|Occupation||Travel vlogger, author|
|Also known as||Arthur Chichester, Mr. Bald|
|Total views||401 million|
Updated: 25 June 2021
Benjamin Rich, better known by his YouTube channel name Bald and Bankrupt, is an English travel vlogger and author. He began his YouTube channel in June 2018, documenting the Indian subcontinent and the post-Soviet states. As of July 2021, his channel has 3 million subscribers and over 350 million total views.
The defining characteristic of Rich's channel is his interest in the post-Soviet states. However, he first started vlogging from India after filing for bankruptcy in the UK due to a failed business venture, which (alongside his shaved head) inspired the name of his channel. Ever since he ventured into Eastern Europe, the attention to his videos has increased. On 12 April 2018, he released the book The Burning Edge: Travelling Through Irradiated Belarus, under the pen name Arthur Chichester, which describes his experiences travelling through the parts of Belarus affected by the Chernobyl disaster. He is noted for aiming to "show the lives of real locals, away from the tourist spots and Starbucks coffee". In June 2019, Rich and his YouTube channel were featured in The Daily Express.
Rich's content has attracted coverage in various national media, particularly publications in the towns and regions he visits. New Delhi publication The New Learn reported on Rich's travels in India in January 2019. They praised his visits to refugee camps for Hindus in North Delhi stranded following the crisis in Pakistan, and described his videos as "introducing the world to an India that is real and authentic, where people still open up their lunch boxes to strangers, where tea is the beginning of lifelong associations, where trust means more than money and where there is vibrancy everywhere".
In March 2019, Hindustan Times reported on how he exposed scams against tourists in Delhi Airport, from inflated prices to rickshaw drivers and false claims. In June 2019, Rich was discussed in the Slovak press for his visit to Luník IX, which he described as "Europe's largest poor Roma neighbourhood". The article described how, despite warnings about the estate being among the most dangerous in Europe, he was welcomed by local people who spoke fluent English and invited him to their surprisingly modern and clean homes, which he described as "better than [his] apartment in Britain". Swedish YouTube personality PewDiePie stated in a July 2019 episode of the YouTube podcast series Cold Ones that Bald and Bankrupt is his favourite YouTube channel.
Afisha Daily journalist Lyubava Zaitseva wrote about Rich's choice of Russian destinations in September 2019, stating that even its Russian readers had "not seen such Russia" and praising him for "trying to distance himself from tourist places" and showing cities "from the inside, communicating with local residents". In November 2019, Russia Beyond named Rich's channel in its list of six YouTube vlogs "where foreigners show you real Russia". It noted his "openness to local people and unpredictability".
Rich's video about a trip to Patamanta in Bolivia was reported by Gizmodo Español as "more scary than entering Chernobyl". In the video, he informed a local woman that he was a tourist, prompting her to warn him that "people burn people" in the area. Two men later approached Rich, inspected his passport, and gave him 30 minutes to leave the area.
Following a comments he made about a Chechen woman on a November 2019 video filmed on a train to Chechnya, Rich was forced to apologize on camera by Chechen authorities, which is a common practice in Chechnya.
After exploring no-lockdown areas in May 2020, Rich disappeared for two months until he revealed that he had caught COVID-19 while in Serbia. By the time he went to hospital, he could not walk to the bathroom or breathe. He learned that he had low blood oxygen and organ dysfunction. After updating fans on his recovery, he urged fans to not make the same mistakes and take the virus seriously.
- Chichester, A. (9 April 2018). The Burning Edge: Travels Through Irradiated Belarus. ISBN 978-1-9807-8751-8
- 2nd Edition (27 March 2020)
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