The Small World Trip

The Small World Trip

The Small World Trip - "Monks on a mission" Expedition
In the footsteps of Carpine and Polak
A Journey by Silvio Divina

Monks on a mission

In the footsteps of Carpine and Polak

Fascinated by ancient explorers and having dedicated thousands of hours reading about Marco Polo’s voyage, Silvio Divina accidentally stumbled upon a little known historical fact. To his genuine amazement, Silvio discovered that Polo wasn’t the first European to travel to Asia. The very first recorded Europeans to travel there were in fact, two Franciscan monks; Italian born Giovanni Da Pian del Carpine and Polish Franciscan Friar, Benedict Polak. Their mission? A secret reconnaissance on behalf of peace seeking Pope Innocent IV, prior to an impending Mongol conquest of Europe. With little more than a letter from the Pope, Cum non solum appealing to the Mongols to cease and desist from attacking Christians (and other nations) these two brave souls embarked on a perilous journey that would become one of the most important historical quests of all time. Their unprecedented journey to this far away land would not only bring back the Khan’s reply but would provide the West with its very first descriptions of the world they experienced, the people they met and the customs they encountered along the way. Later published into the best selling work titled “Ystoria Mongalorum quos nos Tartaros appellamus“, which now takes pride of place at the Turin National library, Carpine’s narrative of his journey, chronicled in unparalleled detail what he had learned about the Mongols, revealing for the first time the power and fortitude of these legendary warriors. The uncanny parallels for Italian born Silvio and Polish born Rafal found them inextricably drawn to breathing new life into this landmark journey. Using Carpine’s book as their guide, these two modern day explorers will embark on a once-in-a- lifetime journey from Lyon, France to Karakorum, Mongolia in quest of what still remains of this 13th century world. Leaving on the exact same date, the 16th of April, 776 years later, these two intrepid young men will travel by 2 Land Rover Defender 110, through unimaginable terrain to experience the breathtaking places visited so many centuries ago. Come join the Small World Trip as they meticulously document each leg of their journey with film and photography, providing weekly social media updates across a plethora of platforms Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter.
The Team

The Small World Trip Team is formed by very particular characters… here you can learn more about them

team2 The Small World Trip

Silvio Divina 🇮🇹

The Idea Guy

42 years old, studied International Relations, speaks 7 languages, previous work at UN, IAEA, RBS, Educational Research institute in Poland. Currently works as a part time policy advisory consultant. He is passionate about culture, travels and underserved populations.

team4 The Small World Trip

Rafal Sciubisz 🇵🇱

The Old Guy

48 years old, studied economics, speaks 5 languages. He managed international company in the horeca industry, partnered in a construction firm, runs his own property management company.
He is passionate about distant travels, cuisine and vintage motoring.

team001 The Small World Trip

The Media Guy

32 years old, studied fine arts, 4 languages. He worked in social projects, artistic murals in public spaces, graphic design, social media manager, motion graphics, illustrations. Passioned about paintings, moderns arts, rock music and surfing.

The Route

The Small World Trip will be retracing the same route taken by the monks in 1245

Route SmallWorldTrip Expedition Monks on a mission 1 The Small World Trip
April 1 th, 2022
The Small World Trip departs
0 +

Media Patronage

Honorary Patronage




Marketing Agency

Our Inspirations

Fearless, courageous, daring, tireless explorers have inspired The Small World Trip project. Here we mention only some of them.

“Who wouldn’t want to travel and experience many adventures? Long, long time ago (because it’s more than 700 years, that have already passed) two brave monks embarked on a journey to the Far East with a mission. Emerging Asian powers posed a potential threat to Europe. A known foe, however is much less dangerous. The intention of THIS expedition is not a reconnaissance of an enemy, but an attempt to make oneself and others realise, how different people, cultures and religions exist along such a long route. This time it is a peaceful mission, which aim is to broaden knowledge… There – about us. Here – about them. It would be very nice if I could take part in this journey that seems so promising.”

“Kto z nas nie chciałby podróżować, przeżywać różne przygody?Dawno, dawno temu, bo minęło już ponad 700 lat gdy dwóch odważnych mnichów wyruszyło z misją na Daleki Wschód. Rosnące w potęgę ludy azjatyckie były potencjalnym zagrożeniem dla Europy. Wróg rozpoznany – jest już mniej groźny.Obecne zamierzenie, to nie rozpoznanie wroga, lecz uświadomienie sobie i innym jak różnorodni ludzie, kultury, religie na tak długiej trasie egzystują. To pokojowa misja rozszerzająca wiedzę – tam o nas; u nas o nich. Byłoby mi bardzo miło gdybym mógł wziąć udział w tej zapowiadającej się tak wspaniale wyprawie”.

