Ben van Kerkwyk is a popular historian and YouTuber.
He has more than 300 thousand subscribers on his YouTube channel by the name UnchartedX.
Ben van Kerkwyk hails from Australia.
His mother was a history teacher and her passion for history rubbed off on him.
Since a young age, Ben has been interested in history and chose history as an elective in high school.
Even though he wanted to study history in university, he felt that studying history wouldn’t lead him into a high paying career.
So, at that time, as Ben was also interested in IT, in 1996, he joined James Cook University (JCU) in Townsville, Australia to study for a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Computer Science.
Even though he didn’t study history at university, his interest in history didn’t fade as at that time, he studied many history books, especially on Romans.
Ben studied in JCU until 2000 and dropped out of university to start an Internet Service Provider (ISP) and this later landed him in a job.
Later, he studied at the National University of Singapore.
Ben started his career in Digital Equipment Corporation, this company later got acquired by Compaq which in turn got acquired by Hewlett-Packard (HP).
From 1998 to 2002, he worked as a Solution Architect at Compaq / HP Professional Services in Australia.
From 2002 to 2004, Ben worked as a Technical Consultant at HP ProCurve in Australia.
Then from 2004 to June 2016, he worked for Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
Here, Ben worked in various roles like Regional Product Manager for Asia Pacific and Japan, Global Product Manager, Architect, etc. and as a part of the job, travelled the world.
He visited a lot of museums and cultural sites and also travelled to the Great Wall of China and sites in Japan, Cambodia, etc.
From 2004 to 2006, as a part of the job, Ben lived in Singapore and then, shifted to Roseville, California.
Rekindling his passion for history-
Once, Ben chanced upon Graham Hancock, the author of Fingerprints of the Gods in the Joe Rogan podcast and was influenced by his words.
This rekindled his passion for history and he read Graham’s books.
In 2013, Graham was travelling to Peru and Bolivia for research purposes for his book, Magicians of the Gods, and he opened up a trip for people.
Ben immediately signed up for this trip and spent a couple of weeks with Graham in South America observing the Sacred Valley of the Incas in Cusco and Pumapunku in Tiwanaku and all these cemented his passion for history.
Also, in 2015, he travelled with Graham through Egypt for a couple of weeks.
In this trip, Ben met Yousef Awyan and they took a day off from the tour to visit Abusir and he was impressed by the technological and technical details in the stonework there.
As he tried to learn more about Abusir, he was disappointed by the lack of information and even though Christopher Dunn wrote a book titled Lost Technologies of Ancient Egypt, he felt that the information was difficult to access in the book.
Trying his hand at YouTube-
A few years after his Egypt trip, Ben observed the lack of high quality footage of the historic sites.
Also, he felt that even though authors like Graham Hancock, Robert Bauval, etc. introduced new concepts and approaches to the mysteries of the past, they were buried in the books which couldn’t be easily understood by lay people.
So, Ben thought of producing mini documentaries of the historic sites explaining their mysteries.
At that time, he observed the rise of affordable consumer grade high quality and stabilized video equipment with which he could produce high quality footage.
Initially, Ben wanted to produce documentaries but ended up on YouTube.
He started his YouTube channel by the name UnchartedX on 4 July 2018.
On 17 November 2018, Ben published the first video titled, ‘Amazing Megalithic Peru and Bolivia in 4K’.
Quitting his job to become a full-time YouTuber-
In his mid-thirties, Ben started becoming more passionate towards history rather than his IT job.
Even while working in his full-time job, he found himself frequently thinking about history and speaking with the customers about history in Egypt and Peru in the downtime and events instead of technology pertaining to his job.
So, Ben decided to step down from his IT job to fully focus on history and his YouTube channel.
In June 2016, he quit his job to work full-time on his YouTube channel.
In 2019, even though his YouTube channel was growing slowly and Ben was passionate about his work, he wasn’t earning a decent income from his channel.
So, at that time, he started looking for contract work.
At that time, even though his wife was working, Ben was persistent on making his YouTube channel sustainable.
Thankfully in 2019, his YouTube channel experienced an inflection point and skyrocketed and as a result, he stopped looking for contract work and started completely focusing on his channel.
A successful YouTuber-
As of February 2023, Ben has 369K subscribers on his YouTube channel.
He earns from a variety of sources like advertisements on his YouTube videos, YouTube memberships, receiving sponsorships, selling merchandise and he also accepts donations on Patreon, PayPal, SubscribeStar and Venmo.
Ben also accepts donations through cryptocurrencies.
On 7 August 2020, he started his second YouTube channel by the name ‘UnchartedXLive’ focusing on gaming and live streams.
Ben also has a website.
He does extensive research and emphasizes more on open-minded scholars from the 1800s and early 1900s like Flinders Petrie, etc. in his YouTube videos.
Ben lives in Northern California.
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