The only thing I'd counsel is that at age 34 you should be on with whatever it is you want to do with your life and with all deliberate speed. In the airline world this is especially true because it is still seniority-based. The very best you can do from this point is end up junior to a lot of younger people. They will never retire and let you move up, so your upgrade and your position is even more dependant on company growth or (favorable) mergers.
It is certainly doable. Provided you have no physical problems that could keep you from getting the required medical and no personal traits that would make you untrainable as a pilot, you could attain just about any professional position you could aspire to, other than military pilot, as that has rigid age limits for beginning.
As to where to ply your trade: Where do you want to live and work. If it is back in the US then you would probably be better off coming back here for your flight instruction because if you get a non-US pilot license the US will recognize it for all purposes other than
flying airplanes. In other words you are going to have to test for the US equivalent license and the instruction to prepare you might cancel out the savings...
If you have the education needed for a high-paying job in another industry that might indeed be a better financial option. Becoming a pilot for the money is probably pretty much a thing of the past. However, it does pay pretty well, still, unless compared to being a senior VP
at a Fortune 500 company, a big-league athlete or something like that. If those things are an option I'd go with that. If your alternative career is paying under a hundred grand right now, today, then being a pilot at a major would likely be an improvement.
There are three ways to look at airline pilot salary. Take an expected year's salary and:
1. Divide it by about 800, which is the approximate number of hours you are likely to fly in a year.
2. Divide it by 2080 - the number of hours a nine-to-five job works.
3. Divide it by about 3000 - the number of hours you will be away from your domicile on duty, even if asleep.
If these results sound okay to you, you might like it.
There are plenty of old pilots who are seriously disgruntled by the erosion of a once-wonderful job. I am one or two such old pilots myself. You will get all kinds of grumbling about what a crappy job it is today. All true. It is also a great job - if you were one of those born to do this. If so, nothing else will ever satisfy you.
But be careful. Standing on the ground at your present job you may feel the "grass is greener
" sentiment that is all but indistinguishable from an actual desire to be a pilot. Keep a marketable skill in your back pocket.
I've known airline pilots who were (formerly) practicing attorneys, doctors, even gynecologists, multimillionaire hiers to family fortunes (some brand names you would recognize) with their own P-51 Mustangs, who didn't need to work at all. All these people found certain satisfaction in flying big honkin' jet airliners. It is a pleasant way to pass a day or two, most of the time.
Now as to how to build time? Not a frakkin' clue.
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.