This man has travelled the world without an itinerary. Now he's in Edmonton

Bjorn Troch prefers to travel by word of mouth. 

From the skyscrapers of Kuala Lumpur to the haunting depths of Devil's Lake in east Latvia, Troch has travelled the world without the benefit of guidebooks or internet search engines.

He's called The Social Traveler and he relies exclusively on local advice to chart his adventures. 

He connects with people on social media, or in person, and eschews any kind of official itinerary.

The Belgian's latest adventure has brought him to Edmonton. Fresh off a tour of Yukon, he'll spend a few days in the Alberta capital before hitting the road again. 

"I never do any research," Troch said in an interview Friday with CBC Radio's Edmonton AM.

"I just go somewhere and ask 'Hey, I'm in Edmonton where should I go, what should I do?'

"That way you can discover a lot of hidden gems and places that are not that common to see." 

'A bicycle for two'

Troch has been travelling full-time since 2010.  And if roaming the world without research wasn't hard enough, he also accepts challenges from his friends and followers.

His first involved a 900-kilometre hike through the north of Spain on Camino de Santiago.

In India, he got challenged to travel the south of the country on a classic Royal Enfield motorcycle. In New Zealand, he hitchhiked his way across the country. 

Most recently, he cruised through France, Spain, Italy, Austria, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland and Latvia behind the wheel of Rose, his beloved VW Westfalia van.

But of all his wild adventures, his two-wheeled odyssey through Kuala Lumpur trip tops the list. 

"The craziest one I ever did was cycle a tandem bike, a bicycle for two, from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia to Hong Kong, which is like 5,000 kilometres, and I had to find people to join me on the bike. 

"I was like, who is going to do that?"

Despite his trepidation, Troch did find 25 willing cycling buddies but the trip would take him 5½ months to complete.

His Edmonton challenge was a little less aggressive.

One local clue down, one to go

Armed with some clues from Edmonton Tourism, he was tasked with finding Edmonton's "unofficial-official" food with help from the public. (Hint: the green onion cake.) On Saturday, he will be given a second clue.

It's his first tour of Canada in five years. Last time he visited, he was challenged to an epic cross-country road trip. 

"I got a challenge from someone to find an old VW van, a hippie van here in Canada, and cross the country. And along the way I had to learn to play the guitar. That was my challenge," Troch said. 

"Now five years later, I'm doing the same thing but the other way around, from west to east. And this time, I'm taking the train." 

Troch has one piece of advice for nervous travellers with a penchant for over-planning. 

"Be social and talk to people. Don't be afraid of people."