Luis D. Ortiz shocked everyone when he walked away from real estate during the Season 5 finale of Million Dollar Listing New York. Instead of making deals, he spent some time relaxing around the globe — including stopping by Ryan Serhant's lavish Greek wedding and appearing at a speaking engagement with Fredrik Eklund in Sweden. And, through it all, it was the fans' response that assured him his retirement was the right decision.
"I was very scared, but the fanbase and the platform where I exposed that decision actually encouraged me and it helped me a lot 'cause I knew that I put that out there," he told The Daily Dish. "Seeing the response from the fans and everything really, really encouraged me that it was the right thing too and beautifully enough I'm here two months later about to start something huge. I can't say yet and it had everything to do with the fact that I followed my gut when I actually felt scared."
In fact, Luis embraced watching the episode in which he shares his retirement plans from all the way across the globe. "When the season finale aired, I was in Greece in Ryan's wedding. Obviously the time difference is something and we also don't have [the episodes] airing in Greece at that particular time," he recalled. "So [at the time] I hadn't watched the episode and seeing how they react to things I already knew [happened] but wasn't sure how it was going to play out [in the episode], it was a very good moment where I was engaging with the audience and the audience was telling me what they were watching... it was a very good experience and seeing everyone's [reaction]...was such an interesting feeling and it gave me reassurance that what I did was the right thing to do. It was a beautiful moment."
In addition to this top-secret project, Luis spent his time away from real estate working on a book (with some insights from Fredrik). Fans may see some of his new life philosophy when it's released at a later date. "I actually came up with a quote: 'If it ain't scary, we're doing something wrong.' Or, 'When you're heart feels scared, that's when you know it's time to do it.' That scared part passes very quickly; you adapt to the next thing and then you realize you put yourself in a position where now you're ready to move forward and you thank yourself for taking that [step]."
Luis admits that he definitely allowed himself to accept all the emotions he had following the decision, including fear. "I embraced it," he shared. "I would actually be in the shower and think about everything I just did and laugh out loud and say, 'You're f***ing crazy, man.' I would say it's amazing, not even knowing what I was going to do. It just feels right, so I embraced it — every moment of it."
Since stepping away, Luis has maintained a bond with Ryan and Fredrik. "You don't separate yourself from people. You separate yourself from things that you do," he said. "They will forever form a very big part of my life 'cause we were together on something [and] no one else knew what it was like to be a part of that, so we'll always share something special. I have a lot of respect for them."
Check out a highlight from Luis' time in Greece with Ryan, below.