Elaine & Kevin – mindful hosts of The Hatchery Place coliving in Kuala Lumpur

For the first time, I have two guests at once – Elaine Wong and Kevin Yeoh. They are the most generous hosts of The Hatchery Place. It’s a very cozy coliving space, where I lived between October 2019 and September 2020. They transitioned from corporate careers to the world of arts and crafts, where Hatchery is a central place of their varied activities. Together we talk about long-term traveling, authentic connections, and building a healthy coliving community. Learn more in this uplifting episode of the Nerd on Tour Podcast.

Nerd on Tour Podcast cover image with Elaine Wong and Kevin Yeoh from The Hatchery Place

Listen to the Nerd on Tour Podcast with Elaine and Kevin from The Hatchery Place

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Who are Elaine Wong and Kevin Yeoh?

Elaine Wong and Kevin Yeoh are a couple and founders of The Hatchery Place. For over a decade they both worked in big corporations, but they were looking for more meaningful work. Elaine used to paint pictures at night in her hotel room during delegation trips to fulfill her creative cravings. Kevin worked for the Central Bank of Malaysia as a web designer but was looking to make more tangible things than digital assets.

After spending time in Germany and Romania, they decided to quit corporate life and look for real estate in their neighborhood in Kuala Lumpur to build a creative studio. Finally, Elaine could focus on painting big canvas while Kevin got into woodworking. They love to share their passion with other like-minded people therefore The Hatchery Place has become an event and coworking space.

In terms of their bighearted hospitality, they both gained years of experience prior to bootstrapping The Hatchery Place. Kevin hosted travelers from CouchSurfing and Airbnb whereas Elaine worked for a company providing hotel software. The combination of their efforts resulted in a warm and welcoming atmosphere of their coliving space.

Elaine Wong and her painting
Elaine Wong and her painting

Elaine’s Website | Elaine’s Instagram

Kevin Yeoh woodworking
Kevin Yeoh conducting his wood workshop

Kevin’s Website | Kevin’s Instagram

What is The Hatchery Place?

It is a cozy coliving space for digital nomads and also a coworking space for all creative folks. The Hatchery Place has been created in February 2016 and since has been visited by globetrotters and locals alike. Placed in a quiet neighborhood of USJ Subang Jaya, Selangor on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Previously a family house now turned into a multi-disciplinary building with high tables, solid Internet connection, great coffee, and a friendly cat.

I had the pleasure of staying at The Hatchery Place from October 2019 till September 2020. It was my very first coliving space. Prior to this lengthy stay, I rented regular rooms via Booking or Airbnb and worked from coworking spaces or cafes. The Hatchery Place was an excellent introduction to the new way of life, where I shared a house with fellow digital nomads from Malaysia, Vietnam, Australia, France, Zimbabwe, or the USA.

If you enjoy the company of artistic-driven personalities and you’re looking for a place that’s well connected but away from the city center I totally recommend The Hatchery Place.

Piotrek Bodera and Kevin Yeoh at The Hatchery Place
Piotrek and Kevin with their favorite Peak Design bags at The Hatchery Place

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Selected links and notes from the conversation with Elaine and Kevin

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SafetyWing insurance for digital nomads
SafetyWing is the insurance used and recommended by me and fellow digital nomads

First set of show notes

  • CouchSurfing – worldwide community of travelers who host guests on their “couches” for free
  • Kevin used Airbnb from the very beginning – both as a guest and as a host
  • Elaine worked in Germany between 2011 and 2015 in hospitality software company
  • In 2016 they started the idea of The Hatchery Place coliving
  • Elaine self-funded her first art exhibition in a gallery in Munich, Germany
  • Kevin played on percussion in a band in 2017
  • Kevin felt very humble when he could do the trekking in the Himalayas
  • Elaine actively used expats online forums to find friends in Munich – https://www.internations.org 
  • She also used meetup.com to look for people to mingle
  • Authentic connections are needed – Elaine’s thoughts after spending time with her best friend in Romania
  • We talk about how living in a coliving is a humbling experience
  • They started from finding a house in their neighborhood to turn it into a stand-alone home office. Then they realized that the space could be shared with more people
  • We played a lot of Overcooked 2 – excellent couch co-op game (look of it at isthereanydeal.com)
  • Most furniture at The Hatchery Place has been created DIY by Kevin and volunteers
  • WorkAway.info and HelpX.net – portals where they found volunteers to help with renovating the coliving in exchange for accommodation
  • In Malaysia, it’s not common to see a Westerner, instead of a foreigner from other Asian countries, to do physical work
  • Even after The Hatchery Place has been finished, many people who stay are creating additional furniture or decorations
  • The first people who officially stayed in the coliving as guests, got the recommendation from volunteers who helped to create The Hatchery Place
The Hatchery Place hiking trip
Kevin, David, Elaine, Giang, and Piotrek at a hiking trip in Kuala Lumpur

Second set of show notes

  • I had a long experience with coworkings and renting accommodation, before I decided to try staying at a coliving
  • Ginger the Cat – she’s the adorable permanent resident at The Hatchery Place
  • Elaine and Kevin are integrating their passions into The Hatchery Place – that’s why the space is used by a myriad of different activities
  • The coliving has a specific vetting system for guests – there’s a long questionnaire that Elaine designed 
  • Elaine and Kevin know all the best vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Kuala Lumpur, and they like to introduce this cuisine to all guests
  • Benday – that’s the Monday gathering started while Ben Lupton, my previous podcast guest, was at The Hatchery Place
  • Guillaume Lorain – French web developer and SEO expert
  • Community building is the integral part for Elaine and Kevin when thinking about the coliving
  • If you want to know how to start your own coliving, you should come and stay at The Hatchery Place to fully experience it and understand how to take care about the community
  • When I’m looking for a restaurant I always choose a family-owned local small business, because they care about the food. I think the same principle applies to colivings
  • Revolut Business – fintech service that I use for my British Limited company. For some time they offered 3 months for free in any WeWork office as a perk for companies using one of the premium plans
  • Kevin focuses on teaching woodworking, as this gives him the most satisfaction
  • Elaine runs creative art workshops that are focused on expression 
  • They both practice holistic healthy habits that are created from small things e.g. plant based diet, meditation, integrating passion with work
  • Rabbit is the name of the other cat, that is living at Elaine and Kevin’s place

What’s your coliving space experience?

Have you lived in The Hatchery Place or other coliving spaces? Do you also enjoy this unconventional way of socializing with fellow digital nomads? If so – please share your story in the comment section below.

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