Flashback to a 12th century monk painstakingly crafting the world's first illustrated road atlas, and fast-forward to the future when traders and tourists from the East are making their way to Europe and the West in a car journey of comfort and speed.
It sounds like a time-traveller's tale of fantasy. But this is for real.
Richard Meredith and co-driver Phil Colley, two adventure-loving Brits, road-tested a record-setting journey from Tokyo to London when they made the first-ever car crossing of the new Asian Highway
And they did it in an Aston Martin V8 Vantage, personal transport of the company's CEO Dr Ulrich Bez.
Their trailblazing trip on a route that follows many of the Silk Roads of old, takes them from Japan through the wilds of China and the volatile states of Central Asia, before joining Europe's motorway network at Istanbul.
The Asian Highway, little-known as yet in the West, is one of the most important developments in road transportation for centuries. But while its purpose is to increase trade and eradicate poverty, there are serious warnings of modern-day hazards ahead.
Will it make life easier for gangs in the drugs and sex trade, people traffickers and illegal migrants? A conduit for the spread of disease? Another source of congestion and pollution?