POSTCARDS:  Sending and receiving postcards used to be a great way of keeping in touch while on holiday.

POSTCARDS:  Sending and receiving postcards used to be a great way of keeping in touch while on holiday.

ARE you considering somewhere different to go on holiday this year? Well, how about Syria? Russian tour operators have begun selling holidays there as the war-torn country looks to revive its once lucrative tourism industry. Syria welcomed nine million visitors a year before the outbreak of civil war in 2011.

This kind of trip is aimed at ‘people who want a different kind of experience.’ (Or, alternatively, want to escape from Brexit, Trump, trolling, #MeToo?). For me, it calls to mind the apocryphal strap line of a five-star Belfast hotel during the ‘Troubles’ – ‘Tea, coffee and bomb-making facilities in every room.’

Or maybe you’d prefer an adventure holiday that’s all the rage now amongst the selfie generation. Because of the importance of social media, millennial thrill seekers are increasingly looking for experiences that can be shared amongst their peers.

Bragging rights aren’t any longer acquired by the mere retelling of crazy stories, but through online photos and videos. Precariously perched on Trolltunga Rock overhanging a Norwegian fjord, for example. Or scaling bridges, skyscrapers and (help!) volcanoes.

Hang on! Do you remember postcards? Where you hoped to relate your experiences using the best of your descriptive powers and tiny writing, inevitably running out of space. I used to love choosing the right postcard. And receiving one was great too. Happy days.

 Actually, I might start doing that again as a reaction to the constant bombardment of WhatsApp pics that I usually receive from friends and relatives.

But why this thrill for adventure? It’s because the selfie generation has grown up in an increasingly risk-averse environment, imposed by an increasingly Nanny state. In the West, the ‘elf’n’safety’ brigade now rules where the unions once did.

By being denied any ‘excitement’ because of the encroachment of ‘elf’n’safety’ policies in our daily lives, people turn to ‘adventure holidays’ and similar since (sorry all you hand wringers!) we are conditioned by nature to require excitement.

It’s our flight /fight response – our default setting. And, no it hasn’t been bred out of us – yet…

Nora Johnson’s psychological crime thrillers ‘Betrayal,’ ‘The Girl in the Woods,’ ‘The Girl in the Red Dress,’ ‘No Way Back,’ ‘Landscape of Lies,’ ‘Retribution,’ ‘Soul Stealer,’ ‘The De Clerambault Code’ (www.nora-johnson.net) available online as ebook (€0.99;£0.99), ibook, paperback and audiobook. All profits to Costa del Sol Cudeca cancer charity.

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Nora Johnson

Novelist Nora Johnson offers insights on everything from current affairs to life in Spain, with humour and a keen eye for detail.