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velander Justin Velander Holt anytime

About me

I arrived to Chicago on a whim sixteen years ago. As much as I treasure this city, I still don't belong here. I'm stubborn, willful, wily, overeager, ambitious, perverse and independent -- all in a good way. I possess a big (BIG!) heart, a merciless logic, a sharp wit, a voracious appetite and a strong compulsion to fight for what's fair. I was born at the right time in the wrong generation. I suffer from wanderlust. I make it a goal to travel (abroad) for an extended amount of time at least once a year. The only time I truly feel at home is when I'm on the road.

I'm also the producer and host of BFN Networks, an independent podcast network featuring several entertaining shows (CLICK. THE. LINK. for more details!). I take great pleasure in making fun of my personal baggage as well as singing back-up for the artists that visit my studio. I have a knack for storytelling, and I always do my best to keep my friends engrossed and entertained.

I am forthright to a fault -- I truly believe that tactful honest is the best policy -- and I consistently have and always will make my intentions clear. If you're unsure of something or simply curious to know more, just ask.

Last but not least: I used to be an Ambassador for CouchSurfing Chicago. You can read my old profile/references here.

Spoken languages

  • English Mother Tongue
  • Spanish Beginner

My interests


Sex, Storytelling, Music, Movies, Writing, Travel


The Dark Tower (Stephen King), The October Country (Ray Bradbury), Dark Star Safari (Paul Theroux), Birdy (William Wharton), Galilee (Clive Barker), The Invisible Circus (Jennifer Egan), Lullaby (Chuck Palahniuk), Middlesex (Jeffery Eugenides), Blue Highways (William Least Heat Moon), The Road (Cormac McCarthy), The Book Thief (Markus Zusak), The Fault In Our Stars (John Green), This Is Where I Leave You (Jonathan Tropper), World War Z (Max Brooks), 11/22/63 (King), Young Adults (Daniel Pinkwater), The Brief History of the Dead (Kevin Brockmeier), A Song of Ice and Fire (George R.R. Martin)


Peter Gabriel, Genesis, William Topley/The Blessing, The Great Crusades, Powderfinger, Josh Ritter, Tracy Chapman, Harry Chapin, Porcupine Tree, Sense Field, SPAN, Biffy Clyro, Jimmy Eat World, Catsplash, The Ike Reilly Assassination, The Navigators, Jimmie's Chicken Shack, The Gaslight Anthem, Superdrag, Josh Joplin, Joshua James, Mike Doughty, Garrison Starr, Scissor Sisters, Guster, Barenaked Ladies, Brindley Brothers, Panic! At The Disco, Paris TX, Lucky Boys Confusion, Elton John, Pete Townshend, Tom Petty, Danko Jones, The Tea Party, TOOL


Fight Club, Brick, Fandango, The Cooler, Booty Call, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, ...And Justice For All, Donnie Darko, Oldboy, Postman Blues, Wonder Boys, Alexandra's Project, The Dark Hours, The Good Lie, Mary & Max, Princess Mononoke, Howl's Moving Castle, The Iron Giant, Mine, George Washington, Requiem for a Dream, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Clerks, Die Hard, 12 Angry Men, 28 Days Later, Sunshine, Thank You For Smoking, Session 9, Birdman, The Babadook

Organisations I belong to:

I host several podcasts via BFN Networks.

I also organize cultural events via The Penguin's Tuxedo.

Travel experiences

Past trips:

Austria, Belgium, Belize, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, France, Germany, Guatemala, Italy, Laos, Mali, Mexico, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Panama, Scotland, Senegal, Sweden, Thailand, The Gambia, United States, UK, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Planned trips:

Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Istanbul, Colombia, Tierra del Fuego, Australia

Belongs to the following groups



I was an extremely active organizer for CouchSurfing; I wouldn't mind doing the same for BeWelcome.


Couch Needed: Chicago

I might just be available to host last-minute.

Show all groups


yes, i can host
Max number of guests:
Maximum length of stay:

Unless we really hit it off and become the best of friends, three days will likely be my limit for hosting.

I Live With:

My roommate Jason, who generally keeps to himself but will help you nonetheless if you need assistance with anything. Also, he has three cats -- Linus, Noodle and Lil' Bit -- that are pretty high-strung and will likely choose to study you from afar. (Linus attempts to socialize but then bolts at any sudden movement made toward him. Noodle is a lazy malcontent who will likely choose to ignore you altogether. Lil' Bit might be up for acknowledging your existence.)

Please bring:

A genuine interest in getting to know me and MY version of Chicago. Otherwise, there's really no incentive for me to host you.

Also, you must be able to communicate your wants/needs. More than anything, I want you to feel safe, comfortable and secure when you enter my apartment. If those three things are not established, we are going to having a lot of difficulties getting to know each other, let alone have a good time. So if there's anything I can do to better accommodate you, please, speak up!

I can offer my guests:
A guided tour.

Adventure! Culture! Thrilling dialogue!

I frequently attend and organize events that will both maximize your exposure to all the great things this city has to offer as well as allow you to meet new people.

THEREFORE, if you decide to stay with me, I expect you to make the effort to join me for any (preferably all!) of the (budget-minded) adventures I will likely have in store for you. Trust me when I say that I will NOT steer you wrong! I take pride in being a great host, and I plan/seek out these events for the benefit of those I host.

PLEASE NOTE: If you arrive unwilling to interact with others OR with a set agenda that allows no wiggle room to see MY Chicago, please submit your request elsewhere. After all, this isn't a hostel/AirBnB; this is my home! I host to give people a unique experience that they will not find anywhere else (believe it!) AND make friends along the way.

I can offer my hosts:

A unique perspective of Chicago and everything it has to offer.

Countless stories, pithy banter, general silliness.

Other information for guests:

I have the half of the apartment that is technically the living room with a half-bedroom attached. (I say technically because I have a door that closes me off from the rest of the apartment; no rigged hippie bead curtains here!) I have a couch that folds out into a futon, but due to the fact that I would like your stay to be as comfortable as possible -- and because I'm up at all hours of the night -- I will likely situate you on the queen-sized bed in the half-bedroom. (Can fit two comfortably; twelve if you're going for some weird kind of record.) That will afford you privacy (by way of a curtain) while I'm busy tinkering on whatever cursed project would be keeping me awake and chained to the computer at 3:37 a.m.

If you are traveling with a friend, it would be IDEAL (but by no means mandatory) that both of you are comfortable sharing the bed. Otherwise, one of you will get the bed, the other will get the couch and I'll be sleeping on the floor (or at a friend's place). If that's the case, then, yes, one of you will be sharing the living room space with me.

Rest assured, though, no one will be forced to sleep next to anyone they don't want to sleep next to. (Who in the hell would do that to their guests?!) If you have any further questions/concerns/special requests, just write me.

Public transport:

I am roughly 3/4 of a mile west of the Logan Square Blue Line station (20 minute commute downtown). If you don't want to walk, you can take the #76 Diversey bus from the station to my building. (FYI: The #76 will also take you directly to the Lincoln Park Zoo/Nature Museum.)

House Rules:
No smoking, No drugs.

If you smoke, no problem -- just do it outside! Same thing with drugs. Or guns. Or prayer.

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