updated 12/02/2012 AT 11:00 AM ET
•originally published 12/03/2012 AT 9:30 AM ET
Competing on Survivor for the third time, Jonathan Penner skated through with few alliances, yet he survived until day 30 by using every trick up his sleeve. He tells PEOPLE how he worked every angle, held no grudges, and had the time of his life.
How was playing Survivor different the third time around?
I think I played better than before, because I had experience of having been out there three times. This time, I went out to play hard and win challenges. I was lucky or smart enough to find the idol and play it at the right time. I won immunity when I needed it. I worked every trick that I had.
You just never had the numbers.
A lot of things happened. Dana went home sick. Our tribe lost some key challenges and we went into the merge with a 7-4 disadvantage.
Yet there was some good luck. You won immunity for the first time in your 80 days playing the game. I hear you cried when you won.
I did cry. I cried because I thought about my daughter watching me win immunity on TV.