JP KRAVITZ: OneQueerJourney August 2022
You know how you’ve found a kindred soul while out and about in this wide wide world? They also have a machete in their vehicle. And they’re using it for non-machete approved uses. In this case, it was to try to locate a dropped back scratcher from in between an Airstream bed and wall.
When I started shooting the lesbian bars last summer on my own “One Queer Journey,” I had planned to continue the next 9-10 bars this summer. Life, air travel prices, and family tumult postponed those photos until the fall. Instead, I put aside my Leo-centric tendencies to wallow in my own story and decided to explore the journeys of some other amazing humans.
JP Kravitz is one of those humans. JP is a 59 year old, fun-size (their words) person who worked in IT and massage therapy in West Palm Beach, Florida. JP uses his/they pronouns. During Covid, the IT part downsized and he reinvented himself with his massage therapy skills. For someone who is money smart and logical, his right brain must have taken over a bit as JP was mesmerized by both the timelessness and cool factor of owning an Airstream trailer. He did tell me however, that the resale value of an airstream far outpaces that of regular utilitarian rv trailers. He sold his home in Florida and risked everything to pick up and see the United States in the aforementioned awesomely cool trailer with their trusty standard poodle Gigi. I learned that when you buy an Airstream you get to choose your vehicle number if its available. His number is 22059. The year and age when this journey began.
Friends wondered how he got a customized rainbow Airstream “Caravel” logo on the outside of the trailer. Of course he painted it themselves in true McGuyver fashion. JP’s queer journey has been self titled the “Hope for Humanity” tour. He has been traveling since early May 2022 from Florida up the East coast and then hanging a left to go across the country. I met up with them in the hidden gem that is Ithaca, NY. I had forgotten that my own father during my time at college in Rochester, NY, used to endlessly call it God’s country in the summer because of the gorgeous cumulus clouds and mountain vistas. We had an auspicious meeting in the parking lot of a beautiful hotel where he had graciously let JP plug in their trailer to provide electricity and water.
I knocked on the outside of the gleaming airstream but didn’t quite know where to knock because the rounded edges make everything seem like a corner. It's kind of like someone handing you a tin can and telling you to find the side. I heard a door open on the opposite side and JP came out smiling followed quickly by Gigi. JP’s smile is wide and welcoming and I made my first entry into the Airstream.
It’s like every tiny home show we’ve all watched. Everything has its place and in this case is suctioned or otherwise attached to the smooth walls for stability. JP showed me how it's all managed and organized so that the dog food and Yeti mugs don’t become projectiles between parking lots and campsites.
JP moves every few days to another state towards the West Coast without a definite path or plan. He has made some specific stops to enjoy music festivals and demonstrated exactly how loud the speakers in the trailer can get. Seriously, JP could double as a DJ with the pounding bass and dance moves in the Airstream kitchen/bedroom/dining room. Perhaps that might be their next iteration in careers as he reaches the west coast. He just needs some bright pink Beats to match Gigi’s bright pink collar and lead.
As someone who is also over half a century old it was a beautiful connection with someone who was able to leave behind stability, property and dear friendships to figure out “the rest.” And in 2022, the rest has been shown to not be guaranteed. Laws and certainties of the last 50 years have been negated and stripped from so many in this country. Members of the LGBTQ+ population are simultaneously angry, protesting, and hunkering down awaiting backwards and harmful legislation to re-emerge. The “grow old and retire and live your best life” trope doesn’t apply to everyone or really anyone anymore. Sometimes the brave and even the scared rally and make their own future so significant that others are affected. The destination is rarely the highlight; it's the journey that makes the difference. Every person who encountered JP during our days together asked them how he got this idea and how he had the strength to follow through. JP says “Everyone is the same in a campsite or a parking lot. We’re all just camping. And sharing stories and stuff. Everyone needs help.”JP isn’t wrong. The hope for humanity tour might just be pulling up in an Airstream trailer into a parking lot near you.