"[DWTS] is such a special experience that you don't really think about all the bruises," Bindi Irwin tells PEOPLE

Credit: Ari Michelson

Bindi Irwin is known for being a beacon of positivity, but even she can find at least one thing she’s glad to put behind her now that her time on Dancing with the Stars is over.

“My feet are pretty cut up right now,” the 17-year-old conservationist told PEOPLE just minutes after winning the mirror-ball trophy for season 21 of the ABC reality dance competition.

Bindi says her time on the show was “life-changing,” but she’s looking forward to a life with a little less injuries.

“[DWTS] is such a special experience that you don’t really think about all the bruises and the skin coming off of your feet like a flesh-eating disease,” she continued. “There have been some interesting moments, for sure.”

And she’s also glad to trade in her sequined gowns for the khaki uniform she wears at theAustralia Zoo, where she lives and works with her mom and brother.

“I’m excited to get back into my khakis and be with the animals again,” said Bindi, who plans to return to taking college courses and working at the zoo after Thanksgiving.

As for what she sees for the rest of her future, Bindi told reporters, “I hope to make even more positive change in this world and spread that love and light.”

Dancing with the Stars will return for season 22 (with head judge Len Goodman!) on March 21, 2016.