We are never really off the path.
We may think we are in those times that we step away. But those times are important. They all work into our development as artists.
Writers may spend years working on a project. Ask any writer who has completed a novel or short story about how many times it became lost in their desk drawer. That time off work allows the creative mind to ferment ideas that may not be ready at the time.
Skills also develop. We are different writers when we begin and end a story. We can see that easily enough to our drafts.
Once you have decided to walk the path, it will not let you go.