National Geographic Adventurer of the Year 2014
“Following in the footsteps of those who have gone before us is by its very definition: a pilgrimage. In this case, as it was with ours, this is a pilgrimage of knowledge and the better understanding amongst peoples of different cultures. These two men are attempting to bring to life a story that is little known but deserves to be celebrated and retold and I can think of no better way to tell it than by hitting the road.”​

“In the Footsteps of Marco Polo”
Emmy Award Nominee 2009
“Modern explorers owe an intrinsic debt. What we achieve today is only possible due to the sacrifice and hardship of those who came before us, the men and women who ventured beyond the relative safety of nation states or fortified cities, the protection of church and state. We owe them a debt as they paid the cost to connect worlds which today we can explore with enthusiasm and wonder. The most effective and honourable way for us to repay this debt is with interest – to remember their courage and remind others of their names, their cause, their story and their glory. Bon voyage friends, may the wind be at your back.”

“What interests us in The Small World Trip that Silvio and Rafal are preparing to embark on in 2021, are the interactions that they and their supporting team will be having with the people in each of the countries that they visit along the way. When the Franciscan monks Giovanni Da Pian del Carpine and Benedict Polak made their journey by foot and on horseback they would have encountered many local people as well as officialdom, as they went on their Papal mission to Mongolia in the 13th Century. The journey in their Land Rover Defenders will undoubtedly be less physically demanding for Silvio and Rafal and the time it takes to reach Mongolia, almost in the blink of an eye by comparison to Giovanni and Benedict, but their interaction with each individual whom they meet along the way is as important as ever. As it says in Galatians in the good word that the monks would have carried on their journey – the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law. A message for travellers throughout the world as we meet up with strangers along the way.”

“Silvios Idee, entlang der alten Pilgerroute der Mönche in die Mongolei zu fahren, finde ich großartig! Und diese Mönche haben sich noch vor Marco Polo auf den langen und beschwerlichen Weg gemacht. Heute kann man sich so eine Reise kaum mehr vorstellen. Wir fahren heute mit dem Auto 300 – 500 km am Tag, die Mönche liefen oder ritten vielleicht 30 – 50 km. Wir sitzen abends in einem Rasthaus oder Hotel und wissen, dort gibt es etwas zu essen und zu trinken. Die Mönche werden sich oft nur von mitgeführten Lebensmitteln ernährt haben. Wir haben ein mobile phone um im Ernstfall Hilfe zu holen, sie hatten keine Möglichkeit, sich helfen zu lassen. Wir haben Reisepässe und es gibt internationale Übereinkommen, Grenzen zu überqueren. Die Mönche führten nur ein Schreiben der Kirche mit sich von dem unklar war, ob es von anderen Völkern anerkannt wird.

Kurz, ich finde die Idee von Silvio klasse, seine Reise mit der Geschichte zu verbinden und diesen Spuren der Mönche zu folgen. Auf meiner Website habe ich schon geschrieben: Wenn du solch eine Reise machen willst, solltest du einen Grund und ein Ziel haben. Bei Silvio ist es, Geschichte an historischen Orten wieder zu erleben. Und dazu wünsche ihm und seinem Team ganz viel Freude, Spass und Erfolg! Am liebsten würde ich mitfahren….”

“I think Silvio’s idea to drive along the old pilgrimage route of the monks to Mongolia is great! And these monks made the long and arduous journey even before Marco Polo. Today you can hardly imagine such a trip. Today we drive 300 – 500 km a day by car, the monks ran or rode maybe 30 – 50 km. In the evening we sit in a rest house or hotel and know that there is something to eat and drink there. The monks will often only have fed on the food they brought with them. We have a mobile phone to get help in an emergency, they had no way of getting help. We have passports and there are international agreements to cross borders. The monks only carried a letter from the church, which was unclear whether it would be recognized by other people.

In short, I think Silvio’s idea of combining his journey with history and following these footsteps of the monks is great. I already wrote on my website: If you want to go on such a trip, you should have a reason and a goal. At Silvio it’s about reliving history in historical places. And I wish him and his team a lot of joy, fun and success! I would love to go with you …”.

Adventurers: Videos by: Books by: Photography: Music by:

We have created the foundation Small World Trip with the following aims:

1) Wide promotion of knowledge about Poland, Europe and the world
2) Supporting and initiating activities for the development of knowledge about Poland and Europe,
their history and in particular in the aspects of Poland’s role in the history of Europe
3) Education in the field of Polish, European and world history
4) Promotion of Poland beyond its borders
5) Popularization of motorized tourism and travel in the historical and promotional aspect of Poland
6) Support of cultural and educational activities
7) Creating conditions of consent beyond national divisions, ethnic, cultural or religious
8) Promotion and organization of volunteering services

The Small World Trip supports:


Here you will find all contact details. We will gladly provide more information upon request.

team3 The Small World Trip