked away before, and I'm willing to do so again,'' can be a very powerful bargaining chip if your current employer seems to be blocking your chosen path. Finally, coming back into the technology market means you can take your time finding a job that fits your goals. And you'll have more life-experience which will make you better able to decide what you really want out of a job. Choosing a good job rather than a poor one is worth more than a couple years of salary.
As for why I never joined the Peace Corps, they only accept college graduates. I never did get around to getting that degree. And while the lack of a degree held my pay low for almost a decade, I think I'm better off for it, since the technologies I learned were ones I wanted to learn, rather than those a University decreed I needed to learn.
Of course, your mileage may vary, but I strongly encourage nerds to take a few years away from the technology world. There's a lot to be learned in life that doesn't involve bits and bytes.