It definitely takes a certain kind of person to do the Rebelle, let alone go with someone you don’t really know. Add in the element of speaking a different language, and you’ve got an even more challenging adventure. But international competitor Kyouka from Japan and Original Rebelle Ashley Lee are more than ready to step up to the challenge to form Team #162, Team Sexy Jeep!
Born and currently living in Tokyo, Japan, Kyouka is a Jeep tripper, sunrise hunter, and sex therapist! Her love of Jeeps started when she was just three years old when she saw a cool car on her way home from nursery school – a Jeep. It was love at first sight, and it was then that she decided that she would drive a Jeep when she grew up. And once she achieved that goal, she felt strongly that she got everything she needed for her life:
“I never knew that there was such a car full of excitement and vivid life sense. My life changed 180 degrees with my Jeep and off-roading.”
Her first road trip was Sedona to Las Vegas – just 14 days after getting her license. A year later, she was jeeping Moab and the Rubicon Trial, and she now drives 600 to 1,000 km (~370–620 miles) almost daily.
As for why she’s doing the Rebelle, Kyouka said, “My heart sparked joy when I saw a picture of Rebelle. It seemed very fun. And I thought the desert was beautiful. I wanted to see it and experience it. I usually take my road trips alone, so this is a fresh experience for me. I had been looking for a teammate for a long time and I was fortunate to find Ashley to do it with. I am all looking forward to all the experience the Rebelle has to offer!”
Ashley is originally from Stockton, CA, and currently lives in Las Vegas, NV as an Outdoor Programs and Outreach Market Coordinator for REI. As an Original Rebelle, this will be her second time competing in the rally “I want to go out there and have fun. Explore some beautiful desert landscapes with this beautiful tribe of women,” she explained to us. “Sense of adventure and desolation is what I crave. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and so much reward afterward that I can prove to myself that I can do anything!”
And while she’s excited to be back for Round 2, she still has her concerns:
“I’m terrified, scared, excited, honored, and blessed. It’s a lot of emotion going through my head. I really just check myself that we are going to do a great job no matter what.”
Despite never having met in person and having only FaceTimed once, Ashley isn’t too worried about teaming up with someone new. “I don’t speak Japanese and her English is limited but that hasn’t stopped us yet. We had an instant connection and I am confident there is going to be a lot of fun with her. I’m so lucky I have Kyouka to share this experience with. Even if we come in last I want to laugh the whole time and just say, ‘Damn that was a good time!’”