That has always been a pipe dream for many,myself included , but getting time to do it is pretty much impossible with a regular job. You must be in the same boat because I am sure you would love to go with your friend . Safe travel to him (her) .
He is retiring in 2 days. My plan is to hike with him for about a week when he gets to PA. Good Lord willing in 5 years from now I plan on being on the trail. Hard to wait that long. If I can retire any earlier I do it. Backpack - $220, Tent - $200, 5 - 6 months on a trail right after retirement "priceless".